It’s about damn time. The dance scene has needed a brisk awakening for years now as nothing truly fun, innovative, and original has emerged since breakdancing started to come out of the underground in the late seventies and early eighties. Remember Malcolm McLaren? The man who brought us the Sex Pistols also created one of the best breakdancing tunes ever in “Buffalo Gals”. You remember that don’t you? It was 1982, with a video featuring the famous New York “Rock Steady Crew”. It featured the sparse lyrics, Three buffalo gals go `round the outside, `round the outside, `round the outside and then, oddly, Duk Duk Duk. Hmmm, a godfather of punk making dance music. A hell of a concept! Mr. McLaren essentially popularized the movement by making it a worldwide phenomenon, letting people of various ethnic backgrounds into that world.
Let’s move forward 21 years to 2003, switch coasts, and meet eight (now, seven) Sac-town boys who want you to shake your booty. Like Malcolm McLaren, they came out of the roots of punk / hardcore and then wanted the world to dance. They are !!!. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Or have you? According to the little sticker on the EP, (which is placed badly, the security sticker rips half of it off, grrrr!) and their website, the name of the band is pronounced “Chk Chk Chk”, or any other three repetitive sounds such as “Pow Pow Pow” or “Unh Unh Unh”. And there is no denying that three exclamation marks just seem like a really exciting name for a band which is certain to demand attention.
Previously known as the home for the bands Cake, Far, and by extension Onelinedrawing, Sacramento can now claim !!!. While their first self-titled album received mixed reviews, it is their EP / single release, Me & Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story) which heralds their real first triumph. Don’t be deceived by the fact that the CD boasts only two tracks. First of all, it is priced well; secondly, both tracks are over nine minutes long! And, realistically, the title track is three songs in one, melded together like the `break’ songs that DJ Kool Herc created in Brooklyn years ago.
The first part of Giuliani combines a bouncing bassline with a jagged disco / funk guitar with singer Nic Offer pleading with uptight New Yorkers like Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg to “get on up & move it”. The second part, more punk influenced, continues the essay on the importance of dancing. The combination of the more intensely sung vocals, the splashing cymbals, and the staccato guitars resemble some of the more recent best of Les Savy Fav. Finally, the third part, somewhat of a reprise of the first part, brings back the bouncing bass and jagged funk guitar with some added “doo-do-do-doo-do-do-dooooo”s in the mix. The best thing about the third part is when Nic says to lone drums “Everybody cut everybody cut everybody cut footloose, now cut…and shake that butt.”
The second track on the album is a remix of a previous song called “Intensity”. It is called “Intensifieder (Sunracapellectrohshitmix 03)” and is another booty-shaker. It’s a little more challenging to the casual listener than the title track, but is well worth the time.
This record is the most fun I’ve had with dance music in a damn long time. It’s already a club hit and is gaining fans from coast to coast. I found it difficult to keep from nodding my head, fidgeting in my chair, and tapping my legs around on the floor while writing this review! June 8th sees the release of their second full-length album, Louden Up Now, and I for one will be first in line to pick up my copy. Why? `Cuz !!! has made the world safer for white kids to dance.
Les Savy Fav- “Inches”
Malcolm McLaren- “Do Ya Like Scratchin’?”
Chic- C’est Chic