Jeffrey Lewis is a singer/songwriter
signed to Rough Trade
records. His story is best told by himself, in a self-drawn comic strip
The song mentioned there, The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song, is probably one of his best known (at least here in the UK, as it was one of two played over the last week on John Peel's radio show, and I can't imagine him getting much airplay anywhere else), along with the song that his new album takes the title from, The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane.
His musical style is a lo-fi (recording quality is dubious at best, but that may just be the dodgy MP3s Audiogalaxy is sometimes host to), acoustic kind of affair, with few other instruments on some songs (Springtime being a noticable exception, featuring drums, backing vocals, bass and a lead slide guitar). The singing style is almost spoken word, but it's tuneful enough to convey the message in an entertaining way.
The lyrical content has been summed up as Nick Drake with a sense of humour, but that goes some way to describe the music, too, so I'll explain further. Most of the songs tell a story, maybe true, maybe not, but always entertaining. There are a few jokes and other humourous parts, but they're all delivered in a purely deadpan style. To use The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song, as an example, it tells a story of how Jeff was walking home one night, and overheard some people behind him talking about the Leonard Cohen song, Chelsea Hotel No. 2. It's basically about his conversation (which only lasted a minute or two) with this total stranger, and features a great little philosophy at the end, which I won't spoil for you, in case you want to get the song, which you should, because it's great.
Other songs cover subject matter usually handled in an introspective and boring way, like The History Of Jeff's Sexual Conquests, Volume One.
"This covers from kindergarten to senior year at high school, therefore it's not a very long song. That's my little joke."
Delivered completely deadpan, it makes me crack up every time I hear it. As well as the beautifully sung line "Oooh, oooh, drugs saved my life" (a legal note - I hope the record company/Jeff don't mind me reprinting lyrics without their express permission. I'm trying to spread the good word, after all).
Information I can glean from the Rough Trade website shows that he's only released one single (Chelsea Hotel) and the album mentioned above is forthcoming, but they're both available on the cheap (7 UKP) from their website :