Friday, January 13, 2006

Bestest of 2005: #9 Mahjongg- Raydoncong

A written description of this record is extremely annoying. Some art kids from Chicago make an afrobeat influenced post-hardcore electro dance kinda thing and reference Bishop Desmond Tutu whenever possible. And have you seen pictures of these guys? What a bunch of assholes (in sort of a good way). But this was another one of those records that we listened to all year long, and one that many of the bloggers and Pitchforkers chose to ignore on their year end lists. This is in fact an afrobeat record that sounds like it was produced by the Velvet Underground in 1983 with an 808 and a Casio.

At first, the songs sound purposefully difficult and hard to swallow. Songs like "Vaxination" seem to come at you sideways, with a discernible dance beat and singing of some kind, but something is always a little off time... or so it seems. As you continue to listen, you start to realize how truly catchy, and dare we say poppy, many of these tracks are. "The Stubborn Horse" is easily one of the best tracks to be released by anyone anywhere this year, with jangly guitars and a "do do do" chorus that will remind you of VU's " Some Kind of Love" and Beck's Odelay at the same time... in a good way. Elsewhere, "The Rabbit" starts off sounding like a joke but ends up forcing you to shake your ass, or at least to think about it, with fake bongos and Romancing the Stone style Latin synth rhythms in your face. Other tracks on the record take on a sound collage structure, and often end up sounding like a much less harsh version of some of the stuff that Liars did on their last album. You will also here some Swell Maps and by extension, early Pavement coasting in the background throughout, although the singing on this record is much cleaner than anything those bands put out.

A great dance pop record with enough experimentation to keep it interesting, and a band that obviously knows their place in the post-punk timeline. We hear these guys have some major label offers in the works, so lets hope we hear more of what they can do this year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, this is mahjongg, fuck a major label! thanks.

2:03 AM  

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