Heavy Rotation Vol. 38 – “Representing Whitey” EditionApril 4, 2010
Welcome back to the Heavy Rotation, now in its 38th edition. This week’s edition will be just like its previous 37 incarnations, with the notable exception of being frontloaded with an album review. In other words, almost completely unlike any other volume. In fact, completely unlike the rest. Except for the music. The music will be excellent. More excellent, perhaps. Certainly no less.
Previous album-review-free versions here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives
As you are already aware, Whitey released his long delayed second album on April 1st. If you haven’t tracked down a copy yet, by all means, finish reading this review and then head right out. (Links will be provided.)
Canned Laughter is a bleak, disillusioned album. Not that Whitey was ever the most cheerful boy in the studio (see also: Made of Night, The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train), but his latest bears the marks of someone burnt once too often by life itself.
But as much as Canned Laughter drips with revulsion for those in power and their propensity for fucking everyone and everything for as long as they can, Whitey’s latest speaks (perhaps only to me) volumes about getting old.
Leading off with Dinosaur, which approximates vintage New Order (think Confusion/Blue Monday) and grabs a bit of Shriekback’s punk-funk for color, Whitey fatalistically watches the march of time turn even the greatest men into nothing more than dust.
From this jumping-off point, we lurch into Times Up, whose chaotic drumwork is buried beneath a nightmarish electro-calliope. The circus-from-hell tones meld with what sounds like an actual cello as Whitey points out what we all can’t ignore:
It’s the end of the line
And it’s too late to clean up
And everything’s used up.
Count Those Freaks opens up with jungle noises, Tusk-like drums and Dixieland horns, all riding an insanely catchy bassline. Once again, the us vs. them motif appears, once again taking the form of “the way we used to be vs. the way people are now.” As a former nightclub DJ, these lines in particular speak to me, as I increasingly feel this way with each passing year:
We tread a careful line
Between the creatures of the night
Because we’re not completely sure
Who goes to nightclubs any more
It goes on from there, one blisteringly beautiful/bleak song at a time. A grown-up look at life and the damage done. The Genius of the Crowd takes aim at incomplete people whose inability to feel completely turns them into weapons of mass destruction. The narrator intones this emotionlessly, turning it into the anti-Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) and replacing the starry-eyed feel-goodisms of Baz Luhrmann’s hit with an incriminating warning.
Liars, Vipers, Jokes and Fakes rides a blissful island rhythm into dark waters, filled with every evil in the world, perpetuated by those who have the power to change things. Everyone else just gets to pay for it. Send Out the Clowns attacks the same subject matter with a different metaphor and even brings along some more tortured calliope tones for good measure.
Whitey slips in a few jokes as well, between all the anger. Check out I Had a Wonderful Night (It Just Wasn’t This One) if only for the title. You’ll find yourself sticking around to sway along to the jaded beauty and the cutting turns of phrase (“You had a wonderful night/But I’ve had better“). Or ride along with an amazing tune and slum it with the “junkies on the corner” while singing along to Whitey’s ode to “gutter aristocracy” The Up Sound for Down People.
Altogether an amazing album, well worth the wait. So. Don’t wait. Click below and follow through. (They’ll open in a new window.)
Here’s a taster. (Lyrics here.)
Liars, Vipers, Jokes and Fakes
Shocking Pinks – The Big Cutout.mp3
Travelling stylistically along the same heavily-percussed road as Holy Fuck and the Fuck Buttons, Australia’s Shocking Pinks take the listener for a harrowing ride through a starless night, an unlit drive to escape something unnameable and ominous.
Grave Babies – Gouge Your Eyes Out.mp3
Sounding a lot like Faith-era Cure riding shotgun with the death disco of SALEM, Seattle’s Grave Babies deliver the languidly brutal message that no matter how bad your day was, the night promises to be unimaginably worse. Claustrophobic in the way that all the best goth bands were claustrophobic. (Think Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead or Upside Down by Creaming Jesus.) Still, you could conceivably hum the melody line…
Palermo Disko Machine – Theme of Palermo Disko.mp3
Channelling Giorgio Moroder and Vangelis while borrowing from Plastikman’s 303-noodlings, Italy’s Palermo Disko Machine boldly wear their influences on their impeccably-styled sleeves, cobbling together a dancefloor destroyer that manages, at the very minimum, to be the sum of its impressive parts.
Adam Freeland – We Want Your Soul.mp3
Operating with the same distorted breakbeats as his Marine Parade labelmates, Evil Nine, Adam Freeland takes his punk ethics to the airwaves via a vocodered female proxy, delivering the inarguable message that the world gives you so little and asks so much in return.
Appeals to the anarchist in all of us, dragging us off the walls and onto the dancefloor, where we can shout anti-everything slogans while we seek to change the world by drinking, drugging and fucking.
It’s a blast and way more focused than the MC5. Plus it samples Bill Hicks, so that’s about +10 on the enjoyment scale.
[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to its high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
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