The full title of this album is a mouthful: “Sideways Soul: Dub Narcotic Sound System meets the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in a Dancehall Style”.
I’m typically pretty dismissive of such lengthy titles, but at least this one is informative. The meeting of minds here is a wonderful combo.
Calvin and Co’s pop sensibilities hook up with the filthy, sloppy blues grooves of Spencer and his buddies in what must have been some action-packed recording sessions.
It sounds like we stepped in near the end of a pretty wild, yet laid-back party, where some close and talented friends are taking the piss out of their shared acquaintances. There are loads of in-jokes and adaptations of well-known lyrics. Johnson’s vocals are hilarious and seemingly effortless. The band get a series of funny intros.
Fudgy the Whale is 10 mins of lazy beats and all of the above elements:
I’ve been listening to this while chilling at a Thai resort occupied by a British version of the cast of Cocoon. I’ve kept this album inside my headphones lest I cause a spate of broken hips as my fellow guests find the grooves irresistable. It’s their loss.
File under: This soul is how I roll
I’ve been silent for the past couple of days as I transitioned from the hurley burley of Bangkok to the ludicrously laid-back vibe of the island of Koh Samui.
The soundtrack of this neck of the woods seems to be ocean waves, motor scooters, jetskis, Bob Marley and (inevitably?) Jack Johnson.
This bass-heavy work from Calvin Johnson alas does not get much airtime. It is a little more layered and funky than necessary for these environs. I suspect it would have worked much better in the visual smorgasboard and mash up of the nation’s capital.
The approach on this album is rare (at least for my collection). Guitars are set up almost in opposition to basslines, with the latter given much more ammunition. Johnson then piles on some pretty much spoken word vocals. It is a little like Beck’s early work, but with none of the folk pretences.
Sometimes this patchworking comes together brilliantly. The title track here (with some saucy female vocals) is a treat. Most of the tracks are very listenable and not too jarring. Occasionally the din outweighs the groove.
I suspect this album was loads of fun to make, and that it would work better live.
File under: Not hammock music…