Electric Six

They Covered "Radio Ga Ga," You Understand
*special introductory paragraph!
*The Ballade Of MC Sucka DJ 7" (as "The Wildbunch")
*Rock Empire (as "The Wildbunch")
*Danger! High Voltage 7" (as "The Wildbunch")
*Senor Smoke
*I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master
*Sexy Trash: The Rarities, Demos And Misfires of Electric Six (1996-2007)
*Heartbeats and Brainwaves

Detroit has given birth to many legendary bombastic rock artists (ex. Bjork, Bob Seger, The Stooges, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, The MC5, Ted Nugent, Brownsville Station), so it's only fitting that the foremost modern parodists of r'n'r excess hail from this very same Tire Capital of the World. Electric Six combines melodramatic guitar riffs, early '80s synths, disco beats, hilarious lyrics and ironically bombastic vocals to parody the age-old myth of 'ROCK' (and 'DANCE') as all-powerful aphrodisiac, healing source and reason for living. Led by the pseudonymous "Dick Valentine," the band (which began life as 'The Wildbunch') has chewed up and crapped out billions of members in its short lifespan, including but not limited to: The Rock and Roll Indian; Dr. Diet Mountain Dew, Johnny Vegas; Disco; M.; Macro Duplicato; Mojo Frezzato; Frank Lloyd Bonaventure; and Dr. Blacklips Hoffman. The current line-up supposedly features guitarists Johnny Nas$hinal and The Colonel, bassist John R. Dequindre, keyboardist Tait Nucleus and drummer Percussion World, but don't be surprised if Dick replaces all of them by the time you finish this paragraph. Bottom line: like similarly-themed artists The Darkness and Andrew WK, Electric Six is a big joke, but a really funny one if you have the right sense of humor. Quite catchy too!

The Ballade Of MC Sucka DJ 7" (as 'The Wildbunch') - Flying Bomb 1997
Rating = 8

Hey, I'm (some guy's name) and Prindle's not feeling well so I told him I'd review this early single by Electric Six back when they were called "The Wildbunch."

The single features three short songs that total about 5:15 of playing time. "5:15" is a track from The Who's Quadrophenia, one of the greatest albums ever recorded, a true piece of art where every song is indispensable and kicks ass. Especially the ones that sound like show tunes. Show tunes kick ass. I'm constantly seeing musicals like "Rent" and "Evita" and banging my head and shaking my fist around in the air because if you're looking for real artistic rock and roll, look no farther than your local Variety Playhouse -- that's where the true ROCK comes out. I have an upside-down cross tattoed on my left knuckles, "Andrew Lloyd" on my right knuckles, and "Webber" on each of my kidneys.

Moreover, OOF

Hey, I'm (some girl's name) and I'm going to review this single. The band members are so cute OMG. And one of the songs is called "Take Off Your Clothes" OMG. For some reason they don't review this record on AMG OMG OOF

Hey, I'm much-loathed interview record reviewer Mark Prindle, maligned and spat-upon Internet personality who has never done anything but try to love you, the people of the world. This record is lo-fi, with scraggly instrumental tones and cheap recording, but the parodic stylism sentiments are already Electric Six-tastic! Even this early in their career, Whatsisname and company played music that was exuberantly melodramatic, energetic, over-the-top, fun, funny and catchy. The grungy four-chord title track is a slight departure from the norm in that the vocals are sung in a fey faux-British accent (rather than the usual manly bare-chested rock god voice), but otherwise it's as if somebody shoved Fire into a "Make This Sound Like A Demo" machine and pushed wholesale to bustin'! Feel the wrath of their bedroom-recording bombast!!!

Interestingly, the least compelling track on here ("Nuclear War") is the only one they actually put on Fire. But you know taste -- can't live with it, can't live without air!

Lyrical pursuits include:

"What a love this is/You gotta love what a love this is/Did I say you could look at me?/Quit looking at me!"


"We do what we do/We won't not do it/Our will is a wall/And you can't shoot through it!"

I'm depressed.

Either that or tired. I can't really tell the difference.

Also I'm either thirsty or a podiatrist.

I know what you're saying: "Hay Mark, just bite the bullet and buy a dictionary." But that's no way to live, learning things.

Add your thoughts?

Rock Empire (as 'The Wildbunch') - Future Girls 1999
Rating = 7

Look, I'm not a music historian. I'm not even a music critic. I am simply an everyday ordinary author of top-selling Star Trek slash fiction. But in those rare moments when I'm not daydreaming about Scotty rubbing his sloshy ballsac up and down Captain Kirk's shiny sperm-covered face, I like to listen to music. This is where Rock Empire comes in. Far from a detailed description of Mr. Spock's pointy dickhead erupting into a blast of Vulcan Nerve Squirt between Sulu's rice-speckled ass cheeks, Rock Empire is music.

Say, have you ever heard Electric Six's Fire? If not, scroll down, read my description of it and then come back here.

Say, have you ever read my description of Electric Six's Fire? No? Great! Well, just as Fire is a super-processed studio fuzz guitar disco/hard rock hybrid of bombast and glory sullied by too many cliche'd riffs, Rock Empire is a raw indie-sounding fuzz guitar hard rock record of attempted bombast and gentleness stained by too many generic (or ugly) guitar lines. But they do have four important things in common: the songs "Gay Bar," "Getting Into The Jam," "Synthesizer" and "Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)."

Before they became Electric Six (apparently some other band was also called "The Wildbunch"), this band self-released or issued through small labels a few different CDs all comprised more or less of the same set of songs. This is one of those discs. Presumably most of these songs are now considered ancient history (or do they play them in concert? Tell me!), but a few of them are as deliriously fun and rockin' as anything they've ever done! If you have one of those "Steal Music Off The Internet" programs, try to hunt down the garage rocky "Remote Control (Me)," hooky fuzzy "Don't Be Afraid Of The Robot," funny punky "R U Afraid Of The Devil?," and forboding yet silly intrigue epic "Honolulu." The rest of the album is a little disappointing musically, but those four have everything you want from Electric Six -- and MORE! Actually, not more.

IMPORTANT WARNING: The band had not yet adopted that idiosyncratic disco vibe that made Fire such a gas, so don't be looking here for foot action. This is straight-up loud chord rock - sometimes hooky, but more often pretty basic and/or uncompelling. In fact, without the four Fire songs, this low 7 release would only rate a low 6. And it's really only that high due to Dick Valentine's always entertaining vocals and lyrics.

Did somebody say "entertaining...lyrics"!?!?

If so, tell them to read silently, the pricks. I don't need people overhearing my award-deserving diction and writing it into movie scripts that sell for millions of dollars while I sit on a broken chair and eat used cheese for dinner every night.

Here are some funny lyrics from this album though:

"She says: 'The human population makes the perfect supply of food.'/You know, I tend to agree with you, baby"

"I am the witness/I am the horror/And I am the knife!/And I got this jacket/Yeah I got this really cool leather jacket, babe"

"Hey you!/I like you!/And there's something we can do/Let's roll around and make a baby!"

"I want to touch you/I want to feel you/I want to be inside of you/I want to do everything to you/But I can't 'cos I'm on acid"

"I am Detroit, you are LA/We drew a line in the sand/This is Detroit calling LA/I got a gun in my hand/It takes two to tango/We're partners in crime on the dance floor/Called America!"

Also, those with fancy ears might notice that neither of the two "Gay Bar" remixes are in fact remixes of "Gay Bar." So that's nice.

In conclusion, FUCK YOU.

No, that wasn't nice. In conclusion, GET FUCKED.





Some Chinese Guy Or Some Shit, I Don't Know
Joke City, State Of Laughter

Add your thoughts?

Danger! High Voltage 7" (as 'The Wildbunch') - Flying Bomb 2001
Rating = 3

I know it was their breakthrough hit and all, but I really don't like the song "Danger! High Voltage" at all. I find the music dull and the lyrics uninteresting. Or perhaps I'm just bitter that they created a hit from the line "There's a fire in the disco/There's a fire in the Taco Bell!" when I had no success at all with my 1988 lyric "They're wrecking the place to Hell/They're looting the Taco Bell!" But that's the price I pay for always being ahead of my time. Remember solar electricity? I had that idea years ago, but with fossil fuel.

