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Feature Crush: C.D. On Songs, 07/28/09

July 28, 2009

Super Time Pilot – “Comedy Song”

So we’re all familiar with Robby Roadsteamer, right? The guy who talks like a WWF WWE wrestler and has a tattoo of the huge orange dinosaur from the Route 1 miniature golf course? Sings about 8-bit Nintendo games and putting babies in people? OK, now you remember Nikki Dessingue? The girl formerly of Okay Thursday and The Campaign for Real-Time who looks like Lindsay Lohan circa I Know Who Killed Me? These two are actually working together (after meeting on a couch), and they have brought an all-star group of friends whose rap sheets feature bands such as Humanwine, Ketman and Three Day Threshold. This new project is called Super Time Pilot, and now the new question is — are these guys (and girl) for reals?

“Comedy Song” sounds, at first blush, like anything but. Roadsteamer takes off the wig and bandana and sunglasses, puts on a sensible face and turns into “Robert” — almost “Roberto.” No one has ever accused the ‘Steamer of being subtle, but here it is: This song’s ludicrousness comes shining through when you actually listen to it and ask yourself “What the heck is going on here?” only to realize that the anwer is “Who knows?!?!”

“Comedy Song” is a morose character, moody beyond any form of “shoegazing”; it sounds almost too depressed to look at its own shoes, because what’s the point anyway? Kier Byrnes’ guitar glumly circles around itself, pacing in a small room of regret. Dessingue’s glockenspiel nearly cries itself to sleep as it wanders aimlessly around the key signature of the song. Roadsteamer and Dessingue sing with a similar halting, meandering cadence, as if reminding each other of the lyrics and also “You should sing here.” This is a comedy song, but the comedy lies in the emotional oversaturation of the song’s execution. Whether it’s Roadsteamer’s soulful puppy-dog eyed vocals or Dessingue’s sweet heartbroken/breaking delivery of both vocal and instrument, Super Time Pilot is clicking on some special wavelength that we can all enjoy.

Lots of people have been asking where the summer has been. One suspected hiding place for the sun and fun could be Gash Station’s “Sad to Know,” which has enough syncopated rocksteady-style rhythm to turn any small gathering into a full-blown beer commercial where the living is easy and guys pull their shades down to check out the passing shorties. While the name Gash Station suggests a violent affair, “Sad to Know” is a laid-back party of a song replete with organ strikes on the upbeats, an electric guitar riff that cruises through the scene and easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy vocals to round out the whole affair.

This song hangs loose at its heart, never really making too much of an effort to say anything or get anywhere. Some will really, really dig this; others might wish that the song went somewhere more… different. The fact of the matter is that this song is a walk around the block, never crossing the street or branching out too far, but Gash Station somehow makes this OK, provided the listener is willing to meet them half way (or at least bring the Riunite and some ice).

Depending on which way you lean, Get Laid is either the best or worst band name ever, especially for this particular band. It brings back memories of the movie PCU, a movie which introduced us to a young actor named Jeremy Piven who grew up to be a total douchegoblin. But we digress. The band in the movie was called Everybody Gets Laid as a joke/last ditch effort to make people come to the party. Shannon Elkind and company of our own local Get Laid shouldn’t have to resort to such efforts, if “Decca A.D.” is any indication of what these people do on a regular basis (and we think it is).

We’ll find out soon enough, when the band releases Pretty Weathered. For now, they have been kind enough to give us a sneak preview in the form of “Decca A.D.,” an absolute ripper of a track. Vocalist Shannon Elkind is the champion of this track, providing a strong and edgy vocal presence and personality for “Decca A.D.” Elkind, who is joined on occasion by a male vocal as well, is an absolute vocal juggernaut who is just the right kind of unhinged to make every vocal passage interesting. The more you hear of her vocals, the more you want to hear.

Get Laid shows a capacity for straddling the line between order and chaos in this track, as churning, buzz-saw passages give way to almost mathematical precision in others. Elkind’s vocals seem to weather this storm at times and power it at others, calling out simultaneously for, well, everything that one might call out for. Order. Anarchy. A sandwich. Who knows? If “Decca A.D.” is any indicator of the sound produced by these calls, then please call on.

You can admit it. You hear the name The Daily Pravda and immediately prepare yourself for men in women’s jeans and shiny, extra-small blazers playing some uber-pretentious Euro-Core to men in eyeliner. It’s OK. That seems common. The fantastically great thing about The Daily Pravda is that while they remain stylish, their style is an utterly accessible one that does not require excessive amounts of cigarettes or a passport.

As we have come to expect from the band, “September” (from their new record Burning Bible Diamonds) is an absolute gem: smooth and shiny on all fronts. The production value on “September” is spotless and glistening. The beauty of this song is not merely skin-deep; the production allows us to view the musicianship of The Daily Pravda in full. It is then that we realize that the band has not just style but actual substance. If you have ears, then there’s a good chance that this song will hook you in the first two-to-three measures alone as the square-wave synth shines like a lighthouse and the rhythm section energetically jaunts along the rocks below.

The vocals match the triumphant power of the music, yet seem to have some unspoken delicacy, like a samurai sword or some other precisely powerful implement. The melodies of “September” all manage to land in the right musical spot, whether it’s the gentle swell of the backing guitar or the nigh-anthemic “Ohh-OOOH-Ooh’s” of the vocals. The other “how did they do that?” factor comes in the band’s ability to be temporally universal — the song could easily end at, say, the 2:00 mark and the listener would feel well satisfied. But no, the DP is not done with you; and those who stay to the end are treated to a marvelous coda, courtesy of The Daily Pravda. You don’t even need an expensive blazer.

Want to submit your band’s song to C.D. On Songs?

To be reviewed in a C.D. On Songs column:
  • Be a Boston-based band/artist.
  • Email a single mp3/m4a/etc. (or a download link to one) to cdonsongs (at) gmail (dot) com, with the subject line “C.D. on Songs” (DO NOT send us a bunch of songs and make us pick, we will ignore you). We require a file – not a streaming link.
  • Include album cover art if you have any. If you don’t, a band photo or logo is acceptable.
  • We will assume that we have your permission to make the song downloadable on Boston Band Crush (readers will want to hear it, after all).
  • If that’s not ok with you, say so and provide us with a link to the song on an embeddable player like ReverbNation – something we can include in the post (and not just link to).

One Comment
  1. fuckin a! c.d rules, awesome reviews. xxo

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