Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog: Party Intellectuals

This is the most descriptive image I could find. Imagine that guitar "skronking".

Another review’s gone live over at ZME. This time: Waitsian co-conspirator Marc Ribot, and his new band (as of last year) Ceramic Dog.

Hello, yes? I know. I understand exactly why you bought the Kings of Leon’s last record. Honestly, I do – I bought it too, after all. And, yes, it’s a fine record, where the band finally jumped to the left-hand side of the pop/rock divide, which they’ve been aiming for since forever. And they packaged that with a few good sing-a-longs, and two massive radio hits that may drive me to murder children if I hear them much more. That’s also the reason I haven’t listened to the album much since November: it all feels like a clinical, calculated, cynical attempt at completely dominating radio playlists and music television, right down to the oh-so-sincere look of artistic anguish on poor Caleb Followill’s face at the end of the Use Somebody video. If the Kings of Leon were members of some evil, megalomaniacal brainwashing cult, you can bet we would be too by now.

I bring this up because if there was ever a rock record to hold in direct contrast with the Kings’ desperate grab for radio ubiquity, it’s Party Intellectuals. And it’s not even that it’s sitting off to the side, quietly doing its own thing, oblivious to the whims and sounds and needs of rock radio: it seems to have been created specifically to avoid any kind of airplay. It could be classified in any number of unhelpful ways: digital noise-rock; avant-garde pop-rock; willfully difficult jazz rock; bloody insane. If Chris Cornell thought singing some poxy unused Timberlake b-sides was inventive and challenging, his ears would implode into a thousand tiny pieces, leaking blood and brain gloop down all over his stupid designer Varvatos jeans, after hearing a mere ten demented minutes of Party Intellectuals.

I think I might the crapping on Cornell a constant in my work – it’ll be fun to see how imaginatively I can work it in. Anyway: read. You’ll probably hate them.


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