The two b-sides are "Neurocameraman" (uptempo hard rock with an annoying 3-note recurring synth break they keep throwing in just to piss everybody off) and "She's Guatemalan" (purposely dumb macho rock song in which you can hear the guitarist's fingers squeaking up and down the strings every time he changes chords). Though both of these tracks are catchier than the title track, neither are Electric Six classics.

Lyrically, "Neurocameraman"'s pretty non-descript, but "She's Guatemalan" has a ton of great lines! Here are just a few!

"She’s my anger queen/She’s my little coffee bean"

"She’s Guatemalan/She got me holding up my embassy"

"You see I caught a love infection and considering the mission tonight/To Guatemala/I’ve gotta go now/I’ve gotta to roll my sexy fingers through her Guatemalan hair"

"Somebody get me a map of Guatemala/I gotta go now"

So if you're looking for a boring, unnecessary single, go grab yourself a copy!

Then if you're still looking for a boring, unnecessary single, try Mark Prindle's Shitty Online Dating Site Filled With Losers!!!! (www.markprindle'sshittyonlinedatingsitefilledwithlosers.ca.uk.com.org.gov.net.edu.bm)

Reader Comments

My friends and I go (unironically) dance at every novelty, 80s-90s hits night at the local GR bar and this song is on every goddamn time! I hear it exactly once a week. The dj plays it with the video on three different tv screens. It's awesome!

Add your thoughts?

Fire - Beggars XL 2003
Rating = 7

I'm a comedy man, so let's have some jokes:

Me: Hey hey, I'm the Monkees!
You: That's ridiculous. How could one person be The Monkees?
Me: I've got four members.

Me: What's your favorite sport?
You: Football, I guess.
Me: Seriously? I can hardly fit three toes in your wife!

Me: What's the name of that old Hall of Fame pitcher that won 15 straight games for the Indians in 1974? Something Perry, I think...
You: Gaylord?
Me: Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were praying.

The band is Electric Six. The album is Fire. The song titles include "Dance Commander," "Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)," "Danger! High Voltage," "She's White," "I Invented The Night" and "Gay Bar." The music involves big dopey obvious hard rock chords accompanied by swirling synth blurbies, pulsating basswork, and a mixture of 4/4 backbeat and 4-on-the-floor disco beats. The vocalist sings like a badly affected ROCK GOD MAN, pronouncing "fire" as "fi-yah," "so" as "sew-oo," and "voltage" as "vo-ul-tidge." The high point is the lyrics (examples follow); the low point is the music, which is very repetitive and not complex at all -- apparently penned under the assumption that AC/DC songs are easy to write. They're not. Three tough distorted chords do not necessarily equal a memorable hook. Fortunately, the Six do pull it off a few times (if your fist isn't pumping throughout "Dance Commander," "Naked Pictures" and the note-riffer "Gay Bar," just give up and sell your whole arm on ebay because it's broken), and the unexpected forays into sexy funk and Carsy new wave provide welcome relief from the big dumb rock action.

Here then are some sample lyrics. If they make you smile, buy the CD. If not, don't even go in the record store because there's always the risk of it jumping into your bag on the way out. What you are expected to enjoy is the ridiculously over-bombastic use of cliche'd hard rock imagery, along with the occasional strange non-sequitor thrown in for the sake of rhyme:

"The lines are drawn, the orders are in/The dance commander's ready to sin/Radio message from HQ/Dance commander, we love you."

"Now I ain't educated but I sure ain't stupid/And I know what is wrong and I know what is right/Don't give me your religion or your U.S. government/I met my baby in the darkness of the night"

"I look in the mirror and I know I'm a man/I know she's a woman and she's looking for a man/We've got sex planned/Oh!"

"Now who elected you judge and jury/In the body of a beautiful girl?"

"And I want to reach into the fire of your heart/I want to program all those beats right from the start/Have you ever been to NEW YORK CITY?!"

"I make lots of money, I make more money than you/I drive around in my limo, that's what I was born to do"

"Electric Six is on time/Electric lovin' a sex crime/You're a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty girl/You can do a lot of things with that."

"I was born a prisoner in your dungeon of flesh, oh yeah/(yeah, yeah, yeah)/Solitary confinement underneath your dress, oh yeah/(yeah, yeah, yeah)"

"And I like the way she's lookin'/Yeah she's lookin' like a hundred dollars/And everybody's happy, happy tonight"

"You can laugh, you can cry/You can live you can die/Spend your days asking why/But you can't ignore my techno"

Now let's call it quits with some jokes:

Me: Hey hey, I'm the Monkees!
You: That's ridiculous. How could one person be The Monkees?
Me: Because I'm Davy JONESIN' to slip you a MICKEY Dolenz and ram my PETER Tork into your Michael"ASSHOLE" Nesmith!!!

Me: What's your favorite sport?
You: Softball, I guess.
Me: Yeah, your wife told me about your impotence last time I was powerfucking her.

Me: What was it that Bush claimed when he got re-elected? Something about the American people wanting him to continue on his political course?
You: 'I have a mandate'
Me: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were getting ready to go out.

Add your thoughts?

* Senor Smoke - Warner 2005*
Rating = 10

For my monkey, this is the Electric - wait, that totally reminded me of this awesome ferret I met at PetCo today. His name was Snowball, he was long fuzzy and white, and had a cute little tail it would wag back and forth. Ferrets are so long and skinny! Don't make any dick jokes about ferrets though; they're adorable! Snowball was a sweet little man who wanted only to walk on the ground but his Mommy (adopted) didn't want him to because one of the doggies in the store might have tried to eat him in that inimitable doggie way.

For my monkey, this is the finest introduction to Electric Six that this world has ever known. The melodies are delightfully memorable, the lyrics and vocals are an absolute scream, and - most excitingly of all - they've greatly expanded their musical palette, bolstering their high-energy blend of Cars new wave, sex disco and pompous hard rock with the addition of such delectable sound pastries as vomitous caucasian soul balladry, lo-fi keyboard prose, Strokesy uptempo guitar-note riffin', Talking Headsy synthesized World Beat, and a cover of "Radio Ga Ga"!!!! A goddamned cover of "Radio Ga Ga"!!!! Do you know "Radio Ga Ga"? It's the stupidest, most asininely overdramatic hit single Queen ever had! And it rules! "All we hear is 'Radio Ga Ga! Radio Ga Ga!' Radio, what's new? Someone still loves you!" (the fuck?)

Also, Dick replaced half the band after the first album.

Song titles include "Rock And Roll Evacuation," "Devil Nights," "Bite Me," "Dance Epidemic," "Dance-A-Thon 2005," "Be My Dark Angel" and "The Future Is In The Future." Riffs include AWESOME AC/DC-worthy chord sequences, impossibly hooky disco synthsations, and all those sordid assorted sorts of musics I mentioned a couple of paragraphs hence. (If 'hence' means 'previously)

I can't seem to find an online listing of this one's lyrics, but I wrote a few winners down for you because there are a TON of them:

"Mr. President, I don't like you/You don't know how to ROCK!"

"Are you ready for my FUCKING machine!?"

"Hey celebrity who drives off a bridge in a car/Your beautiful body filling up with water"

"You were walkkin' down the street/You were just across the street/So I had to cross the street/To get to your side of the street."

"If money talks, I'm a mime/If time is money, I'm out of time"

"She don't like it too hot/She don't like it too cold/ROOM TEMPERATURE!/ROOM TEMPERATURE!

Jesus Ass Fucking Christ, I absolutely love this album. I'm listening to it right now and the only song that I don't absolutely adore to bits is a mediocre midtempo bore called "Boy Or Girl?" Every other song is so damned funny, catchy, and stupid! If this whole stoned-face tongue-in-cheek bombastic disco/hard rock hybrid sounds at all appealing to you, you MUST buy this CD and love every second of it. The guitars are loud, heavy and fuzzed-out; the synths are percolating, bubbling and fizzing; and the singer is pronouncing 'devil' as 'de-VILLE'. A must-orn. Come on, they fuckin' covered "Radio Ga Ga"!!!!

Also, the word 'Senor' actually has a '~' over the 'n,' but I don't think you can do that in HTML.

Because HTML is racist.

In fact, 'HTML' stands for 'Hate Those Mexican Latinos.'

And don't even get me STARTED about Fortran!!!!

