Thursday, November 3, 2005
FATLIP | The Loneliest Punk | Tasty Vinyl
After more than five years of hiatus, former Pharcyde MC Fatlip is back, seeking his redemption with his long-awaited solo debut, Theloneliest Punk. Despite the years gone by since his dramatic split from the bizarre ride, Fatlip hasn’t lost his defining humor or creative touch. Theloneliest Punk presents Fatlip at his most genuine, almost confessional—self-conscious and vulnerable after his fall from the top (maybe you’ve seen him riding the bus lately)—and it’s clear he’s certainly done some self-reflecting. It’s all in his music.
While the title references a certain mad scientist of jazz, Fatlip offers his own no-holds-barred genius style—the album kicks off with his soul-wrenched wailing on “Fat Leezy,” while skits find Fatlip on the phone, insecure yet unabashedly giving samples of ideas in his head (“The Bassline” turns Fatlip’s humming into an actual beat). His penchant for breaking into song harkens back to a different quirky classic, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, as do his brilliant, most wyled-out lines (“Who said I was on crack?! / Youse a muthaf-ckin’ liar!” he slurs belligerently on “Today’s Your Day”). And while he’s seemingly just as comfortable acting the part of cracked-out street philosopher or perverted, drunk-assed trenchcoat flasher, he’s just as accessible and intellectually-minded as any struggling artist, offering sharp, insightful life wisdom on tracks like “Writer’s Block,” and “What’s Up Fatlip?” The latter, the album’s first single, has inspired a Spike Jonze-directed documentary featuring a revealing look back at Fatlip’s trials and tribulations, which completes the album experience. (BS)
BANG SUGAR BANG | Thwak, Thwak Go Crazy | SOS Records
Punk pop wasn’t always Blink 182 and their whiny adolescent plaints or Sum 41’s quasi-metal or Good Charlotte’s prog rock in punk drag; it used to be funny and silly without dopiness. These Highland Park refugees are tip-top fantastic, a clownish and hilarious femme-fronted trio that would have been the humorous underside to the late, lamented Alleycats, were this 1980.
It isn’t. But these two guys/one gal know where to go for the right stuff—DK’s/Meredith Brooks producer Geza X twiddles the knobs along with LA legend Paul Roessler engineering and somehow in these days of pro-toolery, they sound just raw enough. Upbeat and wild-eyed, they ridicule their own indie-hood (“Major Label Interest”) mock the archenemy (“Kill the Radio”) and cover the sacred (The Gun Club’s “Sex Beat”).
Good stuff, with powerful guitars and vox—and that they never forget the dingey club scene that sprung them is a net positive. This one may be hard to find, but find it anyway. (JA)
ODETTA | Gonna Let It Shine: A Concert for the Holidays | MC Records
As prominent a figure on the early folk circuit as Seeger, Ochs and Dylan, this big-voiced singer goes all out gospel on this collection of non-secular goodies. The title refers to her best-known tune “This Little Light Of Mine” (other than the oft-covered “Midnight Special,” also a coffeehouse fave). Said song appears twice, as a reprise with the Holmes Brothers. Both versions are revelatory. If you’d believed that old-time religion was a cudgel to beat the people down with instead of uplifting, this will turn you around.
Lively she is for a woman that’s been doing this for 50 years, and she’s a better singer than Joan Baez will ever be. If it is a stroll down “protest memory lane” you seek, this will do the trick—gospel blues delivered with verve, humor and passion. (JA)