Burned My Feet On Meat Street (Psychic Audio)
Rod Webber

By Jim Conway

For the unexposed, Massachusetts native Rod Webber delivers a volatile mix of what's been labeled industrial-electronic alterna-pop that delivers it's own particular flavor of Caucasian hip-hop. Burned My Feet On Meat Street takes the listener through the near-psychotic isolation of Webber's recovery a one-year prison stay, imposed for carrying a toy gun while filming a college art film.

Even though much of his post-incarceration neurosis might have been prevented by a competent lawyer, we are still left with a little gem of techno post-adolescent frustration that grows with each listen. Cuts like "Blister" and "Black Sheets" tell of fear, isolation and the lost years of a soul dealing with what may or may not be a society out to get us. Propelled by a Duke Ellington sample, "Black Sheets" provides a chilling look at isolation, to a reverb-drenched military march (a.k.a. a well-programmed drum machine). The song builds with Webber delivering a primal scream of release as the track ends.

"Killing Me" has more of an upbeat pop feel and explores the timeless pop subject of two people repressing a shared attraction. To the intended recipient of the message, Webber pleads "Please see it in my eyes/You're feeding the fire/It's feeding the fire."

Despite a tendency to overuse television samples, Webber brings a welcome economy to his craft. with no track clocking in at over 4:29. Such length provides focus for the more ambiguous subjects while avoiding the dreaded self-indulgent verbal diarrhea that can cause one to reach for the "Eject" button. The advance word on Meat Street proffered a Beck-like creative approach, but to my ears, it sounded something like the Velvet Underground, had VU been in their prime in the mid-Nineties.

It's reported that Webber has assembled a five-piece band and is undertaking a series of live gigs, while the corporate labels decide if this brand of angry industrial music merits a larger platform to perform on. It will be interesting to hear how live musicians will interpret these techno-ditties and to see if Webber's vision expands to the next level. But for now, experience Meat Street in isolation, from whence it came.