(hint: it's 'For Trannies')

Actually that was less of a 'hint' than a 'complete explanation.'

(hint: my penis)

Reader Comments

Hey Mark, love the reviews. I don't agree with all of them, but WTH, if we all agreed on all music it would be the end of life as we know it, or very dull, or even worse - bands would know what we liked and what the muppets bought, and they would just write the same shit time after time, perfected from some bizarrely screwed up formula just to maximise sales. Imagine that :-O


Electric 6 kind of remind me of "The Darkness" but with a few very notable differences.

When I first heard E6 I knew it was good stuff, and that they were cranking out some good tunes and not taking themselves too seriously. In fact, to the point where you know you love this band from the first song you hear.

When I first heard "The Darkness" I wasn't sure whether they were trying to be Spinal Tap (and I'm not alone there - most people wonder if they are for real or just crap) or they actually believed they had an ounce of talent amongst the fucking lot of them. I'll answer the 2nd point myself by saying I don't think they have an ounce of talent between the fucking lot of them, and they take themselves seriously - a disaster if ever I saw one, especially when they're that shit to start with.

They even did an Xmas song that was worse than the teeth-grinding, grimace inducing, hackle raising wank they had released before that.... What (alleged) rock band does an Xmas single - !!

Anyway enough of those assholes, Senor Smoke is a veritable masterpiece. I defy anyone with a musical bone in their body to not sing along with this album in their car on the way to work or whatever once they've heard it through once or twice. And if you don't, then go back to Celine Dion cus that's probably what you deserve. Just be thankful that it could be even worse, like listening to The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love (ADVISORY: Please clench your jaw first in case your fillings start shaking loose and a rabid dog in the distance starts giving birth to the anti-christ).

Hmmm, I mentioned the "D" word again didn't I ? Oops, I apologise....

PS: Beware of Monty - he might be an impostor !!

In response to jip's remark: "What (alleged) rock band does an Xmas single - !!" I have to mention Slade. Sure they were a campy rock band but nowhere near as campy as The Darkness nor Electric six.

also, i have to say I disagree with Mark about Danger High Voltage...I think it's by far the best thing this band ever did...fun, danceable and with loud fuzz guitars and an obvious but somehow yet unused hook...It's sad that only six years later this band was so washed up they played at my uni's leaving ball. But then, with songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit...er, Dance Commander, it's not hard to see why.

Add your thoughts?

Switzerland - Metropolis 2006
Rating = 8

You know what pisses me off? I was an English major, yet I don't know any big words at all. Check out my review of Alice Donut's Fuzz - specifically the opening section wherein I attempt to use the language of an pretentious record critic to compare GG Allin to Miles Davis - then compare it to the very first reader comment underneath the review. That PISSES ME OFF that Acapulco Gold can toss out fifty-cent words like they're going of fashion, and I'm sitting here with my English Diploma using the word 'vagina' fifty times in a row. Is there some product you can buy and stick in your ear for instant better vocabulary? Because mine sucks dick up a rope coated in shit.

The Ilictrec Sex is a viable band, not a mere joke. Certainly irony and wit play a major role in their proceedings, but they would have been wed in the daughter (dead in the water) after one album if not for Dick Valentine's love of a catchy, scruffy guitar line and talent for writing a singalongable vocal hook. I might argue that while they started off their career as a hilariously overblown but inconsistent disco/rock gag like Andrew W.K. or The Darkness, they have grown into something more along the lines of the late-period Urge Overkill. In other words, the chord sequences sound not like bombastic jokes but actual '70s radio hits (Foreigner, Journey, Boston). This is good news for people like me who can still enjoy the living daytimes out of stuff like "Head Games" and "Any Way You Want It" even with the knowledge that they are mere relics of an earlier, more self-serious time.

Actually, let me slow down to address something. A friend was chat-chitting with me the other day about '70s music, and how that kind of music simply can't be made anymore because our modern youth generation is too jaded and 'raised on irony' to create serious dramatic radio rock without tongue-in-cheek. That's not exactly what he said; he was actually talking about some specific vanity recordings he was playing for me. But I'm taking his sentiments and applying them to this situation: if a band came out NOW in 2006 playing riffs like the ones on Switzerland and singing with the ridiculous swaggering affect of Dick Valentine and didn't include hip, self-aware humor in the lyrics, they would be laughed all the way to the banks of the Mississip. We are not a generation that can take 'ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!' as seriously as our predecessors. Not that I'm part of the youth generation (I'm an old bag), but you know what I mean. The knowledge that yesterday's classic rock is today's gigantic joke gives me great hope that some day everybody will find the humorless angst of Tool, Linkin Park and other sad boy bands as hilarious as I find them right now. "CRAAAAAWLING OUT MY SKIIIIIIN! THESE WOUUUNDS WILL NEEEEVER HEEEAL!!!"

Okay, let's stop addressing something and get back to the new Electric Six album. It stylistically resembles Senor Smoke quite a bit, but is a good washload of fun on its own merits. It definitely sounds like Dick has lost all interest in the 'disco dancey' aspect of the band, with the sole synth-driven funky club tracks ("Slices Of You," "Rubber Rocket" and "Infected Girls") notably also being the only three pieces of music he did not write. Luckily, his knack for guitar riffage and vocal melodicizin' hasn't deteriorated a bit. Furthermore, although this is probably their least energetic CD to date, the guitars are as loud and fuzzy as always, there are still plenty of Carsy synthesizer solos, and the band even branches out a couple of time, pairing its nighttime driving FM radio obsession with the genres of suave minor-key lounge exotica ("The Band In Hell") and western cowpunk ("Pink Flamingos").

But I know you. You're in it for the lyrics. You want to know what sorts of things Dick sings in "I Buy The Drugs," "Mr. Woman," "I Wish This Song Was Louder" and "There's Something Very Wrong With Us So Let's Go Out Tonight." Okay, you. Here are some lyrics:

"You don't know me but I'm your brother/I was raised here in this living Hell/You don't know my kind in your world/Fairly soon the time will tell/Ahh you, telling me the things you're gonna do for me/I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see/Takin' it to the streets"

In addition, here are some lyrics from Switzerland, an Electric Six album dedicated to Swiss tennis star Roger Federer:

"If you ever find yourself in need you can/Submit your request in writing/And this is what you do/Send it in a self-addressed stamped envelope to/P.O. Box 900, Los Angeles, California 90212/And I will fill your prescription with some degree of accuracy"

"And one and one and one and one and one I'm pretty sure adds up to five/Teenage alcoholics can be oh so entertaining when they drive!"

"I gave you my heart, I gave you my soul/Now I'm just another number at the Center for Disease Control"

"When the time comes to document what we did here/The transcription won't really be that hard/'Cause I'm a woman-eating monster/With a suitcase full of fire"

"Remember when you told me that you wanna ride the rubber rocket?/Remember when you told me that you want to/Plug my plug into your socket?"

"I'm late for dinner but look who's on the menu/'Cause when I'm in a hurry nothing tastes as good as you do/Whisper in my ear all your culinary wishes/Next thing you know, you're washing the dishes"

There are also, I've noticed, a few little phrases that pop up in multiple tracks. 'SHOOT TO KILL' and 'SHOOTS TO KILL' (both in caps like that) appear in "Mr. Woman" and "Germans In Mexico." 'I go bananas' and 'I went bananas' appear in "Rubber Rocket" and "Night Vision." The words 'jumpstart' and "kickstart' appear in "I Buy The Drugs" and "Night Vision." A series of dichotomies like 'White DJ in Detroit/Black MC in Tokyo' conceptually tie "There's Something Very Wrong With Us So Let's Go Out Tonight" to "Germans In Mexico." 'Policemen' characters appear prominently in "Pink Flamingos," "I Wish This Song Was Louder" and "There's Something Very Wrong With Us So Let's Go Out Tonight." Does this repetition mean anything? Or did Dick just write all the songs on the same day, and reuse a few phrases and concepts that happened to be floating around in his mind? Enquiring minds want to mow (my lawn).

I've now said everything I intend to say about the new Electric Six CD. Just let me add that Dick Valentine is funny-looking in the band photos. From his voice, I assumed that his persona was that of a gigantic rock god, but in the CD booklet he presents himself as a kinda dorky-looking suit and tie guy, with his fashion phases and his quarterly raises - feels he's better than you and ME! Suit and tie guy thinks he's so cute, in the bathroom for a toot - until his nose starts to BLEED!

