New York Music Daily

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Tag: dead milkmen

Irresistibly Funny, Jangly Soul-Flavored Sounds from Larry & the Babes

Larry & the Babes have a fun, catchy, snarky self-titled cassette debut album, The Dolphin Tapes, streaming at Bandcamp. What’s cool and different about them is how they mash up all kinds of retro 60s styles – doo-wop, Phil Spector bubblegum pop, soul balladry and hints of Nashville gothic – and turn all of it into an original sound. Some of their songs come across as a less punk take on what Nashville group Clear Plastic Masks do with vintage soul. And their lyrics are really funny.

“You think I’m the perfect person, but I’m made of wax…you’re gonna melt me so I’ve got to stop you in your tracks,” the singer intones on the opening cut, Perfect Person, “You shat on my tv show.” WTF?

The second track, HCDB is a charmingly jangly update on Orbison bolero-pop. The band takes a stomping detour into wah-infused garage rock with Bad Dog and then offers an amiable latin-soul shout-out to one of the world’s most annoying voices, Fran Drescher. Seriously: who wouldn’t want to “shoot the shit and eat tofu” with the actress? Um, ok. The last and most unselfconsciously pretty track is Mostess. This band sounds like they’re a lot of fun live: fans of entertaining, irreverent bands from the Brooklyn What to the Dead Milkmen ought to check them out. They’re at Palisades in Bushwick tomorrow, Thursday, Feb 19 at around 10.

A Handful of NYC Shows by Sardonic Punk/Garage/Pop Band Archie Powell & the Exports

Chicago band Archie Powell & the Exports’ shtick is that they can sound British when they want- “exports,” get it? Otherwise, they do the snotty/funny Dead Milkmen Cali-punk thing, the surreal stoner Hussy thing, sometimes a catchy, anthemic Cheap Trick powerpop thing or maybe an unhinged Libertines thing. Sometimes they end up doing all that in the same song. Powell shreds his vocal cords the way Brandon Seabrook shreds a guitar – mercilessly. It’s a miracle the guy can get through an album, let alone a set. They’re doing the usual clusterfuck of CMJ shows: at Rock Shop at 10 PM on Oct 18 for $10, then they’re at Matchless on Oct 22 at 10 for two bucks less and on Oct 23 for free at Northern Soul Bar, 557 First St. in Hoboken (past Newark Street, about five minutes from the Path train station), time TBA.

They’ve also got a new album, Back in Black – no, not a bunch of AC/DC covers – streaming online. The first track is Everything’s Fucked, a screaming punk-garage-quirkpop number. Tattoo on My Brain builds from snotty vox and repeaterbox guitar to a pretty straight-up powerpop chorus. Lean is the first track that brings to mind the Hussy, followed by Scary Dreams, which takes an early Joe Jackson faux-reggae idea and makes fuzzy punk out of it.

With its fuzz bass way up in the mix and Powell’s distorted bullhorn vocals, Holes sounds like a demo by a punk-era pop band like the Shirts. The High Road is a steady, catchy four-on-the-floor pseudo-Oasis stomp; the band reprises that with more of a coy come-on feel (“My rehab’s overdue,” Powell confides) on I’m Gonna Lose It.

“That gurney’s gonna be a friend to me,” Powell theatens, “You make me wanna drink a fifth,” he continues in Jump off a Bridge. The poor guy’s holed up in the nuthouse and dreaming of oral sex – you can’t blame him. Mambo No. 9 isn’t a mambo it all – it’s practically oi-punk. The album’s last track, Everything’s Cool reaches for 70s novelty-pop drollery. There are also a couple of hilariously miscast ballads here, best left unspun: Powell’s full-throated attack on the mic is endearing but he gets completely lost when the volume comes down. He doesn’t seem the type to do that onstage – sing ballads, that is.

The Hussy Has a Weed Seizure and They Love It

If you’re looking for something fun to do tonight, you couldn’t do much better than to go see psychedelic punk rockers the Hussy, who are playing the Parkside at around 10. The Wisconsin duo (Bobby Hussy on guitars and keys, Heather Hussy on drums) started out loud and kind of sloppy but irrepressibly fun; a couple of years and several ep’s down the road and the first thing that jumps out at you is how excellent Bobby Hussy’s guitar playing has become! Maybe it’s all the pot – the title of their new album Weed Seizure pretty much says it all. As usual a lot of these songs clock in at under a couple of minutes.

Heather sings Liar, which sounds like the UK Subs doing garage rock. Bobby, who handles most of the lead vocals, sings FUDje, which brings back memories of the Dead Milkmen but with with way ballsier guitars. SFB (i.e. Shit for Brains) could be early Violent Femmes if they’d been an electric band; Bang Bang is catchy and stomping, like Oasis doing garage punk, with a nice, offcenter bluesy guitar solo. I Don’t Really Want To is a throwback to the band’s lo-fi punk roots – the intro sounds like it was recorded on a 4-track with the needles pinned in the red. Bad Speed – a free download – and The Moon Rules #1 both reach toward a hypnotic, riff-driven Black Angels vibe, while Stab Me is a fun singalong mix of la-la pop and punk: “No, you can’t stab me in my back.” Dog Said Yeah takes the usual garage rock chord changes a little further outside -and this a Son of Sam reference?

The best songs are the longest ones, all of which push the band’s focus past straight-up punk into psychedelia. The opening track, a massive blend of dreampop, punk and metal, is a prime example. The squalling I-need-weed anthem Feeling Dry, with its noisy, resonantly echoing reverb guitar, is sort of Brian Jonestown Massacre as done by Oasis. The best song on the album is the creepy Harsh My High, which could be the Dead Kennedys with somebody other than Jello on the mic; Mind Alright (as in “make my mind all right”) has the same kind of chromatically-charged menace. If you’re openminded enough to realize that punk rock and stoner music aren’t mutually exclusive, you’ll love this band.

Mickey PG – Rated R for LMFAO

Today’s free download is by Boston acoustic punk rocker Mickey PG, whose new album, Mickey PG Comes of Age is available at his bandcamp. He cites the Brooklyn What’s frontman Jamie Frey as his #1 inspiration, which makes sense considering that both artists’ sense of humor is similiar – it might seem self-deprecating, but it’s actually a lot more complicated, and cerebral. This guy is sort of a cross between Ween and Jonathan Coulton – sometimes on the nerdy side, but LMFAO funny. The band is just him and his drummer Nate Baum: the songs are simple, catchy acoustic punk, like the Violent Femmes or the Dead Milkmen. It wouldn’t be fair to give away the jokes because they’re so good, and he fires them off one after the other. Some of them are good-natured, like the first track, about a short guy trying to steal a taller guy’s girlfriend. “Tell your Goliath not to step on me…I’ve got a friend that he should call, her name is Gina and she plays basketball,” he reasons.

Dumpster Dive is for everybody with big education (and big student loans) who can’t get a job: the kids in this one went to Harvard, but they’re working at Burger King. Surprisingly, the funniest song here is Give Me Back My Calculator, which takes a theme that’s been done to death – dorky guy trying to get a hot girl – and injects it with fresh blood. The story works because it gets absolutely brutal toward the end. Mickey PG is is especially good with innuendo, which is why his songs about masturbation and losing one’s virginity are so funny – he never mentions either one directly. There’s also a song about Harry Potter and a love song for a character from a tv sitcom. If you get a chance to see this guy live, you should – like all good comedians, he thrives on opportunities to be spontaneous. You can interpret that any way you like. That’s the kind of phrase he’d have a great time with.