Here's a description:
Midnight at The Bank in Akron, Ohio. Sitting at a corner table: two girls and a boy, dressed in Carmen Miranda's dancing clothes and sipping drinks with paper parasols. You noticed them. You wondered. You had a feeling they were smarter than you and that made you nervous. You had a feeling they were cooler than you in the way they didn't seem to need you, but knew you would have to notice them. You were not surprised when they got up from the table and the girls picked up guitars and started to play. And you were not surprised that the drummer, the boy, had jungle in his beat, nor that you began to dance. Their music was brittle and nimble, sometimes sultry and sometimes chirpy, the kind of razor-thin funk with white soul and a Motown bottom that seems at once studied and nonchalant, all brush-off and come-on. They played a song called "Boy" and they played a song called "Men." They sang about two-faced women and ring around the collar and heartache without regret. They undressed "Going to a Go-Go" and the harmonies gave you chills. And so you began to ask questions. You learned that their name, Chi-Pig, came from a barbecue joint: "chi" for chicken, "pig" for ribs. Urban shorthand, just like the music. You learned that the girls had played in bands with Peter Laughner, had jammed with Devo, and once gave a command performance in Akron with Tin Huey for members of Roxy Music. Then someone tells you a story. He tells you that one dark winter, Chris Blackwell, the president of Island Records, flew from the Bahamas into a legendary Akron snowstorm to unravel the mystery of the music in the sewers of a rusting city. He tells you that Blackwell asked the girls where their band got its name, and the three of them, the record company executive and the two girls, set off into the snowy night to steal the restaurant's sign. And that they returned empty-handed. A record was made in 1979 and it was never released. Then the band disappeared completely. For years it was all like a secret you almost knew. And so now you discover this document. You understand the slyness of its title. "Miami" -- because it was recorded in that city and because it tastes like it: dark rum and sugar and mint and crushed ice. And finally it makes sense.Some Mp3 highlights of the past few days, well last weekend -- I've been busy...(apologies if these songs have been taken down):
--David Giffels, co-author, "Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!"
It came just in time for the end of summer. There's always one good car riding pop song and this is it. Fluxblog writes about "Is It Cos I'm Cool" here. Soulside's Rachel Yamagata's "1963" is an also-ran but a good also-ran. Hear it here. "Collide" ain't too bad either as a "Morning After" meditation.
Last week was Slapp Happy week at Mystical Beast. I'm digging "The Drum", an inviting folk pop song later covered by Bongwater. Get it here.