Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not New Music Tuesday

Bongwater - Double Bummer

Shimmy Disc

Thought I would go with a topical selection this week. Now I don't know if I would really call this a controversy but Bongwater leading lady Ann Magnuson's fan page (maintained and frequently updated by Manuson) was recently kicked off of Facebook for a pretty stupid reason. You might think that it was because of some sort of radical leftist agenda she was pushing but instead it was because of the picture below. A nudity free mock up album cover, obvious spoof of the Roxy album, that had never been released and she was sharing with her fans. Of course her few but dedicated followers made an uproar and shortly there after her account was re-activated. I know this may seem ridiculous because it is Facebook and who gives a shit but it makes you wonder what role censorship will play in social networking's future.

But what about the music Frank? This here is the first album (this release is also packaged with the debut EP) from the duo of actress Ann Magnuson and Shimmy Records founder Mark Kramer. Over their brief lifespan and catalog, Bongwater have become known, at least to me anyways, as the masters of commercially viable avant-garde pop. The music is great, weird and catchy but the real star here is Magnuson and her Tracey Ullman raised by The Residents performance style.

This is definitely an experience for the adventurous listener. Bongwater know how to make a beautiful pop song, you just have to take a little avant-garde side trip to get to them. Where this could be a tedious exercise in the hands of less radical minds, Bongwater maintain a balance between the political and the trashy, the abstract and confrontational, the beautiful and the fucking weird. The music is out there and jumps from one style or spoken word piece to another with a rewarding spontaneity which rarely transcends similar artist's (Ween, Miranda July) intentions. That is not to say that this is a messy, drug fueled pop art experiment. It may be out there, but the music is totally accessible to those not in the college rock know. Great place to start or a great one to revisit. Also features some surprisingly heartfelt covers of The Monkees, Roky Erickson and the Moody Blues.

Oh yeah and their name is Bongwater and it is 4/20 get it?

shoobie doobie doo


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