Shake the Dust
Sympathy for the Record Industry
From the opening moments of Shake the Dust, the raw fuzz of the basslines and the analog thump of the drums scream for comparisons to the stripped-down White Stripes. Then lead singer “Coco” breaks in with a ’60s-era beach-punk sass that sounds like she’s wearing fishnet stockings and boasting a beehive hairdo. It’s a gritty garage-pop mix that’s instantly transfixing.
Lo and behold, The Ettes have the bloodlines to support the comparisons. Shake the Dust was recorded by Liam Watson in the same London studio (Toe Rag) that Jack and Meg White have made famous. And the Los Angeles-based band does, in fact, dress to its flashback touchstones, with Coco looking like a beautiful strung-out extra from “Gidget.”
Among the standouts are “Alley Cat” and “Dead and Gone,” both equipped with hooks fat enough to snare the most discerning listener into spirited head-bobbing. The entire album is listenable in that go-go way, moving swiftly and sexily through its spunky yeah-yeah-yeah vibe; the 14 radio-friendly tracks clock in at just more than 34 minutes, moving just quickly enough to avoid repetition, and even to induce a bit of remorse when this catchy debut is done. (Skylar Browning)
The Ettes play The Loft Saturday, Sept. 30, at 9 PM. The Purrs and The Village Green open. $6.
The Victory Smokes
The Victory Smokes
Yak Herder Records
The Victory Smokes have an animated sound full of contradictions, simultaneously intoning an increasingly suspicious demeanor and yet coming across like a rock band throwing an everyone-welcome disco party. It’s a confusing realm, but one that’s extremely tantalizing and ultimately worthwhile.
The local band’s eponymous EP captures a certain agitated hustle and drunken strut that emanates from its frequent live shows. With four solid and distinctive tracks, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the charm of “Sexy Party,” wherein singer Michael Gill barks some kind of gritty dance anthem through a megaphone, and “City Has Teeth,” which features suave rock riffs encrusted with slurred paranoia, are the hardest to ignore.
Something close to nostalgia haunts this record, too, especially in the band’s unsettled gem, “Racecar.” Sometimes the shimmery debris of the Dambuilders or the urban malaise of Pop Defect rises from the EP’s pores, while in other moments there’s an unmistable whiff of Journey-esque melodrama. Despite certain evocations and familiar phrasings, none of the songs feel derivative in the least, making The Victory Smokes an accurate sampling from a band that pulls off “cool” without the pretension and passion without the sap. (Erika Fredrickson)
The Victory Smokes play with Get Set Go, New Maximum Donkey, Oblio Joes and the hermans in The Raven Cafe’s final show, Friday, Sept. 29, at 9 PM. $5.
Sol.illaquists of Sound
As If We Existed
The four individuals who make up Orlando-based Sol.illaquists of Sound (S.O.S) are talented enough to make it on their own, but together they make for a rare mix that seems better described as a symphony of sound. On S.O.S.’ latest release, As If We Existed, the band’s foundation comprises the diverse mixes and production techniques created by DiViNCi, the group’s seemingly ADD-afflicted beat conductor. Riding his beats are MCs Alexandrah and Swamburger, both of whom keep the mind rustling with complex rhyming schemes while backup singer Tonya Combs adds fluttering harmonics.
Both Swamburger and Alexandrah rap about a multitude of topics, including the insidious effects of advertising (“Mark It Place”), the virtues of living a smoke-free and vegan lifestyle (“Our 2 Cents”) and their disdain for current trends in popular rap (“Black Guy Peace”). Though both rap at a breakneck speed that leaves the lyrics often indecipherable, the flow is always ear pleasing. It’s worth it to read the lyrics in the liner notes for a fuller appreciation of what they’re delivering.
As If We Existed is an album layered with a multitude of sounds. Like S.O.S. itself, the sum of all those parts makes a pretty compelling whole of an album. (Ira Sather-Olson)
The Sol.illaquists of Sound play The Loft Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 10 PM. Glue, X:144 & SPS and Prolyphic open. $7.
Deep Rush Records
You might want to open a window before releasing the oozing-hot soul music of Bobby Rush into your home. For decades the man has made a name for himself by steaming up nightclubs across the country and, in this live setting, he usually varies his stage persona by donning costumes and channeling specific romantic characters with each song he sings. In the studio‚ Rush’s chameleon-like ability to change gears is no different, and on Night Fishin he rivals Eddie Murphy’s solo ensemble performance from The Nutty Professor, in scope if not tone.
From the cocky title track, where Rush uses sexual innuendo to brag about his “catfish” catching, prowess to the humble and appreciative “We Had Love”—a Curtis Mayfield-style ode to his parents—Rush throws himself wholly into whatever character the song calls for.
The most entertaining character is Rush’s PG-13 narrator of “G-String,” in which a persuasive potential lover tries to convince his lady friend that the only items she needs to pack for their romantic getaway are her “G-String and a toothbrush.” Rush’s romping makes for a fun listen, just as long as his listeners are prepared for the multi-character ride. (Caroline Keys)
Bobby Rush plays the Top Hat Tuesday, October 3, at 10 PM. $10.