Locals: Joseph Anthony Camerlengo

  • Photos by Will Shilling
By Columbus Alive
From the March 29, 2012 edition

Joe Camerlengo can be one of this city’s most paralyzing perfectionists, as anyone who has held his breath waiting for a new This Is My Suitcase album can tell you from beyond the grave. But Camerlengo is also the proud owner of a rampant muse, and he’s been unleashing it all messy-like in the form of solo albums under his full name.

His third release in just two years, “Les Tres,” is a wonderfully off-balance “acid punk” treatise that plays like Pavement’s “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” on some primal-scream-era John Lennon steez. Or is that Paul McCartney doing “Pinkerton”?

Camerlengo’s untamed exuberance remains polarizing, but his writing grows ever sharper, whether dueting with Suitcase bandmate Mary Lynn Gloeckle on the propulsive “Valentimes” or unfurling simple, satisfying lyrics with a quiver of doubt: “When you open your hand and let go, there’s another hand to hold.”

All will be revealed Thursday at Kafe Kerouac with support from Counterfeit Madison and Sleep Fleet.