That was my little tribute to Spike Cassidy of D.R.I., who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Fuck you, cancer!

I'm sorry if I blew your mind with my no-holds-barred verbal attack on cancer. I'm often quite outspoken about hot-button issues of the day. But if I turn up dead of cancer someday, you'll know who's responsible!!!!!


Reader Comments

Colin T.
it isn't the words but the ways you confuse them. don't worry. but i don't know about the electric six.

Yeah, that Acapulco guy did make you look kinda lame, didn't he. Admittedly it's coprophagia rather than "corpophagia" but it's always so easy to confuse the words for "body" and "shit" in 2 different languages none of which you know. *laughs for 10 minutes like underpaid linguistics students are wont to do*

Anyway, I find it really bizarre that someone would go to a university to study his own fucking language. Is that like a normal thing in English speaking countries? Because -I- learned to speak my language all on my own when I was like SIX or something. You must be like real fucking morons* over there in America!

Btw, I find that a remarkably easy way to dwindle the gap between the amounts of different words as used by you and somebody else less verbally challenged is by misspelling the words you write in different manners. Simple arithmetics tell us that a basic word root like "fuck" which contains 4 letters can thus produce 3 different words all by itself. Less simple arithmetics give even bigger numbers.

Or, alternatively, you could write the word "surreptitiously" on a card and look at it whenever you have free time.

*Note that the author was listening to KLF as he typed these words.

Add your thoughts?

I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master - Metropolis 2007
Rating = 8

I was having Electric Sex the other day when I suddenly realized, "Say, I bet you one dollar that Detroit's Electric Six have a new album out by now." Checking the Internet as I removed my vagina from the Dustbuster, I realized that such a thing was indeed the case.

George Grosz (July 26, 1893 - July 6, 1959) was a prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity group, known especially for his savagely caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s. On this, his fourth album, he continues to combine '70s Tuff Hard Rock with '80s synth-pop, drop in a disco beat every once in a while, and whip out the usual barrels full of DRAMA! and BOMBAST! Like babies, a few of the chord sequences are so obvious and cliche'd that they're impossible to love (the same problem I have with much of Fire), but most are perfect in their simple, slightly original catchiness. The instrumental tones are also interesting and varied, particularly in the synthesizer arena with Tait Nucleus slinging around his stupidest collection of Cars-esque brapp-tones yet. Have you heard that PIL song "Brapp Tones"? It's fucking classical music.

Basically the Electric Six has, for the third time in a row, managed to spread its overblown faux-serious approach across such a wide variety of styles and arrangements that it never feels like one-trick novelty music. A few examples: opener "It's Showtime!" features a playfully bouncy octave-jumping bass line and adorable clarinet solo, "Down At McDonnelzz" an anxious piano riff reminiscent of McCartney's 'Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five' coda, "Riding On The White Train" a cleaner and more emotional guitar presence, "When I Get To The Green Building" the warm feel of a love anthem, "Kukuxumushu" a gross soul-pop 'Raspberry Beret' feel, "Lucifer Airlines" New Romanticism, "Sexy Trash" a strange noisy blues cacophony and 5/4 rhythm, and album-ending epic "Dirty Looks" an assortment of orchestral keyboard washes, clean 'In The Mood' guitar chords, big tuff rock stupidity and sweet soulful saxophone sex. This slight stylistic branching is a crucial component of the band's formula for staying fresh year after year. In fact, the two songs most reminiscent of the original Fire! sound -- big dumb rockers "Rip It!" and "Lenny Kravitz" -- are also the most predictable and least inventive tracks on the record.

In many ways, "most predictable" and "least inventive" are synonyms, so it's great that I was able to use both to describe the same thing.

Say! Did somebody say 'lyrics'? I bet they did! If I know people, they sure did! Or at least one of them did.

"Hey mister! Put a little mustard on that mustard!"

"Did I make a mistake when I sang this song? Was my vox too sexy? Was my vox too strong?"

"Should I be anticipatin' love? Or will you slap me with your bitch's glove? Hey! Oooooooh!"

"If you live in a plastic house, you'll never die in a fire/If you work in television, you're a fucking liar!"

"There are policemen with more sympathy/and paupers with more money than me/And while those things they might be true/There are corpses with more personality than you"

"Ever since I met you, you were someone I knew"

"Britney Spears and David Beckham/Paris Hilton and Red Skelton"

"Show me your sexy trash/But don't go making moves that agitate my rash"

"There's a man dressed up like a flaming queen and he's helping San Francisco fall in love!"

There are also two seemingly anti-drug songs, as well as a great one about how celebrities are only rich and famous because poor nobodies celebrate them and give them all their money. So I'd like to personally thank everybody responsible for watching Angeline Jolie movies and buying Amy Winehouse CDs. Good work on that. In fact, here's a little joke I'm about to make up:

What's the difference between Angelina Jolie and Amy Winehouse?
One has a history with Billy Bob Thornton -- the other a history of on-the-job snortin'!

In case you didn't like that one, here's another punchline for the same joke:

What's the difference between Angelina Jolie and Amy Winehouse?
One will leave behind a rich legacy of timeless creative work -- no, I'm just kidding.

Or how about "One keeps adopting infants -- the other just married one"? Or "One is involved with Brad Pitt -- the other with some sad shit?" Or "One has lovely lady lumps -- the other just does bumps"? Oh, the permutations are endless, nameless!

That's my review. I'm sleepy. Here are a few interesting things:

One of my MySpace Friends ("Krista") is a synesthete, and I'm jealous. Here's a quote: "There are some words and numbers I absolutely despise, like the number seventeen. It's such an ugly color, and a terrible taste. Seventeen is basically light yellow with brown mixed in. It's disgusting. And I'm not sure if you know what I'm talking about, but seventeen tastes sort of like when you eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, and don't brush your teeth afterwards for a while. That weird aftertaste."

Fuckin' seventeen. Up your ass, the first line of The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There"!

Here's something else interesting: Adults shouldn't drive their neighbors' children to suicide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_meier). Hey, just my opinion.

Also, because interesting things are awesome, here's something hilarious that a friend pointed out to me: http://www.wfmu.org/LCD/andy/americanpie.html It's really old, but I had never seen it before. And now, like so many others before me, I am enamored with the term "dick autograph."

And on the topic of things a friend pointed out to me, try to see some episodes of Chris Morris' old fake TV newsmagazine Brass Eye if you can. It's hoot-larious!

Electric Six's schtick should honestly be as tiresome as Jack Nicholson's by now (ZING!), but somehow Dick "Autograph" Valentine and his ego-swollen members continue to churn out songs hooky and diverse enough to prop up the overblown balloon long past its expiration date, if I may combine several different metaphors at once.

Add your thoughts?

Sexy Trash: The Rarities, Demos and Misfires of Electric Six (1996-2007) - Electric Six 2008
Rating = 8

Today while jogging in Central Park, I saw a long hippy-haired freak carrying an acoustic guitar and wearing a shirt that said in gigantic text on the back, "FUCK ME JESUS." I couldn't believe it! That has to be the most blasphemous and offensive thing I've ever seen. Because you know he was just being a tease, and if Jesus Christ -- an openly gay homosexual -- really did return to Earth and try to fuck him in the ass, he'd be all like, "I wasn't serious, dude!" And don't even start with your "Jesus Isn't Gay" stuff because it's right there in the Bible: "Jesus Wept." And just WHAT substance do you think he "wept"!? And just WHAT body part did he "weep" this substance from? And just WHERE was this body part when it "wept" this substance? And just HOW much money was he paid to put his body part into this place and ease it back and forth until it "wept" this substance? Your naivete is cute to an extent but Christ, wake up!

On second thought, "Christ, DON'T wake up!" You'll probably just try to stick your dick in my mouth!

