(Smother) When your album is 38 minutes long and has 72 tracks, you’re either a ridiculous grindcore band, insane, or Jesse Krakow. Sure Krakow is a little nutty, with the majority of the tracks on “World without Nachos” being no longer than twenty seconds, but it’s fucking funny and worth a full damn listen. Hell his tracks are diverse and catchy enough to have been expanded upon and be longer, but why repeat a chorus or a verse when you can do it once in 12 seconds and get your damn message across? Goddamn I want to meet this guy… Total lo-fi off-kilter apartment rock tracks that this veteran of one seriously awesome band (Time of Orchids anyone?) should be proud to show off. - J-Sin (Editor's Pick)
(Sea of Tranquility) From the mind of offbeat singer/songwriter/musician Jesse Krakow comes World Without Nachos — a most bizarre collection of 72 (that's right, 72) tracks ranging in length from 4 seconds to a whopping one minute and 38 seconds. Actually, these bursts of creative(?) energy are more like snippets of something much larger that never materializes during the course of nearly 38 alternately uncomfortable and exhilarating minutes that (very) occasionally aspire to Beck and the Beach Boys. Just for kicks, here are a few songs titles — although I refuse to list all of them below: "Don't Be Like An Asshole," "Take Me Back to Tacoville," "People with Emotional Emotions" and "When the Clown Is Gay." He calls it "the most extreme type of pop music ever." Unabashedly out of tune throughout the course of World Without Nachos, Krakow nevertheless has a musical pedigree that includes stints in several bands you've probably never heard of, plus Fast 'N' Bulbous, a seven-piece group playing Captain Beefheart songs affiliated with respected prog label Cuneiform Records. Krakow says this thing was tediously made on Garageband software, using mouse clicks to record every synth sound, drum beat and bass line. And this music does flow together in a twisted, mind-numbing sort of way, which is why some listeners will no doubt consider Krakow's ode to attention-deficit disorder pure genius. But if he had bothered to flesh out even a handful of the sonic ideas here and turned them into the actual "mega-pop" songs he envisioned, World Without Nachos would have been a lot tastier. - Michael Popke
(Ampersand Etcetera) Jesse Krakow World Without Nachos (eh? 33). Krakow had a release on Public Eyesore, and is, from my web search, something of a journeyman across a range of serious groups. I say this because this album, like the last, is a lo-fi outsider piece: there are 72 named tracks across its 38 minutes, which means that there are some very short tracks (4 seconds is the shortest) and no very long ones (1:38 is the winner there). The pieces are dominated by Krakow's voice - a sort of friendly drawl which occasionally does different accents - his seemingly untrained guitar (which at times reveals his skill) and percussion (a drum machine I would guess). Using 4 track recording he does some over dubs (most noticeably vocal) and there is some electronics (Me and my laser friends or extensive strings on I am dum). While the album appears as a collection of doodles, songs such as I am learning to like golfing or So urban belie the hidden writing component, where at times the mulitvocal harmonies recall the Beach Boys. Many of the songs are 'mere' stings - 51 to 53 are single sentences (I am the king of rock but I don't like crowns) with simple backing, but as they expand they demonstrate some complexity as in the title track which asks 'how can you live in a world without nachos' twice over strums, but stretches the final harmony of the dish into a magic tone or I will love you tomorrow which is a complete harmonised song, with building synth chords and the guitar, ending in a looping guitar strum and percussive beat and imploration to the 'girl' - but the songs are really too compressed for any real analysis. The topics canvas personal weaknesses, food, love, coolness and friendship (and its mirrors). At times disturbing, amusing, entertaining and usually musical this is a strange and frustrating release-you get the feeling that there are some great somgs which could emerge from here, but it is as if the Beatles had sung 'I want to hold your haaaann' or Amy Winehouse 'Rehab? no no no no Rehab, nooooo'. But just go with the flow as this sketchbook washes its changes over you, and enjoy it. - Jeremy Keens
(Vital Weekly) A long time ago we encountered the music of Jesse Krakow, with his 'Oceans In The Sun' release (see Vital Weekly 431) and here he returns with 'World Without Nachos', with thirty-eight minutes of music, but with no less than seventy-two songs - that's less than thirty seconds per track. Some are longer and some are shorter. Krakow still sings, plays keyboards and guitar. The recording certainly has improved over the years, and even have multiple vocal layers, and some of these songs could certainly expand beyond the mere second that they last now. Certified weirdness all around here. It's actually very funny but the briefness of the songs make sure that it's hard for any song to stick in your brain. That's a pity. - Frans de Waard
(Disagreement) Yes, you read correctly. It’s not a typo: Jesse Krakow’s new album really sports 72 songs, in under forty minutes, and no, this is not some noisy grindcore inferno. Those familiar with his previous genial solo effort Oceans In The Sun (which had about thirty songs in forty minutes) know more or less what to expect. The musical whizz-kid who is also active in such diverse bands like Time Of Orchids (avant prog), PAK (no wave jazz noise) and We Are The Musk Brigade (anarcho freeform experimentalism) must have been too lazy to write real songs, so we get anything ranging from four seconds to never longer than two minutes on World Without Nachos, something like a brainstorm of indie pop ideas, full of “instantly forgettable” (to quote the artist) ideas that will certainly grab your attention for a few seconds until something new is coming up. This could be irritating, but the concept of the CD is clearly out to overwhelm the listener in an onslaught of could-have-been songs that never really make it into real compositions. Just take the time to listen to the second track, Hello People, and it’s hard or even impossible to understand how such a brilliant hook can be wasted on a one minute song. Stylistically, we get lo-fi indie pop with acoustic guitars, keyboards, simple but nice drum computers and sometimes strangely professionally arranged vocal harmonies that make obvious that Jesse Krakow must have put a lot of effort into the arrangements. This is not just a piece of throw-away plastic. If you need comparisons, take an even more childish They Might Be Giants, or a better produced Ariel Pink. I won’t say now that World Without Nachos is a great album. It doesn’t have the emotional depth of the unsurpassable Oceans In The Sun (which still finds its way into my CD player even nearly four years after its release), but it’s an original conceptual idea to cram as many catchy hooks into a short forty minutes, and that deserves respect, as well as the fact that Jesse Krakow seems to be at ease in every musical genre, even if this album heads clearly into a lo-fi indie pop direction.
