Not long ago, the Up Fronter reviewed the first CD by local band The Loaded 44RZ. The band has stayed in business and just dropped a new, full-length, high-octane CD titled Ready To Fire.
It’s not going to be possible to pigeonhole this one into a single musical genre. Ready To Fire is about equal parts rockabilly, Southern rock and old school electric guitar country. Those are the three big sounds on this disc. But there are plenty of nods to shockabilly, punk, thrash and electric blues.
Loren Cooper’s vocals have a nice strong shockabilly twang. They veer between the humorous and the slightly unsettling. Just like the instrumental music on the CD, the vocals are tight and often have a slightly raunchy edge.
Cooper starts the shockabilly humor off early in the second cut, “Just Can’t Settle Down.” It’s an upbeat and exuberant slice, with the musicians having fun while keeping their precision.
Things stay high-adrenaline with the next cut, “Tumbleweed,” a speedy rockabilly guitar workout that’s like a Southern rock version of the old bluegrass and guitar duels on Hee Haw. For more of this type of speedy rockabilly, try cut 5, “Mustard Gas.”
Cooper hits the creepy, funny shockabilly vocal note again in “The Ballad of Booger Ross,” in which he sounds like a mutant mix of Tony Joe South and Rob Zombie. Booger is a larger-than-life figure who eats buckets of grits and a buttered bear claw and drinks gallons of coffee every morning for breakfast.
There’s a real ballad in cut 11, “Saying Goodbye.” Here, the disc’s strongest melodies are given a country blues delivery with some effective lounge touches that are easy on the ears. Enjoy the powerful make-it-sing blues guitar solo in this cut.
In the seventh cut, “You’re Sinking,” band members show their hands and make it clear they’ve listened to a few punk records in their day. Those punk influences make themselves felt again in “Just A Little Thought” and, especially, in “Creamed Corn,” which I would say almost creates a new genre: something like mathematical metal thrash bluegrass. It may be hard to imagine, but like everything else on this record, it sounds good and tight and accessible. These musicians came to the studio ready to play (or as they would have it, I guess, ready to fire).
Ready To Fire is an unusual but effective mix that will please fans of everyone from Roy Clark to Johnny Cash to Bad Brains to The Reverend Horton Heat. It’s ideal music for driving or working out or just sitting back and sipping single malt.
This is a very string-heavy record with quite a few instrumentals. Cooper plays guitar in addition to laying down the vocals. Troy Dering plays nylon and electric guitars and the all-important banjo. There are also stand-up basses here; those are plucked by Steve Dufrene and Mike Chavez. Chavez also plays electric bass. Well-known local musician Kory Fontenot does a lot of stuff here, including performing on a lap steel. As you can see, the instrumentation is just right for old school country and rockabilly.
You can get more info at loaded44rz.com, where you can also buy the record. The music is for sale on iTunes too.
The Calcasieu Parish Public Library is now offering the Library To-Go program for those who can’t visit the library due to illness or physical limitations, including temporary illnesses.
Patrons can register with Library To-Go to get free delivery of library materials to their front door. Deliveries will be made to personal residences, nursing homes, day care centers and other facilities.
Library staff will work with each person or facility that uses the program to make sure all needs are met. An outreach librarian will meet with everyone who’s interested.
Library To-Go users can check out such library materials as books, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks and magazines. Equipment such as CD players, page magnifiers and Kindle Fires can also be checked out.
To use the service, apply at calcasieulibrary. org or send in an application. Applications can be sent to users through U.S. mail. If you need more info, call 721-7148 or email Jayme Champagne, at email@example.com.
Smothered By Humor
So many movies are being made in Louisiana these days that even Louisiana journalists don’t take much notice of them anymore. What made me take notice of the new Louisiana-shot horror flick Smothered wasn’t its publicist’s promise that the movie was “set to shake up the horror film genre.” What got my attention was the cast photo (which I hope you’ll see here).
Occasionally you just need a look at the cast to know that the movie is certain to be worth at least a few minutes of your time. The last time this happened to me was when I saw the cast shot of Dark Shadows, a film I thought was hilarious.
Look at the crazy cast of Smothered, and you won’t have any trouble believing this Louisiana movie will be a “horroromedy.” If you’ve seen the vastly underrated 2010 movie Tucker And Dale Versus Evil, you know these hillbilly horror comedies can really pack a punch. The subgenre’s been around at least since 1964, when Herschell Gordon Lewis made his kitsch masterpiece 2,000 Maniacs, which is still funny as hell.
Anyhoo, I found out after the fact that this film was made by John Schneider. Yes, that’s the guy who was in Dukes of Hazzard. He used to have a reputation as a lightweight. But if he can assemble a cast like this, he’s got something going.
The movie Smothered should be out by the end of the year. You can follow it on Facebook; search for Smothered The Movie. If I learn more about it, you will too. The photo credit for this delightful ensemble shot goes to Amy Brassette, who operates out of Baton Rouge.
