The Varitable Rainbow of Song
The Glad Sound
Mark Heimer—admit it, this kid’s a jackrabbit when it comes to records and shows, with enough in-yo-face energy to jump-start an army of tanks. He’s the self-made Music Man, his paws dipping into the nu-wave funk years of Dirty Mind/Controversy-era Prince with a healthy dose of hyper-’80s dance day-glo splendor without the stench of irony. The dude’s stripped it down, added a coat of his own paint, and it works like a dream, with hits oozing out one after another.
“Too Mean” is the true chart-topper here, but “Black Heart” has the serious craft of the underground hit and “No Encore” will most likely stick with No-Fi as the perpetual show-ending tune. My 3 month-old son loves this ultra-happening dance music. It doesn’t discriminate toward any age—it really is the glad sound! Word on the street is that this is No-Fi’s most thumbs-up record so far, and I’d say this ranks up there as one of the finest releases I’ve heard from our village. (Bryan Ramirez)The Bar Feeders
50 Ways to Leave Your Liver
It’s fitting that Bay Area goofballs the Bar Feeders were one of the last out-of-town bands to play at Jay’s Upstairs before the venue finally closed this fall. These guys truly loved the place more than almost any other band ever, braving Montana’s seasonal worst to include a Missoula stopover on almost every tour, any time of year. On their most recent visit, closing time came and went practically unnoticed in a pink fog of Pabst and Watermelon Pucker, with drummer Cecil wrestling Jay’s bartender Richie Rowe on a floor typically befouled with spilled beer and cigarette butts.
50 Ways to Leave Your Liver finds the threesome up to their usual booze-burning high jinks with 16 fresh blasts of melodic Mach 3 beercore. Unlike most bands who go on tour primarily as a means to pickle their innards on the cheap, these guys just keep getting faster and faster, looser yet paradoxically tighter. You can bounce a plug nickel off “Sally” and “Satan Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore,” both of which feature Jimmy’s patented spastic guitar leads and Cecil’s machine-gun drums. It sounds like the wheels could come flying off this record at any minute, sending it over a cliff in a flaming ball, which is exactly what propels it to punk rock greatness. Hopefully these guys will keep finding excuses to come through Missoula even without their home-away-from-home, Jay’s. They would be sorely missed. (Andy Smetanka)Dead C
Starlight Furniture Co.
No one will remember the mid-’90s psychedelic renaissance, mainly because it was a re-interpretation of drug music under the guise of noise and confusion. Dead C was one of those bands that seemed to alienate the ears, forever doomed to cassette-only releases. Happily, well-placed fans like Thurston Moore and a few other weirdoes kept them from sinking too far from sight.
Dead C reflected the obvious Sonic Youth tendencies (i.e., the parts that caught Thurston Moore’s ear), but with their own approach and low-fidelity recordings—seriously disturbing/beautiful sounds from guitars that sound charged by a slew of dying car batteries. With The Damned, they return to their former exorcisms of ghost voices from short-wave radio, and squalling feedback in song form. The guitar duo, with drums, creates a blizzard of sound that acclimates itself to the shittiest of stereos, but is equally enrapturing throughout. This is why I consider Dead C one of the greatest bands ever, but be warned—this brilliant disc is not for the weak or the slick. (Bryan Ramirez)Mosquitos
There’s a line in A Bronx Tale, Robert De Niro’s directorial debut, to the effect that every man gets three extraordinary women in his lifetime. If you’d have asked me five years ago, I would have told you I’d already lost one to Brazil, for which I’ve never really forgiven that country.
But now I think the great love I thought I’d lost actually led me to another one: Brazil itself, or at least Brazilian music. This might sound a little contrived, but I’m dead serious when I tell you Brazilian music is a woman, and she caught me on the rebound!
Enter Mosquitos, a Brazil-by-way-of-New York City trio consisting of two American musicians and one bona fide Brazilian “beach baby,” Juju Stulbach, who gives Astrud Gilberto a run for her breathy money on this thoroughly enchanting Bar None debut, an album with more gracile curves and contours than a beachful of Brazilian bathing beauties. If you like cool bossa nova music along the lines of Sergio Mendes and the aforementioned Gilberto and her husband, there seems to be a revival in progress and Mosquitos could well be leading the charge back to Ipanema. Sadly, they seem to have been parted by visa problems, but your love affair with Mosquitos can still blossom. You absolutely must buy this album, and then check out Smokey and Miho, who out-Astrud even Mosquitos. Arto Lindsay, your cold and clinical services are no longer required nor desired. (Andy Smetanka)