Wednesday, December 24, 2003  
WXPort
Feedback
 Clubs TonightHot TixBand GuideMP3sBest Music PollSki GuideThe Best '03 
 Clubs By Night | Club Directory | Bands in Town | Concerts: Classical - Pop | Hot Links | Review Archive |  
Home
Listings
Editors' Picks
New This Week
News and Features

Art
Astrology
Books
Dance
Food & Drink
Movies
Music
Television
Theater

Archives
Letters

Classifieds
Personals
Adult
Stuff at Night
The Providence Phoenix
The Portland Phoenix
FNX Radio Network

 
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend
 

!!!, MOVING UNITS
ME AND GIULIANI DOWN BY THE SCHOOL YARD , S/T
(TOUCH & GO), (RX/PALM PICTURES)
Stars graphics

Ever since the Raptureís "House of Jealous Lovers" united NYC disco rats and indie-clubbers last summer as one nation under a groove, the cityís musical milieu has been revived by a single imperative: make rock and roll you can dance to. It might be the best thing to have happened to underground music in a decade. The best new song about dancing in New York is "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard," by !!! (pronounced Chk-Chk-Chk), a seven-piece unit who are kicking up the funkiest no-wave racket since James Chance. The secret weapons on !!!ís fabulous homonymous debut were guitarist Mario Andreoniís taut, ticklish, J.B.ís-style stress, which was stretched out over epic Afro-punk/funk polyrhythms, and a horn section equally familiar with John Zorn and Fred Wesley. On "Me and Giuliani," the groove somehow is both looser and sharper; the percussion includes both cowbell and electrobeat; and in its middle section the song swirls into trippy dub ecstasy before paddling its way back to shore. Frontman Nic Offerís jaundiced, Strummer-like howls and hisses chide the former mayor (and the current one, too) like a griot calling out a sub-Saharan dictator: "We live here and now, dude . . . so get on down, down, down." Itís as if Afrika Bambaataa had unpacked a crate of Fela Kuti sides for a block party in the concrete jungle of Factory RecordsĖera Manchester. And like "House of Jealous Lovers," the song is actually climbing the Billboard dance charts. Which is poetic, since itís also the first dance-punk song to point out that dancing is legally discouraged in New York City by a regulation that requires permits in bars where rump shaking might occur. The obvious parallel is a certain í80s story line made famous by Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer; by the end of the track, !!! are leading a chant you never dreamed youíd hear on a Touch and Go record: "Everybody cut/Everybody cut/Everybody cut footloose!"

LAís Moving Units were among the first to export NYCís no-wave/new-wave revival to the West Coast, and they were quickly snatched up by Palm on the basis of this four-song EP. You can hear why: it sounds like what mightíve happened if the DFA ó the production team responsible for putting the proto-house thump in "House of Jealous Lovers" ó had kidnapped the Strokes. On "I Am," the best of the lot, they prove theyíve mastered the basics of the form: a liquid, syncopated disco bass line and wiry, staccato Gang of Four guitar strangulation. Itís a little by-the-numbers, though, and their singer, with an affected English accent, sounds as if heíd be happier in a form thatís more earnest and less trendy. "I am ordinary," he sings drily in the chorus, as if waiting for us to disagree. I donít, and he is.

(Moving Units open for Blur at Avalon this Friday, July 18; call 617-423-NEXT. !!! play the Middle East this Sunday, July 20; call 617-864-EAST.)

BY CARLY CARIOLI


Issue Date: July 18 - 24, 2003
Back to the Music table of contents
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend







about the phoenix |  find the phoenix |  advertising info |  privacy policy |  the masthead |  feedback |  work for us

 © 2000 - 2003 Phoenix Media Communications Group