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soundbites
February 2009

LMFAOTHE WHORE MOANSZEN BLUES QUARTET

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LMFAO
I’m in Miami Bitch
Interscope Records

The electro hip-hop duo known as LMFAO has been a club hit for a while with the tracks, “Lil’ Hipster Girl” and “Yes.” Now they’re back with “I’m in Miami Bitch,” a simple beat-driven song, perfect for dancing, complete with some catchy riffs and a nice hook. For whatever reason, Interscope’s download of this album is basically eight re-mix versions, including an A Capella version. Yes, that’s right: an A Capella version of a hip-hop song. Just to give you an idea, here’s some of the lyrics, quoted straight from memory as I have listened to them 47,000 times:

“It's Mornin time and the girls still there
They lying naked with some Asses in the air
Anna wants it bad she's got some big kahunas
But I say I'll be back gotta get some more coronas
Hay, you're looking kind of cute in that poke dot bikini, girl
Hay, this is what I want to do take of that poke dot bikini, girl”(sic)

Ah, poetry. Still, what do you expect from hip-hop? At least it’s not full of the ridiculous bragging that has turned what was once music for raves and block parties into jerks like, say, Kanye West. Whatever happened to having fun at a party?

On the downside here, that’s pretty much it. It’s not that I have a problem with long-ass repetitive dance music: It’s hard to dance up to a fine young lady if the song is only three and a half minutes long. Still it takes a lot of “kahunas” (they use that word a lot, too) to try and put out an album that’s really one song remixed eight times. Not that it really matters — nobody’s gonna buy this thing, their gonna download it, burn it, file share it and the like, straight to their iPod.

There is one advantage there: no more empty jewel cases stacked all over the place! — Brandon Whitehead (posted 02/27/09)


The Whore Moans
Hello from the Radio Wasteland
Mt. Fuji Records

While Seattle certainly has more than its share of bands and musicians, it still seems to come up with some of the best music out there. The four Seattle dudes who make up The Whore Moans (say it fast — you’ll get it.) are indeed pretty damn good. But first …

While watching the train wreck that was this year’s Grammy’s, it was clearer than ever that the American music industry as it once was is dead.

Today’s “musicians” are pampered, groomed haircuts. Take Katy Perry for example: Once a popular Christian singer, she was plucked for her tart-factor, given a make-over and flipped out as the newest flavor of the hour. Hell, she probably thinks she will still be famous six months from now! Can you say “Tiffany”, Katy?

Then there is the number one band in America, the Jonas Brothers. The most famous musicians in the country are three asexual promise-ring-wearing assholes whose fan base are ten-year-old girls. Pathetic. They shouldn’t be allowed in the same building with the likes of B.B. King (there was a striking lack of real musicians at the Grammy’s this year — they might as well take the stage down and build a runway for these losers to show off their haircuts).

All that said, it’s bands like The Whore Moans who are really keeping the music alive, pumping out their own take on punk/pop with tasty treats like “White Noise Melody” in sleazy bars and roadside taverns for little pay, little fame and sure as hell not for any Grammy. Thankful, with the world-wide-Internet, their music is just a few clicks away, be it just for a song or buying the whole album.

Go look for the awesomeness that is Hello from the Radio Wasteland on MySpace (eKC now has its own MySpace page — check it out) or www.cdbaby.com and listen to some good music, and then maybe, just maybe we all won’t go straight to the ninth circle of Hell while listening to an endless loop of “I Kissed a Girl.” — Brandon Whitehead (posted 02/20/09)


Zen Blues Quartet
Again and yet again
Shunyata Records

The consensus among those cognizant of their spiritual bearing — of which all musicians can be so designated — is that words are inadequate in explaining the meaning of Zen. So, too, the blues. Both — Zen and the blues — transcend mere feeling. Both — and the practitioners of both — live as states of being — which is about as close as one can get explaining these “somethings” with words.

“What a life,” the opening cut on Again and yet again, fully settles any question what the Zen Blues Quartet is about. Mike Finnegan, who seems to be everywhere in the Midwest these days, opens this full-breeze blues rocker with the lines: Got me uptight good woman/ got me uptight baby girl/ got me a real home situation. With that start, the state of blues being becomes recognized. It’s a cookin’ tune, quickly demonstrating Finnegan’s distinctive voice and B3 chops with John March’s guitar in stride. “What a life” doesn’t get old.

Tim Scott, bass and vocals, penned the follow up, “I’ve had harder times from better women than you.” Another head-nodder with a sweet treat in Curtis Salgado on harmonica, with his Paul Butterfield-esque touch accompanying the horns.

The Quartet does a nice, slow, bluesy redo of Steely Dan’s “Reeling in the Years.” Finnegan tickles along “Same old blues” on the keys, and later March teams with Scott on Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “I want to ta ta ya baby,” purifying the sincerity along with March’s guitar licks, Steve Ferrone on drums and vocal work that gets the love-making groove glowing. Finally, the title cut, “Again and yet again,” has some of that New Agey wavy sound but in the Zen universe, it fits.

The Zen Blues Quartet was scheduled to play a three-night gig at Knuckleheads in early March. Unfortunately, the shows have been cancelled. Meanwhile, while waiting for a new date to be announced, order Again and yet again from www.zenbluesmusic.com, and be at peace with ones’ blues. — Bruce Rodgers (posted 02/20/09)


Brandon Whitehead can be contacted at kinginyellow@juno.com.

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