But my point is simply this: it's good to laugh and be merry. Everybody needs to laugh. You all heard about the guy who drove a plane into the World Trade Center because his newspaper stopped running Curtis. It's because he no longer had joy in his heart, or laughter in his soul. And believe me, I'm all too familiar with the sourpuss gloomy gusses who say "I don't listen to the Dead Milkmen because they're a JOKE band" or "I don't listen to Joan Baez because she's a NOVELTY artist" or "I don't listen to the Swans because they're a bunch of PROP comics, up there smashing watermelons with their 'Sledge-O-Matic.' These people are sticks-in-the-mud. Sure, music's a nice balm for the blues, but to treat music or any form of entertainment as something serious and sacred to be treated with sober respect at all times is missing the point of "entertainment." If you want to treat something seriously, go visit a hospital or orphanage -- or better yet, a third world country. People who are suffering and dying should be taken seriously; a Tool album should emphatically NOT.

And this explains my love for Detroit, NY's Electric Six. They understand that music, as a form of entertainment, is supposed to be entertaining. They don't fake emotional angst they don't really feel, nor do they have any pretenses about saving the world through the healing power of their rock and roll. Instead, they concentrate on entertaining themselves and, through osmosis, anybody who might hear their music.

And it's this attitude that enabled them to slap together "30 Unreleased Tracks of Varying Quality" and still come up with one of the most unquestionably smile-inducing releases of recent years. Where on Earth do lyrics like "I'm sleeping on paper towels" and "Girl, I'm gonna take you where the robots go" come from!? Or, for that matter, "I'm sending you an email of a telephone number - 867-5302"!? Or "And now I'm drinkin' motor oil just to get through the night"!? But enough about the lyrics.

There are some incredibly hooky unreleased tracks on here. But seriously, what kind of band records a lyric like "I don't want your body if you can't keep it clean/I don't want your money if your money isn't green/Fifty million megawatts of gasoline"!? Or "The future don't look like the one we got/I expected more lasers and killer robots"!? Or "Get me to my nearest Christian Science Reading Room tonight"!?

The disc should probably actually be called Sexy Trash: The Rarities, Demos And Misfires Of Electric Six (2004) since 19 of the 30 songs are from that year, but let's not quibble at a computer while sitting alone here in our living room. It runs for 75 1/2 minutes, is available only at Electric Six live shows, and includes:

- 8 unreleased songs so excellent that their non-inclusion on a studio CD is both shocking and wrong (brooding epic "Immolate Me," oddball splanker "I Know Karate," French pop "Baby Vs. Baby," intrigue-laden surf-spy "Telephone Conversation," sci-fi new waver "Living On The Sexy Planet," bombastic driving rocker "Another Song About The Devil," sad pretty piano tune "People Like You Don't Like People Like Me" and mellow rocker "Cold Future")
- 4 brief acoustic tracks, including the should've-been-hits "Stepsister" ("My mother and your father are in bed together/I feel like shooting out my eyes") and "I'm On A Diet" ("All you muthafuckin' playas gonna playa-hate/When you see me come around and I've dropped the weight/'Cuz there's a Jenny Craig open and it's open late/At 12 and Mound")
- 3 different unreleased songs whose lyrics were recycled for "Dance Pattern"
- 3 different unreleased songs whose lyrics were recycled for "Rubber Rocket"
- 3 demos of Senor Smoke tracks
- 3 demos of Switzerland tracks
- 2 demos of I Shall Exterminate tracks
- At least 2 songs clearly recorded before Dick finished writing the lyrics. Here, enjoy a moving stanza from "Future Police": "Da-da duh duh duh duh/Da-da buh duh duh buh/We were so in love and we were so in love/And we were so in love, we were so in love/We were so in love and we were so in love/We were so in love and we were so in love/And were so in love, we were so in love/That was the day my life started slipping away from me."
- 1 song pulled directly from the album Smog Cutter Love Story by Tyler Spencer's old band Dirty Shame
- 1 song so bad it's great: "Turn It Up!," a funkbomb failure seeingly sung by a 3-packs-a-day parrot. (Even Dick Valentine admits in the liner notes that this song "could have been a contender......a contender for bullshit.")
- 1 awful attempt to imitate the Pixies. "My Baby Is A Nuclear Winter" does indeed sound like the Pixies, but a really, really awful Pixies song
- 1 hint that I probably wouldn't be an Electric Six fan if they were a modern r'n'b act; Dick even sings "One More Time" like a modern soul singer

I realize it seems a bit off for me to award a higher grade to an outtakes collection than I did to the band's top-selling debut Fire!, but the thing is -- there are a few songs on Fire! that sound cliche' to me. There is nothing on here that sounds cliche'. Some of it sounds unfinished or silly or even downright terrible, but it is ALWAYS entertaining. In fact, the best summary I can give you about the disc's unique trashy charms is this brief anecdote:

About two minutes after I purchased Sexy Trash at Electric Six's recent Bowery Ballroom show, I ran into Tyler "Dick Spencer" Valentine, where I took part in the following exchange:

Me: (holding up CD): "Look what I just bought!"
He: "Alright!"
Me: "Is it good?"
He: "No, not at all!"

Add your thoughts?

Flashy - Metropolis 2008
Rating = 8

Flashy is a big loud distorted '70s hard rock record. It's not as diverse as their last couple of releases, but the music, lyrics and arrangements remain notch-topping. Listeners seeking sonic pleasures and aural delights will find oodles of fascinating instrumental tones in both the acoustic/electric/distorted/wah-wahed guitar category and the synth/piano/keyboard realm, as well as some delightful horns rearing their brassy heads in at least four of the 13 compositions. Of equal import, Dick Valentine's macho vocal style continues to impress -- with extra doses of falsetto thrown in for all the ladies out there.

Here's something notable: eleven of the new tracks are credited solely to Mr. Valentine, meaning that the rest of the band took the year off to jet ski in the Caribbean while he spent 22 hours a day writing songs in a dimly-lit basement filled with rats. "What if we ALL took the year off to jet ski in the Caribbean?" Mr. Valentine should ask them during the next band meeting. "Then there'd be no songs AT ALL!" Well, there'd be two (fun first single "Formula 409" and ghastly overlong tuff rocker "Graphic Designer"), but you can't release a CD with just two songs on it, that'd be ridiculous. Am I right, Jethro Tull? Who's with me, Yes?

Okay, the Yes one is actually a double-CD with four songs on it - can't a guy reduce to the lowest prime number anymore without everybody jumpin' all up his ass? I'm talking to YOU, fleas.

Flashy may not be genre-diverse, but within the loud guitar rock realm there's plenty of variety to be found. Note the funky synclavier boogie and mid-song rap of "Dirty Ball"; Exit The Dragony serious tone of "Lovers Beware"; dreamy high-pitched bendy notes of "Your Heat Is Rising"; '60s spy guitar chorus, Spanish guitar break and 'Louie Louie' keyboards of "Heavy Woman"; boogie-woogie piano and slide guitar of "Flashy Man"; emotional minor keys and harmony horns of "Watching Evil Empires Fall Apart"; big messy breakdown jam of "Graphic Designer"; irony-soaked seXXXXee nighttime mood of "Transatlantic Flight"; and gorgeously harmonious vocoder vocals of "Making Progress." Also note the other four songs, if the urge strikes.

Standout lyrics include:

"I met you on a Monday/It was Friday night/You were doing alright/'Cuz it was Saturday night"

"Put your dirty love in a ball/And bounce it off me!/Push me up against the dirty wall/And squeeze it out of me!"

"I didn't do anything last year/Except for dreaming of doing nothing this year"

"In the event of a water landing/You can use my body as a flotation device"

"He won't apologise 'cos he's not sorry/He's the X-Box to your Atari/Look out here comes the flash!"

"And you were silenced for a moment/By my Peter, Paul and Mary box set last night"

"She knows/Her designs on me are graphic/And she goes/Into work early to avoid traffic"

I love Electric Six. Every time they release a new album, I think, "Whoop-de-doo. It's the same old schtick yet another time." But then I give it a couple of listens and fall in love all over again!

Usually with my wife, but occasionally with Electric Six as well, though not in a "Gay Bar" way.

Here's something amusing. I drinked aplenty a few nights ago, got a headache, and woke up the next morning thinking, "Wow, I drank too much. But at least I restrained myself from posting any drunken MySpace bulletins!" Then I went online and discovered that I'd posted a drunken MySpace bulletin.


Subject Line: PAIN

Body: if you drink too much alcohol, it makes your head hurt. I drank too much tonight and OW OW OW OW OW OW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


As you can see, I'm awfully manly.

But you know what they say -- you can't spell 'Palin' without 'Pain'!

