I’ve felt vaguely certain FYE has been in the process of going out of business since I was in middle school and it was called The Wall. Its current inventory is mostly candy, movie memorabilia, Japanese animation-themed backpacks, and accessories for electronic devices I didn’t know existed. Overflowing boxes of bargain DVDs and CDs are arranged with third-world disparateness near the entrance. I know the world is full of struggling musicians, but I’m rarely confronted with so many of them in the same box. Were these albums ever on the normal shelves? Was someone penalized for ordering them? I recently spent about 40 minutes digging through the five-for-a-dollar-box, delighting in the bleakly diverse selection of CDs resting in what would likely become their punchline-y final destination. Then I felt a surge of mournful sympathy towards every musician in the box and paused my digging. Then it was funny again, and I bought the five “best” ones—all of which are currently selling for $0.01 on Amazon.com.
Energia - King África
King África is the stage name of Alan Duffy, an Argentine man of British descent, whose spirit animal is one-half “DJ Khaled at age five,” one-half “one of those giant inflatable wind dancer figures that only exist in used car dealerships and Ibiza.” I wish King África had slightly less money when he recorded this, because I imagine the experience of hearing his booming, joyous voice over a MIDI file would feel like taking a Jell-o shot of Christmas Eve. Most words ending in “r” are followed by África’s signature noise—an exaggerated guttural purr. The noise is really good. Feel like he’s been making the noise since he was a baby, but he still sounds amazed every time it happens.
The single “Salta 2002” is advertised in the album cover’s upper-left corner, directly under a tiny Pringles logo. The chorus of “Salta 2002” translates to “Jump, jump, jump, jump without stopping.” After every chorus, King África repeats something that sounds like “2000, 2000, 2002” eight times in a heavy lisp. “Vitorino” features guest vocals from Los Del Rio, who sing a substantial chunk of their 1996 hit, “Macarena.” The female vocalist from “Macarena” appears on the last track of the album, an English version of “Vitorino.” I hope there was a Los Del Rio/King África tour.
Let it Eat – 2 Minutes Hate
Information about 2 Minutes Hate is scarce on the internet. On August 20, 2007 someone mistook them for another band in a photo taken at “The Goathouse” in 1993. They recorded three albums between 1994 and 1995, another in 2008, and nothing since. Their memorial Myspace page features four blog entries spanning the course of eight months in 2009. The first entry solicits a new drummer, the second asserts that the band has not broken up, the third announces their official break-up, and the fourth indicates at least one former member is interested in forming a new band.
2 Minutes Hate sounds a lot like the Toadies, early Weezer, and something that makes me want to be at The Goathouse in 1993. I like this album. Foresee listening to some tracks on repeat. Feel like 2 Minutes Hate would’ve made it if their name was “Teeth” and they set themselves on fire sometimes. Two “Thank you” sections are printed inside the foldout booklet of Let It Eat. One section is slightly shorter, but both thank Pat Jones, everyone at Ardent, and “Our families and friends for Letting It Eat.”
Get ‘Em Psyched!! - Black Indian
Biz Markie might have had something to do with the production of this album. He is thanked in the liner notes, and someone who sounds like him guest raps on “Makin’ Cash Money.” It also seems very possible that Black Indian knows how to imitate voices, made this album on Garageband, and has never left his house.
Here are my favorite moments from Get ‘Em Psyched!!:
All my niggas! / All my niggas! / All my niggas! / Fuck it
What you know about black cats / Sprayin’ black bats / Comin’ out of black hats / You don’t want none of that
When I chill with my man this is what we do / And I’m chillin’ with you and this is how we do
-“Smoke Me One”
Niggas down at Super 8 / Can’t wait / Holiday shirts / Lookin’ over with the fish on the plate
-“Corner to Corner”
She used to eat Spam and grits / Eggs and ham / But she was the woman
Please tell me where my life at / I’m in this world tryna get my money back
-“Tell Me Where My Life At”
The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful - Cherry Monroe
I haven’t listened to The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful yet. Based on the band’s photo on the back cover (five men posed in ambiguously sarcastic “rock stances,” all wearing flared jeans, shiny dress shoes, presumably faux-vintage shirts and blazers, and that almost-too-long, heat-straightened, pomaded hair featured on heads of men I regrettably wanted to have sex with in 2005), the front cover image (backwards-facing legs and red high heels evoking pin-ups and dirty motels), and most importantly, the name “Cherry Monroe” (just…), I predict that listening to this album will make me feel kind of guilty and alienated.
Just finished listening. Mostly felt like I was trapped in a looped promotional video that wasn’t actually promoting anything, playing on a giant TV screen overlooking two bored employees and one customer in the otherwise empty junior’s department at Nordstrom’s.
White Courtesy Phone - Angel Corpus Christi
My instincts told me Angel Corpus Christi would either sound like Moby, Primitive Radio Gods, or death metal. Turns out she’s a San Franciscan who’s recorded three albums of Elvis, Lou Reed, and Mötley Crüe covers, one album of various proto-punk covers, and one album of accordion covers. White Courtesy Phone is the album where Angel Corpus Christi sings over keyboard-heavy music that toes a previously undiscovered line between the Magnetic Fields and Wesley Willis. Sometimes when she sings the word “is” it sounds like “a-huh-yuhn-nyizz,” with short nasally pauses between each new syllable. She does that with a lot of words.
I wanted to write nice emails to every member of Cherry Monroe by the end of White Courtesy Phone. The number one most alienating song is a tie between “Big Black Cloud” (deals with wanting nonspecific war to end) and “Nature Girl” (deals with liking nature). Seems very likely that Angel Corpus Christi is married to Paul Simon, teaches pottery, walks around her house singing unconsciously, has an uncredited role in Slacker, and googles herself more than I do.
Previously - People I Met in Truck Driving School