“I think the band’s much stronger than what it reads like on paper,” admits Slo-Mo ’s Mike Brenner. He’s right. On paper, Slo-Mo reads like a bit of a novelty act. Brenner combines his steel-guitar playing with Mic Wrecka ’s hip-hop rhymes. They add in the standard guitars, bass and drums, and a good dollop of female background vocals. The setup works.
“It’s taken us a while to get to that point, but I think we’ve become a great band and I think that trumps any kind of, ‘This is cute.’ We want to slam people. I don’t think novelty bands have people coming back gig after gig,” Brenner says.
Since Brenner released Slo-Mo’s first album in 2000—whimsically titled Novelty —he’s fleshed out the group to an octet and is set to release the band’s fourth album, Gimme What You Got . Gimme ’s 11 tunes balance an upbeat honky-tonk vibe with more aggressive and tense rhymes and raps for a cohesive and powerful album.
Gimme What You Got , Wrecka says, was made with “no particular formula. We just tried to step further outside the box, as far as what we thought people might want to hear.” The result is one song that bears heavy doo-wop influences, another that takes a nod from dub-reggae and bears closer resemblance to socially conscious indie rappers like Atmosphere and Sage Francis.
“I think if anything, we wanted this record to be a little more bumpin’, a little more rockin’,” says Brenner. “It didn’t all have to be danceable in my mind … but we wanted to be able to play all these live and keep people jumpin’.” ■
Sat., Sept. 12, 9pm. $10. With the Fractals + Adam and Dave’s Bloodline. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com