Also, look what the meanest people in the world are saying about my debut Fox News "Red Eye" appearance:

"i cant take this guys grins" - fashion trot

"he's way nerdier than i expected." - jewels santana

"that was a completely pointless interview" - ahungbunny

"goddamnit can i just fucking murder everyone involved or what" - manvstrees

"i wasn't prepared for that being his real voice" - endoskeleton

"Mark Prindle is legend but I didn't need to see and hear him." - Riverchrist

"do you think if there was footage of doestoyevski he would be this disappointing?" - rtt

"nothing like a hot bowl of fermented vomit served in the carcass of your favorite roadkill" - lmnopo

"I never much liked Prindle and now I know I was right" - Disturbed

"I like Mark's sense of humor and basically his website is gold, but this is pretty depressing. It's dangerous to presume what any of us would do in another's shoes, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't appear as a feature on Fox News if they bought me a house and a car for each segment. They don't print money big enough to get me to associate with shitbags like that. And now Mark Prindle, funny guy, good taste in music guy, he's one of them. 'Lie. Fucking ridiculous lie. Smear of decent person in revenge. Another lie designed to embarrass a whistleblower. Rightwing fanatic lie. Racist xenophobic blather. Bullshit made-up story credited to unnamed source... And now for funny music stories, here's Mark Prindle...' - Steve Albini

"The EVIL fucking dog shit that network is responsible for churning out every single day and you are just gonna go on and chuckle away with them? That's some fucked up shit right there. Real fucked up shit. If I see someone at the snack table of a NAMBLA meeting yucking it up with pedophiles, I will probably assume he does not hate what they stand for. To go on that station and laugh and joke with them is extremely nauseating. They are the fucking enemy of everything good and decent in this country. Those are literally the worst people on the planet." - Marsupialized

"This is dumber than John McCain picking Sarah Palin as his vice-president. Prindle isn't picking up any 'independent' readers in addition to alienating his 'base.' Additionally, if I actually managed to catch this segment and did not know anything about Mark Prindle before the TV spot, I would probably avoid his website. I would think, '[Insert name here] is talking about music on Fox News. What a boob!'" - Minotaur029

"Indeed, it's a bright sunny day in Dandelionland when Mark Prindle becomes a Television Star Sensation!" - Mark Prindle

Reader Comments

Hello Mark,

I was just reading your reviews of bands I couldn't really care less about because I enjoy your writing when I came upon the negative comments people have posted about your "FUX" News appearance (satirical change of spelling my own). What I think is awesomely hilarious about these people and their comments (besides the fact they're written in English, of all the dead languages) is that it hasn't seemed to have occurred to anybody that they are employing the same fallacious reasoning as those Fox pundits and other silly peoples that pronounce Obama guilty of being a race-hating terrorist by his associations with the likes of William Ayers or Rev. WRONG (hahaha). By thinking that an appearance on a network means you tacitly support everything that network stands for, you might as well assume that Flava Flav loves the 80's. Anyway, as long as you stand by your own thoughts and opinions and are never asked to alter them to continue making appearances (and why would they ask you to do this as you are making musical and not political commentary), I say kudos to you on your televisual success. That being said, you strike me as the bastard offspring of Mark Mothersbaugh and Emo Phillips and I would kindly ask you to stop invading my home with your presence when all I'm trying to do is learn about how I can justify my decision to not vote for Blacky Q. Socialistarab this election season.

As you might have guessed, that last bit was a jest and the possibility of seeing you on Fox is the only reason I've ever purposely tuned in to that channel in all my days. Also it's not your fault MSNBC wasn't on the ball and didn't snatch you up first.

i'm sorry for my comment and you have my respect. besides, you should hear my voice

Thanks for being the saving grace for intelligent Electric Six reviews. Every Pitchfork review past their first album starts with some sort of reference to Fire or "Gay Bar" within the first paragraph. I hate Pitchfork so much, their writing is so incredibly lazy.

Add your thoughts?

Kill - Metropolis 2009
Rating = 7

Somebody emailed me earlier today and pointed out that Yes still hasn't been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I sorta understand why (they're dorks) but as a big Yes fan, it saddens me. Then again, it usually seems like the Hall of Fame picks itsnominees by writing a bunch of band names on the wall and sending in a blindfolded drunken clown to throw darts around. Then again, it was founded by Jann Wenner, whose Rolling Stone magazine is largely responsible for so many once-great artists deteriorating into simplistic bullshit as they age. See, Rolling Stone can only justify its existence by pretending that rock is still an important cultural force; they can’t just be like “Well, everything sucks this month too. Sorry!” So every time one of their old rock saviors (U2, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, etc) puts out a new album, they give it 5 stars and write a big essay about how it’s the most important record of post-9/11 America or whatever, which gives these artists no impetus to put any effort into their craft the next time around. And that’s how we end up with an album of Bob Dylan singing Christmas Carols.

As for this proposed Ramones biopic -- The Ramones were my introduction to punk rock at age 15. They changed my life. But even then I remember thinking to myself, "God this band would be so much better if only they were portrayed by today’s hottest young actors!” But at this point, the Ramones' story has already been told, in their own words, in the excellent documentary End of the Century. If their goal with a biopic is to show what these guys’ lives were actually like, it's just gonna be two hours of them sitting in a van sulking!

Speaking of homely musicians, how about this Lady GaGa fellow? I realize I’m not the most attractive man sitting in this chair right now (fucken buff dustmites), but a woman with her looks should probably avoid song titles like "Pokerface."

And "Ugly Stick." Things like that.

"Baseball Bat Nose" and so forth.

"Somebody Dropped Me On My Face When I Was A Baby" and what-have-you.

Hey, just a worldy wise of wisdom!

When I learned that Electric Six was preparing to launch a hot new CD called Kill, I jogged on down to Amazon.com to add it to my "Wish List." That's where I found this disconcerting message taped to the cash register:

Product Description
Electric Six is done trying to not sound like their first record Fire, and wants to go home, but can never completely go home. Electric Six wants big loud guitars and fuzz basses intertwined with the occasional r&b jam. With their sixth album, KILL, they prove they can still sound like Fire, but its sprinkled it with what they've learned. They can go back to the skull-crushing guitars and disco grooves, but they will be cooked in an avant-garde reduction sauce. KILL doesn't rest on any laurels. KILL seeks to boldly and bloodily go where it can go where no Electric Six has gone before.

"Oh ships," I euphemised (out of respect for the Amazon.com cashier). "Fire is my least favorite Electric Six record. Too much of it seems like style over substance, too many of the songs follow the same 'loud guitars and disco beats' pattern, and there is too little variety in the instrumentation and songwriting." So imagine how hard I fucked a duck when this indeed turned out to be the case for Kill.

Please understand: if you're an Electric Six fan, you must buy Kill because it still has lots of great, hooky E6 classics without which your collection looks like a total asshole. In fact, I feel a bit silly criticizing a record with eight songs as endlessly enjoyable as (1) falsetto disco single "Body Shot" (you MUST see the obscene nudity-filled video!), (2) dramatic dance-metal "Waste Of Time And Money," (3) Kiss-esque pop metal "Escape From Ohio," (4) electro-rock singalong "One Sick Puppy," (5) seething organ-driven groove swinger "My Idea Of Fun," (6) hilariously gay new wave "The Newark Airport Boogie" (which I admittedly would LOATHE were it by any other band), (7) killer synth-rock "Simulated Love" and (8) sexy dance-funk "White Eyes."

The problem is that, there being 13 songs total, whenever the disc starts to get going, you immediately run into either a generic Electric Six disco-rocker or an absolutely godawful variation on one. This simply wasn't the case with their last four records. The worst offenders are (A) the near-tuneless "Egyptian Cowboy," which alternates between a decades-old 'harmonic-pick-slide' gimmick and a Linkin Park-corny keyboard passage, and (#) corny string-syrup power ballad "Steal Your Bones," in spite of its intriguing cloning-for-love premise. Adding insult to actual literal injury (if you hold the edge of the CD too close to your eye), these are the TWO LONGEST SONGS ON THE ALBUM!!!!!


Your star’s about to shine
Your shit’s about to blow
Everybody be like “Oh yay”
Everybody be like ‘Woah!!”

