Review: Fat Creeps – “Must Be Nice” [2014]

Band: Fat Creeps
Label: Sophomore Lounge [LP] / Gnar Tapes [CS]

Sometimes people have a habit of associating music with a particular season or climate, but you see listening to the Fat Creeps is an everyday kind of musical experience. This is hardly anything new! From their early days when they readily donned costumes and frequently changed guitars and instruments up through the more subdued times of late, Fat Creeps’ sound has remained about the same: indefinable, but always rocking – sometimes straight up pop, sometimes far more strange!

The first recordings of the Fat Creeps – their self-titled EP released in 2012 and later issued physically by us KLYAM Records and their two song Feeding Tube split 12” with ZEBU! – are peppered with all waves of punk and surf-pop with guitarist/vocalists Gracie Jackson and Mariam Saleh often singing in harmony or trading lines. Those two songs, “Dad Weed” and “Daydreaming” appear 1-2 on Must Be Nice, the band’s first full-length album released on Sophomore Lounge and GNAR Tapes. Their inclusion here is an excellent way to acknowledge their past and usher in some newer sounds. Third track “He Comes In Loudly” supremely shows off the styling and distinctions of Gracie and Mariam. In fact, this one sounds like a best of everything that the pair has done in their four years together. Gracie’s astounding and mumbly vocals on the verses meet up with Mariam’s haunting backing vocals before they so elegantly collide; Gracie ruptures into a brief solo before finishing the song as it started. After this most intriguing song and with good reason, Fat Creeps diversify their arsenal from here on out.





“In Name Only” is Must Be Nice’s “700 Parts,” a Gracie song for sure! Super chill, super hard to figure out what she’s saying, dreamy, surfy. “Blue” is similarly vibed, although it is markedly faster and here Mariam sings her articulate leads. Same is the case for the first two songs on SIDE B. “I’ve Got” is insanely hooky, the bass fuller than ever it seems and the guitars screeching in the old garage. The girls are up to trouble by the time those sludgy distorted four chords enter into the picture and someone’s won or warn.

Get ready to break out your best late ‘70s dance moves for “Party” and don’t be surprised if you catch your hip or not so hip mom, dad, grandmother, and sis causing their own raucus in the rumpus room. Take DEVO and the B-52’s for a point of reference. Fat Creeps certainly have the sweet ability of uniting the punks, the hippiesters, and the family accountant who will instantly reminisce of his days spinning The Gun Club’s Fire of Love at the college radio station. Must Be Nice has you toe-tappin’, head bobbin’ through and through, perhaps most unevenly on “Bak 2 School” – anxiety is high, but so isn’t the whatever factor. Just give me noisy guitars and a throbbing bass. No words necessary. In pure helmets and wedding dress Fat Creeps fashion, the band goes full circle, ending the album with their first song, their first video, the one that drew the acclaim of the Boston Phoenix and the rest of us. NANCY DREW. We got Gracie in our left ear, Mariam in our right, in this more minimalistic, poppy number with one chorus you ain’t forgetting anytime soon!

Noisy, surfy, garagey, who cares-y, Fat Creeps keep things light always. The spooky and haunting aura that has surrounded them since the beginning is only slightly demystified on Must Be Nice and hey, that sure is nice. I wouldn’t go up to them and start quoting their songs, but if I was you and you were me, I would attend every possible show of theirs that you can.  And lastly, credit to Jim Leonard, who drummed on this record and all of Fat Creeps earlier offerings. His versatile and tight drumming is instantly recognizable, holding down the fort economically and just-in-time like an expert operations manager.

 

klyamrecommended

Review: King Khan & The Shrines – “Idle No More” [2013]

Band: King Khan & The Shrines
Label: Merge Records
Date: September 2013

Tracklist:
1. Born to Die
2. Bite My Tongue
3. Thorn in Her Pride
4. Luckiest Man
5. Better Luck Next Time
6. Darkness
7. Pray for Lil
8. Bad Boy
9. So Wild
10. Yes I Can’t
11. I Got Made
12. Of Madness I Dream

Comments: I just saw a thing, announcing this as a comeback album for the sensational, one of my favorite bands for some time now, King Khan and the Shrines. That’s kind of true, I thought. Their last release – The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines – was my personal introduction to the band. It came out in 2008. But in the time between (5 years), I’ve had the great chance of seeing the Shrines three times, in ’09, ’10, and ’12. So they’ve always been around, putting on some of the finest shows a band can. The presence of King Khan as soon as he hits the stage is always met with crazy levels of reception. It is usually after the 8 member Shrines warm us up with their horny glory when Khan joins in on the madness. While Idle No More might be considered as taking it down a few notches, it is a still a bastion of psychedelic soul, R&B, and fuzzy rock ‘n roll that I haven’t found to be matched in the modern era. The older Shrines releases have some more grease to them, maybe a touch more slime, and easy flowing blunt force, but this is something of an instrumental masterpiece.