Swamp Creatures And Space Cowboys
I don’t watch the reality TV shows about Louisiana (or any reality TV shows, for that matter), but I know what a big effect these reality TV shows have had on popular culture. In fact, it’s had such a profound effect that some people in New York City recently staged a “glittery glam rock opera” titled Smile Swamp Princess. No lie.
The operatic world portrayed in Smile Swamp Princess was said to be populated by “swamp creatures and space cowboys.” The songwriters — or composers, if you prefer — said the space cowboy was their homage to David Bowie, who was seen as setting a good precedent for “a theatrical rock show.”
The show’s creators say the show is supposed to provide “insight into the post-adolescent struggle to adulthood.”
You may never see or hear it. But if you want to, the best place to start may be smileswampprincess.com.
Giving Back To My Column
Some of you may have had the misfortune of reading my File 13 on clichés a few weeks back. In it, I noted how much hot air is generated with the atrocious cliché “giving back to the community.”
I think I recently saw the most atrocious use yet of this abominable phrase. In a run-of-the-mill press release, the world was told that a fellow who’d gotten a new position in his field was giving back to the community. It was the way in which the thing was said that was, of course, the problem. Giving back to the community was included as one of a variety of activities this individual performed on a regular basis. This curious sentence structure allotted “giving back to the community” the exact same status as taking out the garbage or driving to work. But read the sentence for yourself and see what you think:
“He is excited to be back in his hometown and is looking forward to giving back to the community as well as getting out on area waterways to fish and water ski.”
Imagine what that must be like. Instead of waking up and thinking something like, “Man, I have to walk the dog,” or “Man, how am I going to make it downstairs in the dark?” you get to wake up thinking, “Man, how am I going to give back to the community?”
I thought perhaps I should prepare a sentence of just this sort in case I ever send out a press release about myself. If I prepare it in advance, I’ll have it ready to go. These are the sentences I’ve come up with so far:
“Goins is looking forward to bringing about universal peace as well as adding to his Addams Families plush toys collection and training Central Asian rodents to do the Miley Cyrus twerk.”
“Goins is looking forward to feeding the world’s hungry as well as to spotting chihuahuas and making sculptures out of dice.”
“Goins is looking forward to enabling us all to just get along as well as running his H.P. Lovecraft book club and organizing Gummi bear bonfires.”
“Goins is looking forward to curing cancer within a year as well as walking up to strangers and saying, ‘Do you feel me?’ and polishing the hills of Outer Mongolia.”
Is one of these four sentences better than the others? Is there one I should go with? If you think so, let me know. Also, if you’d like to write a sentence for your own future press release, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll print all those that aren’t too obscene.
Guru: Gee, You Are You
When I saw the movie The Love Guru, I didn’t know there was any such thing as a love guru. I thought the love guru was a concept Michael Myers had created so he could make a funny movie.
But now I know there really is a love guru — at least one. I know this because his people have been bombarding my office with email.
His name is Yogi Akal, and he’s been in some really important places, like Elle magazine. His “method” enables people to achieve “optimal wellness and success.” His “expertise” is “on alignment and relationships based on NUMBERS.” You know these numbers are important because they are ALL IN CAPITALS.
What are these numbers that are so important? Apparently, they’re “only a birthdate.” With the numbers, Yogi “can chart individual maps of life.” You know how important those maps of life are. I’ve been pretty whacked out since I lost mine. If it’s happened to me once, it’s happened to me a hundred times; I’ll look all over the house, then I’ll say, “Honey, have you seen my map of life?” Why don’t we put those things in safe places so we can find them?
Here’s the payoff: with his numbers, Yogi can “assess compatibility with two people — more importantly, TWO CELEBRITIES!”
We’re back to all capitals here, and I’m inclined to assume that means it’s important to know whether you’re compatible with two celebrities. The celebrities that are listed as examples are Rob Patt, K-STEW and Liam. Did the love guru just make those names up? Yogi, no disrespect, but I’ve got to know who the celebrities are before I care about whether I’m compatible with them.
Yogi’s offering a “free reading.” He says if I get one, I can get “the spiritual rundown on [my?] relationship status.” The spiritual rundown? Is that anything like The Cannonball Run? I have to admit, that movie was about yogis. And it was spiritually transformative for just about everybody who saw it.
The whole thing’s a big mystery. But I guess that’s kind of the way it’s supposed to be with Eastern religions. Yogi promises “The lowdown on celebrities loves and relationships such as Dr. Angelina.” I did a Googler search on this doctor who is a love and a relationship. Nothing. Just another layer of the onion of mystery.
Yogi says this method is “the oldest secret system on the planet.” If I weren’t so excited about the damn thing I’d be really skeptical about it.
This is one time I’m not providing the contact information. I figure if you want to find out whether you’re compatible with a guy who names himself after stew, you’re on your own.
During the course of doing all my research on Yogi Akal and Dr. Angelina, I found out there is such a thing as The Love Editor. I’ll tell you all about it next issue.