(Aiding and Abetting) At first listen, you might get the sense that Krakow is something of a polished Wesley Willis. After a few songs, you realize that this is more like a deconstruction of the whole indie pop thing. Krakow has impeccable pop instincts, and he undercuts them on almost every song. That each song tends to be shorter than a minute simply proves the point. Goofy and annoying, but astoundingly involving as well. - Jon Worley
(Sodapop) Non so se vi ricordate della Eh?, ad ogni modo si tratta di una costola di quella che un volta era la Public Eyesore, etichetta molto interessante; la Eh? solitamente è più virata sulla sperimentazione e sull’elettroacustica, ma non in questo caso. Jesse Krakow è un simpatico cantautore stonato americano che finisce sempre nel calderone del "ci fa o ci è?", chitarra acustica, cori, pezzi ben scritti e ben suonati e sempre 'sta voce che sbava le note senza arrivare a prenderle fino al pitch giusto.
Senza quest’ultima peculiarità si tratterebbe di un disco di folk made in Usa per nulla noioso e molto andante, pur non essendo un grandissimo fan del genere non c’è dubbio sul fatto che il nostro sciamannato stia ai Pavement come i Pavement stanno all'indie rock suonato preciso... certo con l’unica grossa differenza che i Pavement sono fighi, lui mica troppo. Divertente, quel tanto allampanato da risultare simpatico e cazzone a sufficienza da far sorridere, ma non siamo né di fronte a Daniel Johnston né al cospetto di un nuovo Beck. Il titolo e la musica fanno sorgere spontanea la domanda se il nostro amico sia stato pestato più volte nel corridoio della scuola dal capitano della squadra di football, non credo che fosse l’effetto che voleva ottenere, ma personaggi come questo e film come Juno ti fanno simpatizzare con tutti i serial killer statunitensi: parliamoci chiaro, stanno facendo un onorevole lavoro di "street cleanning" e se il risultato è questo o la desolazione della provincia americana alla Gummo, viene da pensare che il depopolazionismo non eticamente/legalmente/umanamente/filantropicamente corretto sia quasi un’opera sociale... kill 'em all. - Andrea Ferraris
(Bad Alchemy) JESSE KRAKOW ist als Bassist von PAK und Time Of Orchids kein Niemand. Aber wer hätte geahnt, dass in ihm ein nicht zu bändigender Singer-Songwriter steckt, der die World Without Nachos (eh?33, CD-R) beglückt mit 72 (!) Liedchen - oder wie soll man seinen gecroonten Output sonst nennen? - und dafür nur 37 Minuten braucht. Neben simpler Schrappelgitarrenbegleitung multitrackt er soulige Backgroundchöre, er lässt eine Drummachine klopfen und Synthis schwallen und orgeln, bläst Saxophon und pumpt sich so zu einer mehrzungigen, vielarmigen Clown- Clone-Band auf mit Brian-Wilson‘esken Arrangierambitionen, die jedoch gern über ihren Unernst stolpern. Für die ungenierte Lebensnähe von Krakows Humor sprechen Titel wie ‚Hands Full Of Beer‘, ‚Don‘t be Like An Asshole‘ oder ‚Fuck Me On Christmas‘ Bände, von ‚Cow Goes Moo‘, ‚I Am Dum‘ und ‚I Am Very Smart‘ ganz zu schweigen. Dazu bekrabbelt er manchmal die Gitarre so à la Chadbourne, dass es kaum Zufall sein kann. Dann wieder jubiliert es aus allen Trichtern, dass es eine wahre Freude ist, obwohl der Stil durchwegs undefiniert bleibt, weil Krakow bei seinen Songs in the Key of Z ständig zwischen Rock‘n‘Roll, Soul, Blues und augenzwinkernd aufgeblusterten Möchtegernschlagern zappt und dabei nicht damit hinterm Berg hält, dass er schwul ist. File under: ‚When The Clown Is Gay‘.