I just listened to the new official-bootleg-mixtape-thingy, The Boss Harmony Sessions by The Slackers, and thought I’d share a few thoughts on it.
First off, I immediately noticed the distinct production style the group pioneered in their last studio record, Peculiar. If you recall, on Peculiar, some of the band was recorded live while the rest was filled in at Version City. I’m not sure if it was the same exact device being implemented this time, but the effect was the same- rolling, energetic ska that you’d expect from a Slackers live show. However, unlike the last record, this disc had the presentation of a flea-market style mixtape.
Boss Harmony, an LA DJ that specializes in Jamaican sounds, hosts the tracks within, by creating soundscape segues and bong-chocked soliloquies.
A lot of these songs were intended to be released as singles, Vic and Dave both expressed to me their belief that the album was dead, at least for now. Perhaps that’s the reason behind this underground presentation. I, for one, am glad these tracks made it to official release status. This album is the first Slackers major release, since The Question, that didn’t seem inspired by tragedy in the least.
Here’s how the tracks break down:
Robots – I think that this song was greatly inspired by The Slackers time with the Phenomenauts. The dystopia is all Vic, but the style is somehow Mothersbaugh.Feed My Girl Ska – A classic Slackers tune from The Question, played in the style in which they preform it nowadays.
Funk Week – Title says it all- a whole weeks worth of funk packed into one 3 min instrumental track.
Mamma Told Me Not to Come – Everyone knows the Three Dog Night version of this, but did you know Randy Newman wrote it? These sarcastic lyrics find a great fit with Vic’s voice in this noticeably non-ska cover.
Mind You’re Own Business – I dare you go see any St. Louis blues band on any given night and NOT hear them play Mind You’re Own Business. I can’t speak for other cities, but it is a major standard in my neck of the woods. Here, the Slackers put a little skank to the natural swing of the song, with slightly unique lyrics.
El Gato – An Upsetters-esq track that comes close to being the second instrumental song on the record. Has anyone every collected all The Slackers tunes that feature animal sounds? It would be a mighty playlist.
Ska Boheme – This track reminds me so much of the instrumentals on Redlight. It’s classic, straight forward, Slacker style ska.
Wanted Man – The perfect follow up to Wanted Dead or Alive: both are covers about the trials and tribulations of a wandering man. Throw in the outlaw attitude Ruggiero exudes and the Wanted connection becomes even stronger.
Yer Still Blue – The Slackers are grabbing the Boogie-Woogie and running with it on this shuffle beat nod to yesteryear.
Minha Menina – When I first heard Os Mutantes, I had a secret wish that modern bands would revive the Tropicallia movement more often. Aside from one song from Beck and a couple from Belle and Sebastian (youtube music link), no one’s been up to the task. I would never have guessed that my favorite band would be among the first to branch out, and experiment with Brazilian psychedelia …and with the sitar… damn.
Little Joe – I featured this song, along with my interview with Dave, last year. It’s a sweet little lullaby song, with a killer dream-like organ solo.
Body Double – I’m at a bit of a loss for words, when it comes to this song. It’s funky rocksteady for sure, but the lyrics baffle me. I’d like to hear any interpretations anyone has out there.
All in all, I’d recommend this album to any Slackers fan or to anyone that needs to turn up the energy at a house party or dance contest.
Go buy a copy at a Slackers show, or go to :
Interpunk.com where they should go on sale this week.
Sep 26 2007