Monday, October 6, 2008

Watt takes the day!

It' s only fitting that on a day in which I received several mp3's of the Chastity Twins from the esteemed Mr. Row, my mail box should also contain a copy of the Mike Watt E.P. by the Widow Babies. This Long Beach group, who appear to be part of the very fertile and fucking interesting scene that has sprung up in and around L.A., have put out a thirteen minute concept record, starring Mr. Watt. It's a chronicle of his battles against a vampiric Abe Lincoln, who steals Watts hands, thus preventing him from sharing his music with his Pedro pals and anyone else who cares to listen. Of course, Watt prevails in the end.

And the Widow Babies' sound? Oh, yeah! Guitarist Danny Miller has an obvious D. Boon appreciation, and goes for that clean, jangled strum of Boon's, his attack strong and scattering. The rhythm section, comprised of drummer Tabor Allen and bassist Neal Marquez, does a fine job of moving the frenetic tunes along, stopping and starting, rolling and tumbling. Allen is particularly great, his style reminiscent of Hurley's later work with Vida. For all I know Allen could have taken lessons from Hurley. Whatever he's doing, it's working! Marquez lays back inside the tunes a bit more that Watt would, which is probably a good call on his part. No need to go get all ironical. Elise McCutchen's vocals are of the higher register "Punk Chick" type, sassy, I guess, but they work well within the context of the band's amped up sound. One might compare her style to Kathleen Hanna's, which makes sense, but I'd throw in Chris Thompson's name as well. Her lyrics are a lot more abstract and a lot less polemical than Hanna's, which suits me fine. But then again I was outed as a redneck on Saturday night, so feel free to ignore my opinion, as it clearly rests with the patriarchy.

All in all, the Mike Watt E.P. is a really exciting, fast paced blast of a record. I haven't felt this turned on by a Punk record since the first Skull Control e.p. blew my mind in 1999. It has energy and immediacy, but does not lack for musical ideas and creativity. The future is in damn good hands with the likes of the Widow Babies.


Pig State Recon said...

Crazy. I just listened to the cuts on their MySpace - dig the samba-punk rhythms of that drummer. This is something I definitely have to get my hands on. Is Watt's "bassface" mentioned anywhere in the lyrics? I always thought those airpuffing cheeks were the locus of Watt's musical power.

Mark Pino On Drums said...

Ha! Not that I've heard so far. Yeah, the drummer is KILLIN! What a cool band. I'm in awe.