Author: Darcy W.

Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble
ATO / Prawn Song Records
Street: 10.21
Primus = Flaming Lips’ The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs and Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon + Disney’s Splash Mountain

Who can take an overusedsoundtrack, sprinkle it with slap bass and make it something awesome? The Claypool man can! In a most appropriate and welcome tribute, the quintessential Primus lineup—Claypool, Larry “Ler” LaLonde and Tim “Herb” Alexander—reunite after nearly 20 years, accompanied by the Fungi Ensemble, to nail musically what Tim Burton failed miserably at visually: to remake the paranoia-inducing Willy Wonka. “Golden Ticket” pays homage to Sailing the Seas of Cheese, producing the fiercest, frolicking Claypool bass line since “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver,” with funk elements from early albums as well as the stiffer, punk bass sound from Antipop. The newly repackaged “Oompa Augustus” adds more playfulness while “I Want It Now” introduces a Middle Eastern sound with the Fungi’s added percussion driving it on. –Darcy W.

Mega Bog
Gone Banana
Couple Skate Records
Street: 09.23
Mega Bog = Nouvelle Vague + Seapony

God, what an abhorrent album! I can’t think of any circumstances in which it would be enjoyable. From the “Intro (Bird Bridge)”—with seagulls and awkward dialogue about trains—I knew I was going to hate this album. The aimlessly wandering saxophone on “Aurora 99” and the lack of structure leaves the listener lost. It’s as though a race of aliens with tonal synesthetic dyslexia listened to a Morrissey album and tried to reproduce it in a warehouse. In “Goobie Krishna,” I tried to translate Erin Birgy’s lyrics from French and then realized they were English, before they collapsed into a pile of nonsensical letters and symbols on the studio floor. In “Whet Moss” the structureless ambiance caused a feeling of dementia, with Birgy’s breathy vocals trancing me into a coma. Luckily, the best thing about this album is that it’s only 31 minutes long so it’s a quick death. –Darcy W.

Young Tongue
Young Tounge
Young Tongue has been touring with mr. Gnome in support of their new album, Death Rattle.

After a particularly long Wednesday at work full of holiday blah blah blah, I was welcomed into Urban Lounge by the lovely, warm voice of Lyndsi Austin from local trio Big Wild Wings. They sound like a cross between Lisa Hannigan and Regina Spektor and were a welcome change to what I’ve seen at Urban this past year. Be sure to check out their debut album, Speaking in Cursive, released earlier this month.

Next up, Austin-based Young Tongue take the stage to perform a lengthy soundcheck as the room starts to fill in a bit more. Their diverse sound ranges from post grunge to noise rock and progressive rock. I can very easily detect Television and Pixies influences in their guitars—as well as a strong nod to Sonic Youth in frontman Stu Baker’s vocal style—all backed by a disjointed percussion comparable, oddly enough, to Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction. Young Tongue has been touring with mr. Gnome to celebrate their debut release of Death Rattle, released in early November, while keeping an adorable time capsule with submissions from fans from every city to commemorate their tour. They have an amazing energy on stage. Vocalist and keyboardist Liz Baker hops around the tiny stage with a huge smile. In between songs, she expresses appreciation and gratitude for the crowd. After their set, an exhausted but excited Liz returns to the merch booth to peddle her wares to pleased fans, who line up to purchase their new favorite album. Something I really appreciated was watching Liz shake the hand of every person who approached the merch booth.

Nicole Barille and Sam Meister of mr. Gnome take the stage and, with very little sound check or fuss, blast through an intro directly into a slightly faster version of “Night of the Crickets” than the last time I saw them in March of this year. They turn this seemingly frail song into something that gives the dramatic lyrics a much different meaning. Barille gives a subdued “thank you” and Sam starts the opening percussion to “Plastic Shadow” at near breakneck speed, as the two race each other flawlessly through the song. I swear, every time I see this band, they get faster than the last time I saw them. Maybe they enjoy watching people dance awkwardly to their complex tempo changes and breaks as much as I do.

I reposition myself as they begin the happy and playful croon of “Rise and Shine,” the first single of their new album The Heart of a Dark Star, released Nov. 11. Barille and Meister completely self-recorded Dark Star at their home studio in Cleveland and there is a blatant difference in the overall feel of this album. It has a much lighter overtone in contrast to the dark lyrical of some of their previous albums.

“Don’t need nothing but my shotgun in my hand” howls out over the audience as the already fast paced “outsiders” starts at machine gun speed, as does the subsequent “Wolf Girls” from Tastes Like Magic.

Finally, another song from Dark Star arrives—“Light” really represents the contrast between what I felt this album was and their previous releases—a transition from dark to light. “Will you be my light, sitting on the dark side of it all?” This gentle interruption jolts the crowd, having gone from a chaotic polka beat to a sweet, gentle song. I really wish they had played the album in its entirety. The lyrics flow between tracks and stitch together a beautiful story of darkness and light, loneliness and togetherness and love.

Next, I move closer to the stage for another string of my favorite songs, “Vampire.” I’m now the idiot hopping around, losing my beanie as I’m blasted back from the stage by the always epic “House of Circles.” Finally, they closed the night with “Pirates”—a song that can be breathy and sweet, while bursting with anger—moving you through a series of powerful emotions, suspending you there in your most frail state, then slashing your chest with an axe—only to stitch it up and do it again in under three minutes. They didn’t leave their freshly disemboweled audience too wounded, though, after wrapping everyone in the warm blanket that is “Follow” from Dark Star—I mean, the chorus alone is enough to put you back together “I love you, I love you, I love you for all time…”

I was really hoping to hear more from the new album this go around, especially since it was just released, but I say go pick yourself up a copy—preferably on vinyl—and drink some tea or something.