Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hits: Shorthand Phonetics/Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5

September 2, 2011

Shorthand Phonetics‘ newest garage rock opus is out, and I do mean that literally, as it is titled “Cantata no. 6 (Assistants of Assistants) in Varying Keys, Op. 25 for Three Electric Guitars, One Bass Guitar, One Drum Kit, One Tenor and Additional Voices Where Appropriate.” I would give a full review, but I am credited with two lyric contributions (“Dirk Nowitzki vs. The Heat,” “The Bachelor Party, or Standing Next To”) and one musical contribution (“Overture”). I’ll just say this: it’s no-holds-barred lo-fi garage-rock that is some of Ababil Ashari’s best work yet. If you like restraint or subtlety, however, you might apply elsewhere.

Some sounds are divisive, whether intentionally or not. If you’re into Nick Cave, Grinderman, The Raveonettes, Tom Waits or anyone else of the “life’s underbelly is gorgeous” ilk, you’re going to be super-down with Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5‘s Delirium Tremendous. Their lucidly-named album is a rollicking, swinging tour de force through inviting, burlesque-style darkness. It’s like the seedy New Orleans you see in movies. Special shout-out to the tone-setting stomper “I Found Love on the Highway” (opening lyric: “Well, there’s murder and cheap can beer all along the highway”) and the cover of the Kinks’ “Alcohol.” It does start to run together toward the end of the hour-long length, but you will definitely be in a different mental place by the time you get there. I would wager they think that’s success.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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