Shake that tambourine!
Shake that shaker machine!
Shake it low and shake it high

Except for GBV and Devo
Nothing seems to redeem Ohio
It is the state that killed my love

I’m done with law and order
Cause I’m one sick puppy
And if you want to see me
All you do is say sup ‘b

You are a friend of mine
And when you die I’m gonna steal your bones
You are a space in time
And when you rise I’m gonna feel your clones
Oh look how your love light shines as you owe everything to me
I declare where there’s a way, there’s a will
And tell me have you ever seen The Boys From Brazil?

Flashbulbs begin to pop
As I bitchslap my way to the top

I shot
I scored
I put some points on the board
I slept
I snored
While you snuck around and whored

Put quickly and shortly, if you already like Electric Six, you will like this one as well. If you don't like them, this one certainly won't change your mind. They're not attempting to rework or reinvent anything here, and only the excellent and evocative "My Idea Of Fun" stands out from the pack of otherwise standard E6 rock-and-dance material. In my opinion, it's not quite as consistent as their past four records, but that might be because Dick Valentine is now writing for two bands (Evil Cowards!). However, considering what a limited style they've got, it's incredible how many crazily catchy songs they continue to churn out.

BONUS SENTENCE: If you listen really close, you might hear a YES sample!

Reader Comments

Mark! Disagreement!

Egyptian Cowboy is the best song on the record by a long way. It revs itself up with almost religious zest, it's like two songs spliced together in a musical frankenstein! I can't think of anything that rocks quite like that track. This record feels like the biggest divider for fans, cos if you liked Fire this is the crack. There's no such thing as an electric tuba!! Steal your bones is the one that makes me feel ill. White Eyes makes me think of Miami Vice. Electric Six are ace. I wish they'd release a live album, kinda like a greatest hits. Lets face it, the greatest hits would be sooo good.

I gotta say, I don't really find "Kill" to be all that similar to "Fire."

To me, "Kill" is a very dark, heavy sounding album, at least by e6 standards. Some of the songs are still pretty upbeat, but quite a few aren't and the bass heavy production, combined with the electronica sprinkled over everything gives it a very different sonic texture compared to, well, any of their albums really. Nothing they've done strikes the same mood as "Kill" does.

And, like every other album they've done since "Fire," there's just too much stuff going on in these songs. "Fire" was somewhat simplistic compared to the stuff they're producing now. Thats one thing I've really liked about e6's music, there's always a lot of layers to listen for.

I do like "Fire" a whole lot, but I don't really know why the band or anyone else would compare it to that album, to these ears its not similar at all.

mcs.edit@gmail.com (Martin)
Hi Mark,

I was one of those guys. I'm a hipster type. I love Pavement. I dig Ween and Steely Dan and Spoon and stuff like that. I used to like metal but not anymore. I don't know how to dance. Along comes 2002 or so, I loved "Danger High Voltage" and "Gay Bar" and got "Fire!" and it was good. Then all those other albums they put out, I dabbled, here and there, and it didn't seem to have a lot of oomph, so I lost interest eventually. You know: "Fire" was good but E6 is rehash and without the verve. That was the party line.

Cut to 2007 or so. For some reason I up and Torrent everything they did since "Fire!" And I'm listening, and you know, about 10% of these songs are actually pretty good -- damn good in fact, and funny. But the other ones still sort of leave a bad taste in my mouth, in my brain I will classify those as "the bad ones I don't like." But thanks to the goddamn iPod, I keep hearing more of the ones I don't like -- and it turns out I kind of LIKE them.... I find I'm liking pretty much all of them.... it's taking a while.

Today it's 2010. You know how many songs they've released since "Fire!"? My iPod tells me so -- it's exactly 100. Right now, I mean, it's crazy right? But I like EVERY one of those stupid songs. They're ALL sort of wonderful. You nailed it in your review of "Sexy Trash" -- a lot of those songs are sketches and not really finished, but there's ALWAYS something diverting going on. Right now I'd trade "Danger High Voltage" in exchange for ANY of those songs, even the silly one that jokes about Jenny Craig. "DHV" has a killer riff and concept that makes you want to have sex with the nearest female, but .... by the end of the song there's not enough variation, and you're just giddy and worn out.

So this has become my mission. I want to get people to like the Electric Six's RECENT stuff. And I keep failing! I have smart friends who like the rock and who would appreciate the satire, and they keep not liking it. I think people bring a lot of weird expectations to Electric Six, so when they hear these odd, boppy, satirical, he-man ditties with the big hair metal riffage and the sax solo and crazy ear candy in the background, they don't know what to do with it. It's a grower, is what I'm saying. ALL of my friends would love it if they would just give it, say, ten serious listens over a couple of weeks. But none of them make it past the second listen!

I have these two friends, in Cleveland. Smart guys who know music to the bone, like you. Appreciate variety, like the rock, want it to be smart, like experimentation, the whole deal. Both of them LOVE the Wildbunch stuff, which I don't know at all. They LOVE "Fire!" They've both met Tyler (Dick Valentine) personally because they're also in bands and stuff and Cleveland and Detroit are practically sister cities when it comes to rock and roll. And in the last month or so I tried to convince both of them that Tyler only really got serious around 2004. But they can't hear it! It's killing me! These songs are SO good and fun and inventive!

I live in Staten Island and when I go to Manhattan (often) I take the Ferry. If I'm alone, and I have my iPod with me, there's about a 20% chance that I'll just put on the complete post-2003 E6 catalog on random and wear the biggest smile of anyone on the Ferry, just because Dick Valentine just sang "Dirty Looks" and it went into a sax solo, or some muddy track off of "Sexy Trash" that is actually pretty hooky if you bother to listen.

Electric Six are the unsung MVPs of contemporary rock. You know how many albums Dick Valentine has put out since 2000? EIGHT. Eight albums. Fire, Senor Smoke, Switz, Exterminate, Kill, Flashy, Sexy Trash, the Evil Cowards side project. That's got to be, what, 125 songs? Has anyone been so consistent, prolific, and good? Ween? Spoon? Wilco? Radiohead? How many truly poor songs are in that set? Zero?

So trust your instincts and don't apologize, Mark. "Sexy Trash" DOES deserve a better rating than "Fire!" -- you're absolutely right about that.

As for me, I'm just glad that SOMEONE who is good at putting one word after the other understands what I've been hearing the last two years. It's pretty indisputable -- except that everybody disputes it. I wonder if Dick Valentine sold his soul for the big success of "Danger High Voltage"? The price for that hit was that he would labor for years putting out great shit and nobody would pay attention. Now that's a subject worthy of an Electric Six song. (Or is "The Band in Hell" that song?)

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Zodiac - Metropolis 2010
Rating = 8

I was putting on my electric socks the other morning when it suddenly occurred to me, "Electric Six!!!" And that's all that needed to occur to me. Seven albums into their career, Detroit's finest export is still bringing the hooks, energy, humor and funky dance loudness. Can you say the same about Simon & Garfunkel? Not if you've heard Bookends!

Zodiac is the most colorful Electric Six CD yet, finally turning down the blasted guitar volume to accentuate keyboards, synths, piano, acoustic guitar, female backup vocals, saxophones and of course that butt-driving rhythm section. Dick Valentine is still macho-singing everything, the hooks retain the same mixture of exuberant joy and hilariously bombastic drama upon which they've built their career, and basically you're looking at another high-quality Electric Six CD. Not only is it melodically stronger than Fire; it's also catchy and dancey enough to attract an audience that might've been turned off by the screaming guitars on previous records.

If you are already an Electric Six fan, you will instantly adore this record. The hooks are out of control, from the dance-your-ass-off disco keys of "After Hours" and "Jam It in the Hole" to the stomping glam rock of "Countdown to the Countdown"; from the Kinksy jaunt of "Table and Chairs" to the dark acoustic arpeggios of "Doom and Gloom and Gloom and Doom"; from the split-level two-parter "American Cheese" to the catchiest goddamned chorus ever "Love Song for Myself"; and from three of the remaining five songs to the other two of the remaining five songs. The Six have also apparently developed an interest in the 'extended instrumental coda,' inviting us to enjoy such post-vocal revelations as:

- "Countdown To The Countdown" - A minute of rockin' guitar solo action!

- "It Ain't Punk Rock" - Two minutes of rumbling booming thunderous echoey noise!

