Track premiere: Anthony Worden and the Illiterati, ‘Sad Stories’

Anthony Worden & the Illiterati w/ ADE, Jim Swim

Friday, Aug. 27 at 9 p.m. — Gabe's, $10, proof of vaccination required

Anthony Worden holds down the homestead. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

I remember being at a Feed Me Weird Things show in Chris Wiersema’s back yard. Anthony Worden showed up, fashionably late, wearing a black-and-white polka dot shirt and huge round sunglasses. He looked like he was auditioning to be in the background of a D.A. Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back.

I saw him sometime later performing at “Music For Meditation,” an hour long synthesizer drone event. He never fails to surprise — and he doesn’t disappoint with his new song, “Sad Stories.”

The song is a next step in his sound-mining of ’60s rock. It recalls vocal bands like the Beach Boys and the Association. What he takes from them, aside from close vocal harmonies, is their ear for sophisticated melodies and elaborate arrangements. Worden nails that sound, down to the Herb Alpert-esque trumpet solo. And then he forges something new from it.

One can tease apart the influences — a bit of Brian Wilson on the verse, with some Boz Scaggs on the chorus — but taken as a whole, “Sad Stories” is a smooth mid-tempo ballad, buoyed up by a impeccably arranged horn section. It’s just a small taste of the upcoming album from Worden & the Illiterati, How Could We Lose When We’re So Sincere?, due out this fall, which has something for everyone: smooth ballads, punk rock, psychedelia and a couple of surprising tunes that manage to be all those things at once.

Anthony Worden is in a word, ambitious. He wants to use every color on the palette in his songs — and even in the moments when it’s as much musicology as music, his delight in the source material carries no small joy.

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