In the Reptile House S.A.F. Records
Yip-Yip achieves a level of geekdom so uncomfortable it couldn’t be more jarring if they were hanging from door-hook wedgies with brown-stained Lord of the Rings-themed Hanes stretching nearly to the tiles. And yet they steadfastly rock it with such intrepid abandon, they may just be the coolest Casio-infused electronic noise band I’ve ever heard. Whatever that means, but still.
In the Reptile House is the soundtrack to your favorite ’80s video game remixed for a house party. Using Casios, Micromoogs, Novation K-Stations and other similarly outdated synth weapons, and typically dressed in concert as giant goggle-wearing checkerboards (think hazmat suits from a Terry Gilliam flick), they rip through a lo-fi sonic flashback that would have Soft Cell wiping tears of jealousy from their mascara-lined eyes. In the Reptile House is like the promise of that favorite video game’s elusive next level: you can’t help but keep listening, transfixed by the weirdness each subsequent instrumental track offers. And I swear by the end there’s brilliance here, whether it’s mocking or in celebration of the electronic genre. (Skylar Browning)
Yip-Yip plays The Loft Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 10 PM. Eyes Like Candy and The Sherlocks open. $5.
Eyes Like Candy
Some of My Brain is a Monster
Paul Copoc has apparently got some ya-yas he’s not getting out with Two Year Touqe and Helmet Tag, the two local bands he’s written albums for in the last two years. You can tell because his latest, under the new moniker Eyes Like Candy, takes a completely different tack than either of those sugary pop inventions. Some of My Brain is a Monster is at once glitchy and gritty, a series of pedal-strained grunge guitar licks slicing like an oil tanker through seas of mostly melodic electronic textures.
There’s rawness aplenty in the frantic guitar rock and neon tracer digital effects. The lack of polish sounds a bit like it feels to faithfully read a blog, often wishing that its author had taken a bit more time before punching the post button. In other words, there’s enough invention on Some of My Brain is a Monster to merit a listen, but also enough aimlessness to make plain the virtues of soliciting an editor’s or producer’s input.
Still, the album bears fruit worth tasting. And, hopefully, for a musician working from a distinctly different musical recipe than usual, it merits the attention necessary to integrate this experiment with the rest of his work. (Jason Wiener)
Eyes Like Candy opens for Yip-Yip at The Loft Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 10 PM. $5.
Look to Me
Rhanda Johnson’s voice has a depth and maturity that could only have been earned through years of experience. The Plains native has been singing all her life in churches, choirs and musical theater, but waited until later in life to release a solo album. This debut CD of original material finds Johnson, now a grandmother, still quite giddy about life and love—and curious about all the trifles and complications that come with both.
Although it’s billed as a solo album, Look To Me is a community endeavor. Nearly every track features multi-instrumentalists Dave Griffith or Bill Mize accompanying Johnson. Local mother-daughter duo Carla Green and Rachel Wogsland contribute upright bass and fiddle, respectively, as well as harmony vocals. Evan Youngblood-Peterson drops in vocals, Janet Haarvig lends cello, Jack Huffman plays drums and Johnson’s daughters also sing on the record. Their collective skill and confidence—this local folk release has an incredibly professional feel to it—create a solid backdrop for Johnson’s Mary Chapin-Carpenter-like vocals.
Never in the entire effort is there a self-conscious flinch, and the result is an album that stands up to anything available on the national folk circuit today. (Caroline Keys)
Rhanda Johnson plays a CD-release show at The Loft Saturday, Feb. 24, at 8 PM. Jacob Kuntz opens. $10/$8 in advance/$2 off for Missoula Folklore Society members.
There You Go
On There You Go, frontman Parker Burnett Brown demonstrates enough dexterity and soulful style on the fretboard to merit his band a gig in most any bar. But for all of this trio’s instrumental acumen, neither Brown nor his bandmates are much for writing lyrics, producing mundane songs littered with dull phrasings.
The title track muses, “Well, if there’s no wrong and there’s no right maybe you could stay the night. We’ll get drunk and we just might make it ’til the morning light. Kicking ass and taking names, making love will spark the flames. We’ll just lie awake all night, holding to each other tight.” That’s not exactly a litany of novelty unless you count the segue from all-night love to battery, likely a serendipitous side effect of running low on stock phrases.
More detrimental to Tyler Burnett’s prospects, none of the vocals are delivered in tones dulcet enough to make a more talented songwriter want to lend substance to their sound.
Writing and singing aside, what Tyler Burnett does better than many—perform trio rock with blues, jazz and country stylings—ought to keep them employed long enough so you can enjoy at least one barroom instrumental interlude. (Jason Wiener)
Tyler Burnett performs at Sean Kelly’s Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10 PM. Cover TBA. Call 542-1471.