BBQ Nation - Metro Detroit, Michigan

Taking The Risk To Find New Sounds

CHICAGO - Some people get their kicks out of climbing mountains and riding the wild surf. Some get a thrill falling head first out of an airplane or balancing on a jagged cliff trying to reach a mountain peak. I am not one of those people. The truth is that if I had to do any one of those things I would most likely pull my own hair out. I get a thrill out of going to Reckless Records in Chicago and go dumpster diving in the dollar bin. This is a silly game we came up with years ago where everybody coughs up five bucks to go digging through the dollar CD bin. We pick out five CDs without even listening to what kind of music it is. Sure, we get some lemons but every now and then we get a couple of gems too.

The whole point of doing this is to take a risk and maybe even make a new favorite. Every used CD shop has a bin of stuff they are trying to get rid of. You don't want to spend a whole lot of money doing this because let's face it -- you are going to get some terrible ones in there. That is part of the game and it is for the most part unavoidable. But if you have the tenacity and the chutzpah to stick it out then you are in for a real treat. That is how I found the following bands. I am going to introduce them to you so you can get a better feel of what they are about.

If we hadn't been so aggressive there was very little chance that we would have been exposed to these bands. They get absolutely no airplay and you might find a few of them that have a small following. But for the most part, we are treading into no man's land.

Here are my picks.....

Here is an artist that is not afraid to shoot straight for the absurd. I am going to get artistic here and give you my take on this guy from the gut. I won't even do you the honor of doing my homework on the web. This is just first impressions. I know that he hails from Canada and has gotten his name for his bizarre appearance. The people who knew him called him Spookey because of his long hair. The cover of his album, "Methods of Transportation" is flat out bizarre. He has a picture of himself superimposed over a screenshot from the made for TV movie, "The Boy In The Plastic Bubble" with John Travolta. Okay, I gotta admit I am curious. The back of the CD shows a picture of the artist trying to jump over six shopping carts and doing a faceplant on the parking lot. I think we have a winner over here.

Playing these guys music is something else. He has all the pop signatures of many different bands and genres. Spookey Ruben is kind of a musical encyclopedia. I hear bits of XTC, world beat, techno and flat out weird sounds that really shouldn't work but do. This music must be experienced but it will not win you any points in the bedroom. I think it is best played alone by yourself but you will be tempted to crank it up loud. It is an experience. The album gives us, "These Days Are Old" and Spookey goes into a strange acapella that dances on your raw nerve endings. It is cringy but somehow he crafts his warblings into a song of endearment. The sucker punch is, "Wendy McDonald" where he sings about the dangers of fast food and what is doing to the planet.

I also picked up the LIVE IN JAPAN CD !! Do you know what I have to say about that? When in doubt do what Cheap Trick and Queen did and go kick off your tour in Japan. Don't do it for the music, do it for the hype and bragging rights. This way when you come back to the United States it sounds like you did something big. The new audience will find it impressive and you can kick start your rock and roll career. Okay, enough of me yammering roll the tunes.

** I have no idea what all this Superpoke business is all about but I do like the visuals. We got Shirley Partridge in a form fit circus ringmaster outfit and black top hat showing off her legs. That works for me. I also like the cheesy footage of Peter Murphy from Bauhaus in this rock video. I think I got all that right because this thing doesn't come with operating instructions. I am just going to go with it.








We found the Candy Butchers on sale in the dollar bin. The powers that be found this album to be unworthy to be near the Cramps, The Cure and other new wave hairdo bands. Some alternative elitist stripped away from your rights as a consumer to seek out the unknown and the fantastic. "The Candy Butchers: Live at La Bonbonniere" is nothing short of a classic. We fished it out and give it whirl and this CD is very clever and consists of two guys -- Mike Viola on vocals and he writes all the songs and has an incredible vocal range. Come on its only a buck what could go possibly wrong? This little gem is recorded live in New York at La Bonbonniere. Wouldn't you know it that I actually walked right by this place when I lived out on the East Coast. I couldn't find it again if I tried but I remember seeing the sign one sunny day. It is a diner and this CD was recorded there live. In fact, you can even hear the deep fryer in between songs and some chattering of a Mexican waitress.

Mike Viola ended up writing music with Fountains of Wayne's Andy Schlesinger , (who recently passed away to Covid 19). Viola sings back up on the title track to, "That Thing You Do" a song that basically summarizes 1960's pop. The themes of these songs go from love to desperation of love and to extreme devotion. He sings about taking someone's bones and building a windchime that sings on to Heaven. Viola knows that two people cannot be closer than a victim and a killers knife. Whew... some heavy stuff here. And if you break his heart he will haunt you til you die. GREAT STUFF MAN... And this is only a buck !! You can find this on Amazon for $4 and it is worth picking up. Since I found this band they have been featured on Conan and the Tonight Show.












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