Monday, May 19, 2008

Lunachicks - Jerk of All Trades

Lunachicks - Jerk of All Trades

CD on Go-Kart Records, 1995, GK013. The group is made up of Theo (vocals), Squid (bass & vocals), Gina (lead guitar and vocals), Sindi (guitar), Chip (drums). Produced and engineered by Ray Martin.

1) Drop Dead - Rousing opener. "I like you better when you're deader...Drop dead! Drop!" Catchy tune. The thing about this album is going to be lots of vulgarity, just putting it out there, whatever body function, four-letter word applies. So it's either parody, self-parody, some other form of humor, putting the things off a bathroom wall to music. It was a strong opening.

2) Fingerful - I like the riff, basic guitar thing going on all through this song. Very insistent. The lyrics go with the tune for more classic rock sound on this track than on the first. Some real sweet building of guitars in the chorus. Some of the same kind of "bathroom" stuff, literally, then in the lyrics. Nothing so terrible. Funny actually, but this tune seems to require something less funny. This is a great tune, the lyrics are so-so.

3) F.D.S. - The same guitar sound, in a more theatrical, eccentric way on this song. It marches along in a fast way, then stifles out, goes silent. The second time through there's a great guitar solo. The lyrics are in key with the whole CD, which in this case has some children's rhymes along with the whole over-the-top vibe. Such as "Greasy, grimy gopher guts ... and I forgot my spoon," which is probably public domain, that part of it.

4) Light As A Feather - This one is going to be like Fingerful, with a more classic rock, riff sound. The lyrics sound like kids messing around with tarot cards, seances, etc., autobiographical from stuff kids do for excitement. "Spin the bottle." Maybe you could say this album is bubblegum music with a heavy metal twist. Not much difference, really, between "Indian Giver" or "1, 2, 3 Red Light" and "Spin the Bottle" and "Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts." It's nostalgia and biography. Just inside memories.

5) Edgar - About a cat named Edgar, "named after that Poe dude." A loving tribute, with good humor and sentiment. Sweet tune, and a good memory of how smelly his droppings were. Kind of a personal song, but with some good shared insights.

6) Dog Yard - Stuttering tune, instrumentals. Cool sounding. The lyrics get into a whole playful thing, I think from a dog's point of view. Reminds me of that dog song -- Damned Dog -- from Times Square. Maybe just because of the dog theme. But this one doesn't really communicate much to me. There are certain similarities between dog excitement and ours, though.

7) Butt Plugg - That is "Plugg" with two G's. Spitting song, short lines, short space for lines. "I like," "I love," quickie. Tribute to a body accessory. Short song.

8) Bitterness Barbie - This song sounds like it's saying something, some of the bitterness of being Barbie, from the doll's point of view when things start going wrong. Like what if Barbie had a mastectomy or clogged-up pores? In the semi-funny lyrics it's still saying something tragic about the ideal Barbie image, how even she can have troubles, and will eventually. Message songs aren't my favorite genre, but something like this has something positive without being overly in your face.

9) Deal With It - A slower tempo song at the very beginning, but it steps up quickly, and sounds like a serious song. It's personal what an artist wants to say, but I think subtlety wins the day, just my own opinion. This one has more lyrical subtlety, at least for the first bit. But "I'm gonna let it all out / Like a fresh water trout," doesn't say much to me. It sounds very 'rough draft.' I do like "mummified in toilet paper," but even that still isn't really touching me.

10) Brickface + Stucco - Exciting beginning. The singing has a real consistency throughout the album. A real sameness, except for the tunes. Brickface and Stucco are doing some gender bending, involving dressing like women, and, in Stucco's case, sailing the seas like a pirate. But in this joining of opposites they have a child together, November 10 is the birthday, and the little girl's name is Formica Linoleum. Building products or surfaces, like Z-Brick (not mentioned). Maybe complexion problems.

11) Jerk of All Trades - Title track, starts with horns. Then the horns after a fanfare are gone, and the guitars and a multiplicity of voices launch into it. This is about "Woman," who can do most anything, as she is the 'jerk of all trades.' The great advantage to singing the first thing that comes to mind is you never reach pretentiousness. The big disadvantage is everything sounds trite. But I like some of the effects in this one, like western noises of shooting. And the voices together are exciting. As the title track this must be saying something about the group.

12) Spoilt - The one starts off really nice, then becomes Generic Tune Off The Lower Shelf That's Within Everyone's Reach. The lyrics are more on the serious side, like the problems of women, the environmental, in war, something like that. Some of the fallout from war, it's what spoils everything, collateral damage, as they say. I like the seriousness of this one. The tune even gets better as we go, and it has a good menacing quality to go along with the lyrical theme. Not a funny song, which is good.

13) Ring + Run - This is another bubblegum one, like kiddie games, ringing doorbells, intercom buttons and running. "We're gonna have a little fun / In Brooklyn playing Ring + Run." Quick Joey Small might like this one. Get the Ohio Express on the line. They could do something great with this song. Just a fun, nostalgic song for every mischievous ex-kid.

14) Fallopian Rhapsody - I'm thinking, having glanced at it an hour ago that this one might have to do with abortion. Now I'm hearing it and it has a serious tune, a serious tone, yep. Taking someone to task for discouraging choice, thinking "procreation [is] what you think we're for." The tune switches in the middle to a very fast, insistent pace. Some angry spitting mad stuff, ending up with this message, "Gotta have choice, it's the only solution...Never go back!" Obviously a serious message song. Not a song I personally find very entertaining or inspiring, but it balances out some of the overly-silly stuff. More than a novelty act.

15) Insomnia - Great sentiment to start this one off, "I wish the sleep fairy would come do the trick." Anyone could identify with this song, anyone who's ever had trouble falling asleep. Even mentions "counting sheep"! Then ends up with the perfect solution to insomnia, which is sex (mercifully restrained here, which shouldn't go without saying). You don't get that on the medicine commercials! "I wanna go to, I really need to, please God let me! Good tune.

16) Why Me - Lyrically a small song. But I like the lyrics to this one maybe most of all. Because it's a little more mysterious about what's going on, so you can project all kinds of things into it. Like any kind of depression, any kind of personal challenge, from a splinter to raging dementia. Neat vocals from the group at the edge, beyond the lead singer. "If something's broken you gotta fix it," is repeated a few times. I think this would be my favorite song on the album. Some good raging attitude on it. Then the instruments break down, in a swirl of craziness. That's nice. Then repeating the "Something's broken" line....till we get to the beautiful, unfolding guitar end. And off.

17) A continuation of Track 16 after a minute or so -- a hidden track -- with a bit of horn from a Herb Alpert song, I think 'Whipped Cream.' And the group is sitting around laughing, burping, having a great time. Several burps. Someone says "Puke up a lung there, honey." A little more laughing and out.

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