Hell yeah! Go Junior! Go Senior! Go Junior Junior—
Oh, that photograph didn’t come out well at all.
It was only a few months ago that Junior Senior was completely invisible—their album Hey Hey My My Yo Yo went unseen in the US and news about them was nonexistent. But now they are back in the states with their most recent album (released today with a bonus EP) and a hot tour!
The JS boys put on a great show. And Jeppe “Senior” Laursen is really tall! Unfortunately we were forced to leave after just four songs due to the personal problems of an URGH associate. But we were treated to the complete opening act: Gravy Train!
How were they? Not so good! Most often the annoying foursome would start their Casio keyboard beats, jump around on stage, and yell incoherent insults at the audience. The artistic highlight of their performance was rhyming “pussy” with “Bonaduce”. And when you consider that Danny’s last name is better rhymed with “cootchie”, you know this apple needs a lot of polish.
During their song “Frat Party”, Gravy Train invited an enormous, loinclothed audience member to swig from a funnel and spit beer into the crowd. We also got to see his testicles.
Three songs into their set, as they began chanting “Lick the dick! Lick the dick!” I realized something: I’ve heard these assholes before. In 2003 Gravy Train was warmly profiled on Salon.com! The reviewer used all of the magic words to lure me in: “the anti-Nelly’n’Kelly”! “Party disc of 2003”! “CeCe Peniston“!
So I downloaded their sample tracks. Then I set my computer on fire.
If Gravy Train has had five years of success they must be doing something right. I only wish they weren’t doing that something in my general vicinity; their stage act is even sloppier than their recordings. Perhaps it was a bad idea to purge them from my memory; if I burned their name into my forearm with the heat from my contempt-laden gaze, I would have known to show up two hours late to Junior Senior. As CeCe herself would say: “No good, ey ey, yeah yeah, ow.” Beware!
And buy Hey Hey My My Yo Yo—out in the US today! I have my copy.
Oh Michael Jackson.
“The girl is mine”, but “the kid is not my son”?
Ain’t that just like a man?
Let’s hear it for late-career resuscitations!
One of the best examples is Roy Orbison. Bruce Springsteen kept his name alive on “Thunder Road” in the mid-70s, much like Big Punisher did for Mobb Deep. Later on Tom Petty and the guy from ELO sat down with Orbison and created a knockout 80s single!
After that Orbison was working, even if it wasn’t always on his own terms. He became a Wilbury! And David Lynch set his music to a lip-syncing, cross-dressing Dean Stockwell!
Then show-business killed him. But Orbison retained his spotlight.
A few years after Orbison’s demise, we prepared Johnny Cash for his own twilight renaissance. This was achieved mostly by forcing the man to cover every contemporary artist possible.
I personally would have rather heard Cash cover “Hey Hey What Can I Do” or “Back On The Chain Gang”, but these songs were over a decade old! Instead, Cash was used to reassure artists with then-unproven legacies. Depeche Mode, Trent Reznor, and Beck were all established artists, but only Cash could give them immortality. The hands of a master!
Now so many of our authentic, original rock figures are dead. The ones who are almost deceased are hardly waiting in obscurity: Keith Richards has topped headlines at least two separate times this year, albeit both stories were about death.
Who can the stars of this century dig up to make their own careers significant? May I suggest: The B-52s?
Think about it. They aren’t rock originators, but they certainly have the giddy, playful spirit of early rock and roll. Their guitars and Kim and Cindy’s original hairdos were a conscious throwback to the period. Sure, their lyrical content is just plain hallucinatory, but their rock cred is real!
Just think of what you can make them do! Timbaland won’t need Justin or Magoo to hype him when he has Fred Schneider rapping over his beats. And when it comes to female pop, Gwen Stefani and Fergie can never spazz out quite as well as our favorite blonde and redhead.
It seems that pop sensation Sophie-Ellis Bextor is ahead of the curve! She’s already co-written a song with Fred Schneider—“Supersonic”!
“I had a wishlist of people I wanted to work with, people who make really good pop music and the B-52s were on there.”
That’s the late-career recognition I’m talking about!
