Sunday, 24 April 2016

Dump - That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice? (1998/01, Shrimper)

Well, this wasn't how I was expecting to cap off a week chock full of emo releases, but sometimes life and current events throw a wrench into your itinerary.  If you're a hardcore Yo La Tengo fan you may have familiarity with Dump, the lo-fi side project of longtime bassist James McNew.  I've barely followed YLT over the years, and for better or worse I've paid considerably less attention to Dump.  By the time I learned of the premise involving That Skinny Motherfucker... I'm sure the album had long been out of print, and since I wasn't an acolyte of McNew or the artist the album was dedicated to, I saw no harm in downloading it gratis a few year ago when the opportunity arose.  It won't faze any of you to learn that I wasn't a mondo Prince devotee, owning a nicely packed best-of collection of the purple one and little else.  I'll get to some personal observations in the next paragraph.   As for Skinny "Mofo," it's a covers/tribute album and an ironic one at that, boiling down twelve Prince tunes to their core, essentially leaving nothing but the lyrics and melody intact.  McNew's approach is sonically diametric to the original compositions, yet wholly respectful to the Artist himself.  In short, there isn't a semblance of ridicule or mockery within earshot here, but accoutrements ranging from omnipresent drum machines to Casio organ and even acoustic guitars make for a startling makeover when applied to staples like "1999" and 'Raspberry Beret."  Beyond that, "Pop Life" and 'An Honest Man" are transformed into affecting, insular soliloquies, and "A Love Bizarre" is given such a loopy, avant upgrade it borders on alienating.  Skinny... is a profoundly a-traditional homage, yet heartfelt in it's skewed reverence.  

I started listening to rock and roll in earnest around 1983.  Local Top 40 outlets provided my gateway, and at the time Prince was ubiquitous.  A minimum of one album a year, and seemingly a new single every month.  The mid-80s was the last era that commercial radio was genuinely rewarding, even though it's returns would diminish exponentially in the years and decades to come.  Prince was there for that cutoff point, and his presence was so saturating that I simply took him for granted, until I stopped paying attention altogether by the time I hit college.  In more recent years I admired and envied the sheer carte blanche he was accorded via his own Paisley Park studios, and a record that label that grudgingly came around after many years of hemming and hawing, eventually catering to his whims.  He led a challenging but unbelievably charmed life, the likes of which we I can only fantasize about.  His passing this week was equally shocking and smarting, and even for casual fans like myself, we'll be ruminating on the "why" indefinitely.  RIP ol' three eyes.

01. 1999
02. raspberry Beret
03. Erotic City
04. The Beautiful One
05. When You Were Mine
06. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?
07. Pop Life
08. A Love Bizarre
09. Girls & Boys
10. Dirty Mind
11. An Honest Man
12. Another Lonely Christmas

http://www24.zippyshare.com/v/igIhmKZW/file.html

Original Content: Dump - That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice? (1998/01, Shrimper)

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