Japanther can be a challenging band, with its high-art ambitions and punk-rock disdain. Every album offers danceable synth-fuzz-punk tracks that are so packed with pop-culture references and obscure humor they can cause unprepared listeners to feel victimized by vengeful hipsters with oversized brains.
The secret of loving Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt is to approach the album with an ingenuous attitude. It takes guts, but without hurling yourself into the heart of Japanther's cultural onslaught like a virgin into a volcano, you can't really enjoy it. Hold back, and you'll always be looking over your shoulder and wondering whether you totally get the joke. So my advice is: Feel free to like it.
Feel free to dig on co-producer Penny Rimbaud's spoken-word pomp on "Africa Seems So Far Away" and "Thee Indigene." Feel free to believe his words or find them overblown and silly. Also feel free to skip these two 10-minute dramafests and just rock out on the actual songs, which—as usual—are short, noisy, catchy, sweet, and clever.
Feel free to listen and laugh at hipsters along with the band, and don't worry whether or not they are actually laughing at you. Laugh at yourself. Shake it.
Japanther plays Total Fest Sat., Aug. 22, at 1 AM at the Badlander.