But if Sophie’s already put Fred to work, we may have missed the boat on The B-52s. Oh well; there’s always R.E.M.! Make Michael Stipe cover that solo Rob Thomas song!
Sorry your Majesty!
What’s with these American Doll Posse alter-egos of Tori, anyway? Putting on different wigs and typing inexplicable nonsense just makes her seem like…plain old Tori Amos. Or Gloria Estefan.
I have come to revile the two-word qualifier “pretty much”. It’s bad!
Why? First off, it’s wishy-washy. Defend your opinions, bloggers! The Killers are either acceptable or awful; they aren’t “pretty much my favorite band.” Really, they aren’t.
More importantly, the words “pretty much” make everyone sound like Napoleon Dynamite. Not only is your statement weak, it’s couched in Dynamite’s hoarse, childish whine. People, the world needs far fewer Napoleon Dynamites.
The web’s worst “pretty much” offender? None other than Pitchfork Media! Their headline “Peter Hook Pretty Much Confirms New Order’s Demise” today had me frothing at the mouth. Show me some muscular prose, music dweebs!
I did a Google search for “pretty much” on Pitchfork. 24,500 results! Pitchfork authors have used the mealymouthed, movie cliched phrase possibly tens of thousands of times! The Brooklyn Vegan and Stereogum losers don’t even come close.
I’m issuing a fatwa! Any music publications which want to be taken seriously must write seriously! No half-assed, unenforced statements! No mumbled, disinterested headlines! No “pretty much”!
Bonus Hypocrisy: I’ve used the forbidden phrase once before here at the URGH! I describing Schiller’s music as “pretty much an album long riff on the same chord progressions as Phil Collins’s ‘In The Air Tonight’.”
In my defense, I cannot hear Napoleon Dynamite quoting my words. However, take out “pretty much” and I can almost hear them coming from between the pearly whites of Patrick Bateman….
“I really wish Patrick Bateman would start a music blog,” says Brooklyn Vegan reader Will. Make it happen B.E. Ellis! We’ll compare business cards later.
“Turntablism” expert JayBee! has combined the sounds of turn-of-the-century Destiny’s Child hit “Say My Name” with the 80s deliciousness of Bronski Beat‘s “Small Town Boy”.
I thought it would be unnecessary at first. Aren’t most mashups created from old and new songs? This is old and…not as old. It doesn’t matter, though, because JayBee knows how to make this work!
“Small Town Boy” is as intense and addictive as always, but “Say My Name” feels less monotonous under JayBee’s control. He plucks the harmony instead of the melody of the chorus, making the DC track far less abrasive. Beyonce tastes better with a spoonful of the 80s!
M: Oh no! Jimmy Ray? What are you doing here? I pushed you out of my time machine and stranded you in the late 90s!
Jimmy Ray: I haven’t gone anywhere, M! My Epic Records web page is still up, unchanged since the year 1999! Just click on the Page Properties if you don’t believe me!
M: Yikes! Look at those media files! WAVs! AIFFs! And the grainy grainy music video for “Are You Jimmy Ray”! Here in William Gibson‘s vision of the future we don’t have pixelated, low quality versions of cheesy music vi—aw, who am I kidding? Here’s the YouTube link.
Jimmy Ray: Wow! Video quality has changed a lot in eight years!
M: I can taste the future!
It’s OK, Marty! Incest like that is “Acceptable In The 80s”!
This is according to one Calvin Harris, an electronic pop twiddler with an unfriendly animated gif on his MySpace page! Improbably, it seems he created disco. “Acceptable In The 80s” is pleasant enough to survive silly falsettos and doofy lyrics like “I’ve got hugs for you if you were born in the 80s.”
About those hugs, Mr. Harris: watch out! Girls born after today’s date in 1989 are still underage! Trust me on this one! Trust my parole officer, too!
M: Excuse me, Mr. Internet, but is this Hilary Duff song “Gypsy Woman” a cover of Crystal Wat—?
Mr. Internet: No. Here’s the track as clumsily uploaded to YouTube.
M: My goodness! This sounds like it was composed in Mario Paint!
Lay off the cat sound, Hilary.
Bonus Mario Paint Composition: Sh-Sh-Shake Your Money Make-UHH???