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Knock Knock

25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 12, 1999
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$14.40 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock. Sold by Fulfillment Express US and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Knock Knock + River Ain't Too Much to Love + Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A ten song bummer in super hi-fidelity sound. Bill's "Kingdom Come" album. Perfect mood music for your next romantic late night date with a twelve pack, or a gun.

Amazon.com

One of the more hauntingly visionary indie-rock artists, Bill Callahan, a.k.a. Smog, writes sparse, poignant songs that shimmer with solipsistic grandeur. His sixth full-length disc, Knock Knock, shivers with restlessness, recounting forlorn tales of imprisoned convicts ("River Guard"), disenfranchised country boys ("Hit the Ground Running"), and unrequited love ("Left Only with Love"). Smog is too well-produced to qualify as lo-fi anymore, but the rich strings, chiming piano, and baleful strums of Knock Knock never detract from the workingman's loneliness of the disc. Like Neil Young's Tonight's the Night, only without the nasal vocals, the album is serene and sedate but nonetheless unsettling, as if the collective scene Callahan creates is merely the calm before the storm. Fortunately, when the melodies seem to drift too close to comatose, the shuffling beat and drifting feedback of "Held," the distorted chug of "No Dancing," and the jangly strum of "Cold Blooded Old Times" keep the needle from flatlining. --Jon Wiederhorn

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Let's Move To The Country 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Held 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. River Guard 6:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. No Dancing 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Teenage Spaceship 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Cold Blooded Old Times 4:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Sweet Treat 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Hit The Ground Running 6:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. I Could Drive Forever 5:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Left Only With Love 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B00000G1IU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. Seifer on April 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Picking my favorite Smog album is much like asking someone to select their favorite child. For more than a decade, Bill Callahan has put out some of the most compelling (and often under-appreciated) music, period. Knock Knock takes everything great about his past output and melds it seemlessly into easily my favorite record of the nineties: A sly sense of humor; experimentation that doesn't come off as needlessly self-indulgent; beautiful, haunting melodies and a sense of space between the words and notes that is just as important as the music itself. Callahan's lyric's are full of poetically clever, but very, very real analogies and specific life-altering moments from his character's (his?) past that can make even the most jaded listener re-think a universal subject such as love or childhood memories. The song, "Let's Move To The Country," is a classic album opener, setting a hopeful tone you just know will gradually be marred by life's dissappointing reality by album's end (This is also my 2-year old niece's favorite song, with its childlike innocence: "A goat and a monkey, a mule and a flea"). All along though, Mr. Callahan tells it with a knowing wit, driving spikes into our hearts with personal details in his narrative and subtley-unique touches in the music rarely found in popular music. For my money, there is no more perfect record.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Father Harry on April 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Some people write good books, others write good songs. Billy Callahan (a.k.a. Smog) writes good _albums_. More so than almost any other album I own, Smog's works are best digested whole, in one continuous sitting. While individual songs stand out on their own (most notably "Cold Blooded Old Times", which made it into the "High Fidelity" Soundtrack, and "Hit the ground running"), Smog has (once again) written the album as a masterpiece of lyric narrative detailing (as usual) the agonies of modern love.
Don't be quick to dismiss this Album as indie-pop depressing melancholy pap, however -- Callahan, in his growing maturity as a songwriter, is learning to articulate a somber complexity.
Turn down the lights, grab your bottle of bourbon, sit back and enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Edwards on November 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The most cheerful release yet by the usually mordant Bill Callahan, 'Knock Knock' is a revelation both for newcomers and for the fans. Far better than the patchy 'Dongs of Sevotion', 'Knock Knock' seems to have managed the trick of being professionally produce and yet, at the same time, prepared with the classically 'Smog' laissez faire attitude to musical technique and technology. Almost any other indy artist today would have choked on their own musical conscience at the notion of childrens' choirs, but Bill couldn't seem to care less, and the album would be far poorer without the extra character they provide (especially on the wonderful 'Hit the Ground Running'). 'Cold Blooded Old Times', the stand-out track, sums up the album's mood nicely: the lyrics brood over lost love, violence and innocence, but Bill's voice is nostalgic, hopeful that better is to come. And, hopefully, he's right, because this is a gem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By will owens on December 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I'm referring to the beautiful third track, River Guard. In it, he makes every sparse poetic line jump out in importance. He begins by "taking the prisoners swimming," which immediately puts him in the role of providing comfort to all of us having been found 'guilty.' That is the condition as K., Camus and countless other writers have suggested. We're born, hence we're condemned. Callahan's guard later sits "in the tall grass" and looks "the other way." He shows a wonderful simplicity here and is conscious of being in an embarrassing situation, not wanting to be constantly watched. It's a song of reprieve. But it's not all about the lyrics. The melody, texture, attitude and overall recording is beautiful. With the philosophy, it's aproaching a contemporary masterpiece. The chorus seems to ask the question, would we even know the definition of freedom if we weren't born into this very difficult existential situation? Like those writers before him, he suggests that without the suffering, freedom would have no meaning. He continues the theme within the guitar crunchiness of No Dancing: "there's always some bird dog snufflin'... always some turtle snappin'." Later in the album he sings, "I don't know where I'm going/All I know is I'll hit the ground runnin'." It's the secularist singer/songwriter at his very best. Listen to this album along with his other moments of brilliance found on the albums Rain on Lens, Dongs..., Supper, The Doctor..., A River..., and Red Apple... Not only does he continue these same themes, he does it in a very catchy, musical, emotional and often rocking way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. greene on April 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Yep. That's right folks. Bill Callahan to be exact. The man who calls himself Smog on all his records. A hero to the lo-fi world. An obsessive four tracker in his early days. A soothing easy listening singer/songwriter as of late. Most people don't know that he's been making albums for the past 15 years. A very prolific artist indeed. This album, in particular, is his pinnacle. The best overall work by him. He's come full circle from the early days of the Julius Ceasar LP. I'm not sure what the highlights are to me. Each song flows so well, it almost works as a rock opera epic to me. If I had to pick one I'd say its "Teenage Spaceship." Although being downtrodden it has this tender feeling that not many other Smog recordings have had in the past...or future for that matter...since I'm writing this now and not when it came out. This album is one of his more eclectic works in his extensive collection. He has a band backing him on some songs this trip around. We hear a childrens choir, bill dabbling with alt-country, sax's, and strapping on that plugged in electric. He often gets described as a depressing artist, but this is his most hopefull release or certainly in the running for first place. I don't think Bill will ever dissapoint me. Which is fightening not only from a musical standpoint, but for my wallet as well. If you haven't bought a Smog record yet, make this your first.
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