Guide to New Music: Spank Rock, Mekons & More

By Brian McManus and Elliott Sharp
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Sep. 28, 2011

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Chairman of the bored: Spank Rock's Naeem Juwan.

It is, with the possible exception of Led Zeppelin’s II, III and IV, the greatest album title in music history: Everything is Boring & Everyone is a Fucking Liar. It’s by Philly artist Spank Rock, and it’s out this week, along with a host of other albums worth your attention. So off we go, hopping on down that great Music Retail Trail, hipping you to the latest hot slabs. You’re going to love it. Or, at the very least, you’ll love telling us what we missed (Wilco! Dum Dum Girls! Switchfoot! Blink 182!) We do this every week on PW’s music blog, makemajormoves.com. Join us, won’t you?

Sic Alps, Battery Townsley 7” (Drag City): Following their boss double LP earlier this year, Napa Asylum, the San Fran garage-blazers offer up two very slurpable nugs. The top cut has the acoustic-breeze steez of classic Alps pop ditties like “Gelly Roll Gum Drop.” It shimmies right up to ya, starts grinding on your leg like a horny bobcat and happily goes bye-bye faster than it came. The bottom cut’s called “Cambridge Vagina.” Maybe it’s about Boston, but according to Google and Bing there are many places in the world humans have named “Cambridge.” It’s about looking for treasure, perhaps, or a secret or two. It’s buried deep underneath the fuzzy-wuzzy pube-wires, and when you finally manage to pull back nature’s shield, therein lies the jewel of the Nile. Ew! (Elliott Sharp)

Spank Roc, Everything is Boring & Everyone is a Fucking Liar (Bad Blood): That title! So cynical. So dark. So true . Anyone who’s spent any time at all on the type of late-night benders Spank Rock emcee Naeem Juwan traffics in and raps about on Boring highlights like the bumping “DTF DADT” or “Energy” knows the feeling. You’re the last man standing. The guilt starts. The dark thoughts start to creep in. Who am I and what am I doing with my life? You’ll recover. You hope. Most of the production on this new badass disc of highly danceable cocaine jams is done by German beat-maker supreme Alexander Ridha aka Boys Noize. As such, Juwan gives himself over completely to the Euro dance grooves he’s only flirted with in the past. We’ve always appreciated Juwan’s dual nature—his fey defiance in the face of hip-hop’s clowninsh, blown-out version of masculinity living side by side with his ability to match any emcee brag for brag. It’s what allows him to, you know, dress like he does in the accompanying photo while rapping over glow-stick-required beats about pulling his dick out in the Sofitel. New Orleans sissy bounce queen Big Freedia guests on “Nasty,” which is appropriately nasty. Santigold turns up on “Car Song,” which is appropriately great car-listening music. Elsewhere on the disc, “Baby” sees Juwan writing the best Prince song of the last three decades and Mark Ronson lends production help on “#1 Hit.” (Brian McManus)

Far-Out Fangtooth, Pure & Disinterested (Siltbreeze): The Philly-based rock fourpiece delivers its debut album on the Philly-based Siltbreeze label. Weird static bells and aleatoric rattlers open it, which make me think there’s something somewhat spiritual or cathartic or at least profound to the utter emptiness that comes. Bleak rock and a lining flavored with candy-pop melodies. There’s a middle-period Sonic Youth vibe. The vocals sound half-dead. All void. Blank faces. Not sure if it’s a nihilistic gaze, though. It’s pure. The highest stage of enlightenment. The message from nowhere. No gaze. Ripped trousers. Like, when Jandek said, “I looked at my clothes and they were all black.” There’s no frills and no flash. All this makes it difficult to connect with the songs, but how do you connect with nothing? I dunno. Ask Sartre. They play Kung Fu Necktie Saturday night. (E.S.)

Mekons, Ancient & Modern (Bloodshot): Did you know that Sally Timms of UK punk legends Mekons used to be married to Saturday Night Live/Portlandia Creative Force of Nature Fred Armisen? It’s true, and it’s just one more reason to love this influencial group. Here’s another: Two years ago, when our good friend Steven Wells passed away, Timms—a longtime friend of Wells—emailed her condolences. She also made a sizeable donation to a cancer charity in Steven’s name. Ancient & Modern isn’t your father’s Mekons—a bit smoother, less rough around the edges—but it’s well worth your time nevertheless. (B.Mc.)

Brian McManus, Is An Ancient & Disinterested & Pure & Modern Fucking Liar (Philebrity Label): After quitting his Morrissey cover band in a huff during their second rehearsal over perceived “creative differences,”* vocalist/guitarist/drummer/flutist Brian McManus took to writing his new, incredibly unique, thoroughly original titled albu— wait a ... Goddamnit! (B.Mc.)

*A flute solo during “Hairdresser On Fire.”

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