- "Talking Turkey" - Two minutes of funky percussive Latin scratching shaky sweaty sexiness!

- "Doom And Gloom And Gloom And Doom" - Two and a half minutes of what must be a Dark Side Of The Moon homage, compiling wordless "Great Gig In The Sky" female vocals, "Any Colour You Like" sax'n'keys, and the "Breathe" chord sequence!

On the lyrical tip jib, the songs constantly refer to time and its passage, suggesting that even Dick "Party Hearty" Valentine is beginning to feel his age and fear his mortality. Either that or he just had the word 'time' stuck in his head while writing them. Here, I'll quote every song on the album as proof (except the Spinners cover):

Tick-tock Sex-o-clock
Where did the time go?

This conversation is just a time killer, time filler
Taking its toll upon my heart
This corporation is just feed filler, seed spiller
Hell bent on tearing us apart

Cuz no one else will do this
We won't be living through this
We've surely made our mark in history
Cuz no one here can do it
No one here can do it
No one here can do it as good as me

35 seconds til the countdown starts
25 seconds til the countdown starts
94 seconds til the countdown starts
It's the countdown to the countdown!

The eternal scent of time will run the course
Just like a headless horse without a horse
And I don't care what any of this means
When I hit the iceberg, the iceberg sinks

Stop! We are good times
We're from the 80s and we're here to help

And if you are willing to wait long
Something better always comes along
I am a song
I am a moral subsidy
I am a song
An angry three minute symphony"

Loads can be made
We should wrap this debate
So decide under the covers
Where the good times await

There once was a time when we were two
I even needed help tying my shoe
The expectations were low
The time slipping by and nowhere to go
So I cut myself free
Yea I'm feeling so free
But it's clear, I wouldn't be you without me

I used to live in a condominium with three other guys
I was paying 200 dollars a month
But this is way better
Now I got a table and chairs
I got a woman and a wife
I got a television the size of Oklahoma
I got a yard for my invisible dog
And my invisible fence
I can keep the government off my lawn
I don't need no government interference coming to screw with me!

You get the hotel
I'll get the box of wine
No sadder words have been spoken
Since the dawn of time

See? Am I wrong, aren't I?

But forget deep meanings and sorrow -- just BUY THIS ALBUM!!! You will dance, you will laugh, you will sing along. It's one of their best yet!

One last note: Does the first sax solo in "Doom and Gloom and Gloom and Doom" sound familiar? It should!

Reader Comments

Is the sax solo on Doom and Gloom reference to Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty? I love this album, the best since Senor Smoke IMO. I'm glad you isolated the Tables and Chairs lyrics from 3:30 on. I love the TIME theme you picked up on. To add some lyrics to that theme, in Countdown to the Countdown there's "Time elapses. Love collapses." and in After Hours "Destroying time, that's how organs shut down and brain cells die." I'm going to see the band live for my 11th time next week!

Great album - I'm most feverish at the moment for the first half. The band sounds like they have an epic swagger. TANGENT: I was watching back to the future at the cinema the other night and realised the delorean time machine needs to reach 88 mph (number 88! number 88! MAARRTY!!) before it passes through the space time continuum, a coincidence given the theme of this album..?? I HOPE NOT!! Songs like It ain't punk rock, Clusterfuck, American Cheese, Jam it in the Hole, these gems kick the crap outta my ears , and once again there's a welcome return to SAX on the TRAX, it's bloody awesome this Zodiac malarky. 8/10 hurrah! (download the extra song 'I Can Translate' off itunes, for some sexy fun in 'the linguistic lab')

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Heartbeats and Brainwaves - Metropolis 2011
Rating = 7

I have a confession to make, and I guess I'll make it to you since you're the only one reading: It's now been almost six weeks since I had to put Henry the Dog to sleep, and I still miss him terribly. He was my little buddy -- essentially my furry son -- for almost eleven years, and it's very hard to come to grips with the idea that he no longer exists -- that I'll never be able to see him or pet him or give him an itchy-scritch ever again. I miss seeing his smiling face and waggy tail excitedly greeting me every time I come home. I miss feeling him "hop on up" on the bed each night to sleep curled up against my leg. I miss walking with him and buying him pig ears to chew and stuffed animals to destroy. I miss watching him swim after sticks and run after tennis balls. I miss the way he always got exuberantly happy whenever we ran into one of his people friends on the street. I miss the little high-pitched 'woof!' noises he would make while dreaming, and the impatient moaning noises he'd make when I took too long preparing his dinner. I miss the way he'd race around in circles every time it snowed, as if the cold powder were some magical Puppy Elixir that instantly took years off his life. I miss just knowing he's there when I need a friend. I miss him so much. Is this the natural mourning process or is it just my OCD acting up again? Having never lost someone this close to me before (I "lost" my wife, but at least she's still alive and I can contact her if I want to), I don't think I was expecting it to feel quite this bad for quite this long. I just feel like I'm on the verge of crying all the time. He was such a sweet animal companion. I used to see old men resting with their old dogs on benches in Central Park, and I'd think to myself, "Some day that'll be me and Henry." But it never happened. He was walking around like a healthy middle-aged dog more or less until the day before he died. I guess I should be glad about that though -- that the cancer got him before he had to suffer through loss of hearing, eyesight, bladder control and all the other things that affect dogs when they live too long. I am glad about that, actually. I didn't have to watch him deteriorate. And he didn't have to experience his own deterioriation. The cancer was quick and exact. But now he's not here, and I am. And I miss him dearly. Can't you hear it in my Heartbeats and see it in my Brainwaves? There, that was a perfect segue and now you can't imagine this review without a gigantic paragraph about Henry the Dog at the beginning.

Electric Six!? More like "ELECTRONIC Six," if you listen to this album and then, afterwards, ask me! With the guitars turned way down, the pulsating synths and melodic organs turned way up, the dancey drumbeats turned way fake, the background vocals turned way female, and the mood turned (at points) way more understated and less anthemic than before, Heartbeeps and Brainscan may not have you up and rockin' at the laughter party like the previous Electric Six output, but with its likeable blend of disco, funk, new wave, electropop and disco-rock, along with some of the hookiest vocal melodies to ever retreat from Dick Valentine's mouth, it's definitely not one to skip either!

Synth-driven and serious-sounding, the album at its best presents intriguing productions (slow sexy disco beat, UFO keyboards and monklike backup vocals of "Psychic Visions," low fuzz darkness of "Food Dog," electro-dance-moody-fuzz-disco-rock-wave hybrid of "Free Samples") and terrific melodies (lovely warm pop title track, excellent Cars rocker "French Bacon," pulsating disco "It Gets Hot," lush sleepy "I Go Through Phases," vocally deliteful "We Use the Same Products"). Unfortunately, at its worst, it requires more parenthetical phrases.

("Gridlock!" could be a weak Cars album track, "The Intergalactic Version" could be The Cure's "Just Like Heaven," "Interchangeable Knife" could be a good song if Dick hadn't let some other guy sing it, "Bleed for the Artist" and "Eye Contact" could've been erased minutes after their recording with no discernable loss to the world) (and so on)

So why the stylistic change? Well, take a look at some of these lyrics. Granted, I've taken them out of context, but considering that I pulled them from eight different songs, I don't think it's too farfetched to infer a subtext of Valentine dissatisfaction with the band's direction:

"And I'm the king of the submarines
Making horrible music for teens"

"That sound you were looking for
Ain't nothing like this sound
Better turn your car around!"

"And now our blur is clearer than our focus
And now we're getting our just desserts
Because the music hurts
The music hurts!"

"You can never separate
The artist from the art
What finally stopped my heart
Where to start? Where to start?"

"Call me a lover, call me a lion
Call me the minstrel of sighin'"

"And now we see our union's torn asunder
Our night clubs yearn for one more punter"

"Are you joking with your tape recorder?
You were sent here to restore the order"

"We write the same song over and over again
We write the same song over and over again
We write the same song over and over again
We write the same song over and over again"

So if you like good music for good music's sake, and can thus enjoy an Electric Six record with almost no guitar presence, some astonishingly sluggish material, few humorous lyrics and an overall lessening of bombastic affect, then get your balls off my face and buy it now!

In fact, either way get your balls off my face.

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You can - AND SHOULD - buy Electric Six CDs here!

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