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Tag: Dead Kennedys

Chicros – Radio Transmission

by on Nov.08, 2009, under Good Music

chicrosradiotransmission3I was very excited to receive a disc from French band, Chicros, as the French are quite often ahead of the curve when it comes to smooth music production. Plus they apparently had a track on a Record Makers (Air, Sebastien Tellier) compilation, which is instant credibility in my book. I camped out beside my mailbox for a week and then it finally arrived, a disc called Radio Transmission.

Despite being French,  every aspect of their album is in English. Through Wikipedia, their press release, their myspace page and Chicrodelic.com, I was able to draw a few conclusions about them. Apparently, they have been compared to every band that has ever existed. (Seriously. Music reviewers can’t ever make up their mind on this.) I also learned that the only way you can actually get your hands on this album (aside from their personal website) is by agreeing to review it or by traveling to France, Switzerland, Belgium or Japan. Lastly, they seem to be pretty no-frills, laid back and humorous guys, one who resembles a French counterpart of David Davis. (Their website bares the warning: “IF YOU DOWNLOAD ILLEGALLY THESE RECORDS, WE WON’T PROSECUTE YOU, BUT WHEN YOU DIE YOU WILL GO TO HELL.” Heh.)

Okay. So… The music. Listening to Radio Transmission one learns quite quickly why anyone who reviews this band tends to pull out so many disjunctive comparative names. It’s especially fitting here, considering that this is a concept album and the diversity of styles and genres is central to the gimmick. The concept, as should be obviously derived from the title, is that of radio, itself. Throughout its duration, there is not much of a song-to-song play through. Instead, we hear static bursts and fading in-betweens as an invisible hand switches the dial from station to station. Sometimes the fictional radio stays put for a bit, as in the case of “Radio Depressed,” which features the lonely ramblings of a Steven Wright sound-alike. He introduces the next song, a cover of the Dead Kennedys’ “Straight A’s,” which ultimately begins skipping, causing our down-and-out jock to stop the fictional disc and apologize.

These moments of silliness are listenable, but generally much weaker than the more seriously crafted and executed gems. Of particular note among those gems is the steady paced breakup song, “Without You,” featuring vocals by Brisa Roché. A piano base complimented by punchy Beatlesesque guitar work and dueling male-female vocals makes this an unconventionally accessible sing-along song. A few tracks later, we are graced with “New Orleans,” a macabre observation of said city immediately after (and maybe during) Hurricane Katrina. The lyrics point to evidence that Chicros apparently believes New Orleans is in Mississippi. This is easily overlookable, however, when surrounded by talk of death, destruction, zombies and lyrics as pointed and cutting as, “The white evacuees are far from New Orleans.” By the time they sing that famous George W. Bush line, “Doin’ a heck of a job,” the listener really does come to revisit something of a disturbed fear deep inside.

Chicros also conjures up other musical ghosts, most more welcome than Katrina. They channel The Specials on “Radio Drugs,” Belle & Sebastian on “What’s New On TV Today?” and Pink Floyd (or is it Explosions in the Sky?) on “If You Leave Me, Leave Me Running.” They also visit 1950’s era prom rock with “Why,” gospel on “Winos for Jesus” and even rap music on “Big Daddy Pimp Jr.” where they get away with saying the “N word” far more times than any group of white guys could get away with in America.

Despite the naive, unauthentic racism, Radio Transmissions is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It’s playful and dark, at once. Having acquired distribution in four countries, and filling their disc up with English language songs while soliciting American review sites, I imagine their current goal is to take on The States. I wish them the best in this regards.

MP3:“What’s New Today on TV?” by Chicros

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Chore Boys – The Pilot Light, Knoxville, TN – 9.5.2009

by on Sep.07, 2009, under Good Music, Video

So the other night I decided to hit up a benefit show at The Pilot Light in Knoxville’s Old City. It was to support the Knox Girls Rock Camp, which I think teaches young ladies to play instruments and be happy or something. There were about ten or so bands playing, including Milo, Flak Jaket and others. It was all mostly attention holding, if not pretty damn good at times. Then, around 11:30 maybe, it became transcendental.

It was at this time that the local five piece, Chore Boys, took the stage.  I had heard about them for a little while now, but never got the blessed opportunity to witness it in person until the night in question. My expectations were superseded.

Chore Boys maintain a chaotic flamboyance, similar to of Montreal, alongside a brash, old school punk rock ethic somewhere in the area of Dead Kennedys. It’s was difficult to pin down who the hell is doing what as they all moved aimlessly about each other like larger than life cartoons. Primary vocalist, Jared Stoneberg, alternating between a bullhorn and the microphone, flailed around between the audience and the stage, appearing incoherently determined amidst strobe lights and flying beer cans.

Everything about Chore Boys is raucous, down and dirty. Oddly, however, only the most prudent prude would be put off by them. It’s something akin to watching bloody, newborn rats blindly scramble over each other in a nest…with music.

Though it does them no justice, whatsoever, check out a video from one of their past performances below.

Chore Boys at the Long Branch

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