Thursday, December 15, 2005
THE PILLOW FIGHTERS | Struggle to Snuggle
The Pillow Fighters, formerly The Nancy Boys, make good on the promise the local band showed on their debut EP Baklava with the release of the 13-song Struggle to Snuggle, which was recorded at CSUMB’s Music and Performing Arts Building.
If you have seen the band’s superb live shows, then you will be familiar with a lot of the material on Struggle to Snuggle—from the galloping Wild West punk rock of “Placemat” to the band’s usual set closer, “You Can Be Mine,” which builds and ebbs in intensity like a rogue wave. For the uninitiated, The Pillow Fighters play slashing guitar rock in the tradition of The Pixies with eccentric flourishes like the ‘50s-sounding backing vocals on “Dig Dug” and the cryptic lyrics of “The Fortune Cookie Song,” which has Pillow Fighter ringleader Erhman Hall nonchalantly singing about something he found in the freezer “next to the severed head.”
Sure, a couple of the numbers are just straight rockers, but the best of Struggle to Snuggle—where the band’s impressive creativity meets their ability to rock—is better than anything you will find on the shelves of your local record store.
The Pillow Fighters’ Struggle to Snuggle will be available during the band’s farewell show at Monterey Live this Thursday or by e-mailing email@example.com. (ST)
VARIOUS ARTISTS | A John Waters Christmas | New Line
“I sifted through thousands of Christmas songs to get the right ones for this collection,” said the auteur to this reviewer via phone. “The last thing I wanted was a jokey or ironic take on the holiday. These are the most beautiful Christmas songs ever!”
All right, he is being cheeky as his is wont, but who’s to say he isn’t being at least partially truthful? The genius behind Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Hairspray (now a Broadway musical) and Polyester gives us a tour of the holiday underside of Baltimorean weirdness on this disc. And while it is does smack pretty hard of the kind of pre-Beatles dance rock of the 1960s that Hairspray was based upon, it’s hilarious in its own right anyway—Waters is incapable of NOT being subversive.
You get Tiny Tim warbling “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” you get a gem called “Santa Claus is a Black Man,” you get an Xmas anthem delivered by “The Locomotion’s” Little Eva…who could ask for more? As someone that loathes Christmas carols, this is a pleasure—if for no other reason than it would leave the “liberals hate Christmas” assholes at Fox News et al speechless. Buy it. (JA)
PRINCE PAUL | Hip-Hop Gold Dust | Antidote Records
Having established himself as a major rap producer for over 15 years, there’s no doubt Prince Paul has mountains of unreleased records to dig through. His latest collection, Hip-Hop Gold Dust, makes a start. Gold Dust marks Paul’s second release this year alone, and its 19 tracks yield nearly as many different names and acts. There’s a De La Soul track, of course, along with a live jam with Stetsasonic dating from ’86.
The real highlights are the obscure gems, which reveal just how prolific Paul’s career has been. Big Sha, the gravelly-voiced elder from A Prince Among Thieves, gives a fine freestyle on fizzled concept track “Sha of Horror City,” and Paul himself shows his diversity with a turntable experiment on the wacky “Prince Paul vs. The World.” The collection opens with a Soul Brothers Intro, a recording from junior high, dating back to 1981: one of Paul’s first DJ collaborations. Now that’s dedication to hip-hop. (BS)