Anyone who knows me knows I love minimalism in music, instrument(s) and voice(s), but there have been few instances of this done so well as Hurray for the Riff Raff does on its albums. It sounds like someone has reset the needle several times to get the chords just right, while listening to the Beatles in their solo years—wonderful stuff—and come out the other side with a signature sound. Alynda Lee Segarra has found her home in New Orleans with Yosi Pearlstein, Casey McAllister, Sam Doores, Dan Cutler, and David Jamison. This is Hurray for the Riff Raff.
A lot of what was punk back in 1977—The Clash even—was just good old rock and roll, full of the joy of drums, guitar, and vocals alive in the moment. And some of New Wave and the in-between groups were just that as well, fresh rock and roll, and part of that long tradition, delivered in an era that had strayed from rock roots into whole sides of LPs about princesses and unicorns. Blondie, The Romantics, The Cars, and The Chesterfield Kings are the kinds of bands that rejoiced in good old rock and roll in three-minute blurts, glorious YAWPS!
Solid Gravy!, MFC Chicken’s second album, continues the odd but compelling amalgam of great old-style rock and roll with chicken-themed songs that they started with 2012’s Music For Chicken. Solid Gravy! is definitely old school rock and roll with only “Dirty Little Bitch” and “Well Now” escaping the orbit of the three minute mark so that songs like “Voodoo Chicken” jump into the room, whirl around wildly with sax in front, and jump back out again at the 1:45 mark, leaving listeners gap-mouthed and staring. In a good way.
There’s retro and then there is retro!, as in Speak-Easy retro. Meschiya Lake And The Little Big Horns are of the latter variety and they sound amazing. And it really is a prohibition-era sound, hollow-body guitar and horns, chrome microphone and all. Get out the bathtub gin and broad brim hats and enjoy yourself, war’s over.