Another Sure Thing
You won’t find a throwaway line in any of Bill LaVoie’s 12 originals on this self-released recording. The local singer-songwriter, who recorded the album before moving to Missoula last year, quilts stories that highlight the odd and dysfunctional things humans do to themselves, to one another, and sometimes even to animals. Backed up by accordion, piano, Hammond organ, bass, drums, harmonica, banjo and singing saw, La Voie leads listeners up and down crooked roads inhabited by twisted, flawed and ultimately realistic people.
On the title track, the narrator revels in the ironically bouncy banjo-driven tune: “I was raised on credit cards/I was raised in debt/while daddy hit the dog track to place another bet/with a small chunk of tuition in his money clip.” On another standout, “Oreo,” the instruments create a soundscape similar to Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut”—but instead of singing about limes and coconuts, LaVoie’s lyrics bring to life a pesky little boy whose drunk mother hands him a pig to get him out of her hair. The chorus, sung by LaVoie and Anna Coogan, repeats, “I signed you up for 4-H.”
Another Sure Thing is full of densely vivid lyrics, and the music—an almost rockabilly version of Americana—is full of well-played pop-country jams. This promising effort is more than a passing swig of moonshine, it’s a full meal. (Caroline Keys)
Corn Mash plays the Old Post Pub Friday, May 19, at 9:30 PM. Free.
We the People
Imagine an unholy alliance between Dr. Dre, Santana and Van Halen, and then add exceedingly glossy production, patriotic anthems and just a dash of toothless revolutionary sentiment, and you’ll start to understand why Flipsyde seems much more the spawn of a marketing agency than a legitimate band. With We the People, this Oakland hip-hop/rock quartet has crafted music so egregiously commercial it makes the Black Eyed Peas sound edgy. The point, apparently, is to target as many music-purchasing demographics as possible, but the resulting homogenization creates a flaccid, faux-hardcore sound with potentially vast mid-American appeal.
The opening track, “Someday,” was NBC’s choice for official song of the Winter Olympics. The cheesily inspirational lyrics and wailing guitar (all backed by “edgy” hip-hop beats) set the template for the rest of the album. On “US History,” the quartet raps about the United States kickin’ ass and takin’ names, running a gamut from Hiroshima to Iraq, all set to an irony-free chorus of “God Bless America.” Then, apparently to salvage street cred, a couple of tracks detail the difficulties of modern life.
But don’t be fooled: Flipsyde are sheep in wolves’ clothing. And despite this reviewer’s disdain for their cheap tricks, We the People will no doubt make them very rich sheep indeed. (Adam Fangsrud)
Flipsyde’s scheduled show at The Other Side was cancelled as the Indy went to press.
With a fiercely anarchist agenda and voracious appetite for exotic global music, Filastine has a reputation for intense—and often illegal—live performances. The solo Seattle musician is notorious as the founder of the Infernal Noise Brigade, a black-clad marching band that has performed in demonstrations across the world, facing off against riot cops, rubber bullets and tear gas while creating cacophonies of tribal percussion. Whether or not you agree with Filastine’s politics, it’s impossible to deny his tireless passion.
Released on DJ Rupture’s Soot Records imprint, Burn It has many of the trademarks that make Rupture’s mixes so appealing. Hip-hop and jungle mix seamlessly with Middle Eastern strings, French and Spanish rapping, dancehall toasting, Hindi singing and countless other global sources. What sets Filastine apart, though, is his mastery of the drum. Having studied under Indian tabla masters and Moroccan percussionists (namely, the Master Musicians of Jajouka), Filastine layers his tracks with a hypnotic variety of both sequenced and live percussion. Murky hip-hop beats melt into rapid tabla workouts and then further transform into intricate patterns, all while politically charged guest vocalists sing, rap and ululate.
With Burn It, Filastine has condensed the populist discontents of multiple continents into a musical tincture that’s simultaneously aggressive and lovely. (Adam Fangsrud)
The Hackensaw Boys
Love What You Do
At times as reckless as a runaway lard train and, at other times, as tender as a cotton candy-flavored kiss on a date to the county fair, The Hackensaw Boys’ most recent studio album covers all the gritty bases that any fun-loving string band should.
There’s a song about the antidepressant properties of fiddling, one on the uselessness of “a wagon wheel when all the roads are paved,” a perverted little number called “Kiss You Down There” and the optimistic and forward-thinking Hackensaw anthem “We Are Many. ” And boy, you better believe the title of that last song; these guys somehow feed and house eight band members on the road.
Previous Hackensaw releases have included traditional Appalachian instrumental tracks, but this studio album consists entirely of original material. The cuts were recorded in Virginia, California and the Netherlands with all songs played on acoustic instruments, including the upright bass, banjo, guitar, fiddle, accordion, harmonica, mandolin and Dobro. Each is played with vigor, but the Boys don’t bother paying much attention to precision.
If Cake and the Old Crow Medicine Show conceived a love child, there you’d have The Hackensaw Boys. (Caroline Keys)