Art Brut Play “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes”

Listen to this track by Deptford punk rock inheritors and comic geeks Art Brut. It’s “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes” an anthemic cut off of their self-referential 2009 LP Art Brut vs Satan, their third.

By the time the band came to record this album, they had hit their stride and were free enough financially in their personal lives to all take the time to record while in the same studio together. On previous records, they’d had to stagger the sessions to make room for their straight jobs, with each member coming to lay down parts at different times. With Art Brut vs Satan, they could play like the punk band they were; in a room at the same time bashing out the tunes. It helped that Frank Black, himself no stranger to recording his own bands live off of the floor, was steering the ship as producer.

And what of this song, a tale of a twenty-eight-year-old boy who still reads comics and drinks milkshakes? Well, the arrested development angle plays somewhat into what it means to be in a rock n’ roll group where staying forever young, or at least with a teenage mindset, is actively encouraged. Even if there is a more than a whiff of self-deprecation to be found here, I think this song has a few things to say about age and our perceptions of maturity that actually shows wisdom beyond its years. Read more

Black Box Recorder Play “Andrew Ridgeley”

Black Box Recorder PassionoiaListen to this track by British ironicists and synth-pop fans from way back, Black Box Recorder. It’s “Andrew Ridgeley”, a paean to an ’80s icon and to an era too as taken from the band’s 2003 record Passionoia. For those of us who also were brought up to the sound of the synthesizer, and who learned to dance to the beat of electronic drums, this is an instant connection. The wrench in the works is the object of affection at the center of this song, possibly.

That’s what this band was always good at – undermining expectations, and making you wonder where they’re coming from. Is Andrew Ridgeley cooler than we thought? Is this a song coming from a sincere place? Is it just an exercise in subversion for the sake of it? Is it as black and white as all that? And is there more here than the lyrics may be telling us?

Well, of course. This is Black Box Recorder.

So, what is this song trying to say exactly? Well among other things, I think it’s a song about growing up. Read more