Maybe as I’ve gotten myself familiar with King Khan’s music over the years, I’ve begun to appreciate the finer aspects songwriting and recorded performance present in such an outwardly fun style of music. But yeah, what I’m trying to say, is that Idle No More has more layers and dynamics to it than the average r’n’r album, that it’s hard not to appreciate just the fact that something like this was pulled off with great success. There’s definitely some unexpected moments – like on songs like “Pray For Lil” and “Bad Boy” that feature vocals from Jena Roker who sang on “Unicorn Rainbow Odyssey” on Mark Sultan’s Sultanic Verses. That last bit of info I had to look up, but I remember a female singer from that song that was really a cool way to end an album. But yeah these songs are ultra-soul, but keenly poppy while maintaining the innate rawness of the Shrines. This is stuff that’ll most likely win over your friends that are afraid of getting into real good music. The first four songs on the album – “Thorn in Her Pride” and “Luckiest Man” are tops for me at this point – these are the ones that’ll get the people moving the most at the shows. They all sound faintly similar as far as being driven to climax by outrageously crisp horns and choruses that will struggle to leave your memory. “So Wild” is a tribute to Khan’s dear friend/one of this site’s most advocated artists Jay Reatard. The production of it recalls Jay behind the mixing boards – it sounds sorta somber at the start, but truly explodes during the chorus.

Some bands might get a little flak for songs sounding like each other, but the Shrines manipulate the formula often enough that distinct styles often shine through like the garage jangle on “Yes I Can’t” (a standout on the album for sure, a powerhouse of a song) and hand-clap galore, early Shrines throwback “I Got Made”. People who really dug The Supreme Genius oughta definitely appreciate that one, particularly. The one tune that makes it mark as a departure from the upbeat pulse of the record is the minimal “Darkness,” which is haunting and stands as a mini-closer. The real finishing touch is “Of Madness I Dream”. It sways slowly, builds progressively, and reaches a fuzzy tipping point, collapsing solos reign before Khan’s vocals re-enter to deliver the final lines.

Idle No More doesn’t quite have the sultry passion that dominates the Shrines earlier work, but for seemingly deeper songs, these still rock ‘n roll… time and time again. The stuff is held together well, a little grit has been traded in for sonic soundness and more often than not, this works great. One of the more interesting bands of our time with a just as interesting front man, King Khan and the Shrines have once again delivered to us modern rock and soul as rousing as it comes.

klyamrecommended

Mini Classic Film Reviews: Wizard Of Oz…

Full Title The Wizard Of Oz
Director(s): Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor
Year: 1939
Comments: This needs no introduction, the wonderful, coming of age, fantasy movie about discovering you need not look further than your backyard to find inspiration and/or happiness. I would argue this is amongst the top five or ten films to revolutionize cinema forever.
Grade: A+

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Full Title: Spiderman 3
Director: Sam Raimi
Year: 2007
Comments: This is definitely the weakest of the three Spidey flicks, but it isn’t terrible. It is still a good action packed, entertaining adventure. The story is interesting enough to follow through and the aciting is okay. The villians (Sandman and Venom) are decent characters, but neither generate the kind of hatred or terror one hopes to find in his Comic Book villians such as the antagonists in the previous two Spiderman movies (Green Goblin, Doc Ock, respectively). Overall, pretty average, worth seeing if you are a fan of Spiderman and/or this genre, if not, then you may or not dig this. The film fails to move beyond its basic plot and doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Grade: C+

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Full Title: Juno
Director: Jason Reitman
Year: 2007
Comments: I don’t care what people say about this movie, I love it! I know it has received overwhelming popularity and mostly positive reviews, but I truly think this is one of the best films of the past decade, or at least one of my favorites (# 2 for the 2000s) and it seems like that’s where people lose me. As a viewer and in general as a fan of any kind of art, one of the most vital qualities, if not the most vital quality is how memorable it is. And Junebug is chock full of lasting images, quotes, scenes, characters, and one of the most endearing soundtracks of all time. I am always glad to hear that people who normally would never listen to obscure music now know and love artists like Sonic Youth and Kimya Dawson because of this soundtrack. Speaking of Kimya, her songs (as the other artists’ music) fit astonishingly perfect in the film; as if they were made solely to be heard with this film, which of course none of them were, all having been recorded prior to director Jason Reitman contacting Kimya about collaborating. So yeah, this is highly KLYAM Recommended. Wizard!
Grade: A+