Monday, April 19, 2004
Last week Matthew Fluxblog posted a song by a longtime Mystical Beast favorite band Laptop. Matthew reaches a pretty huge audience for an mp3 blog, so I thought that even though this makes the third or fourth time that I've promoted Jesse Hartman's work here, it might be nice to take advantage of whatever momentum exists. I believe that one of my compatriots may be doing something similar today.
Superfast recap: Laptop is the 80's-inspired project of one Jesse Hartman, formed after the dissolution of his previous band Sammy, plagued by problems with record labels, and virtually unknown in his hometown of New York City. Laptop's 2003 album Don't Try This at Home was typically wonderful and as a reward it received one whopping vote in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll (thank you J.R. Taylor!). I make such a fuss not to protest the unfairness of the world or a general lack of critical taste, but simply because Jesse Hartman has been making some of my favorite music over the last 10 years and I'd really like him to get some encouragement so he doesn't stop. Good Lord, he even hired a backing band of six super-foxes for his last tour and you still didn't go to see him play live! What do you people want anyway!?
Not the Jesse didn't predict his lack of success. As far back as his 1999 song I'm So Happy You Failed, he noted the possibility that he might be "setting myself up for the same song to get sung right back to me," and at this point the Strokes (or whoever he was referring to) would be well within their rights to start serenading Jesse from outside his window. As far as I know, his most public exposure has been the appearance of one of his songs on the soundtrack of an unbelievably terrible movie called The New Guy, which I recommend you avoid like the Strokes.
One of the neater things about Laptop is that Jesse, who also has a theatrical background, frequently includes skits within the songs (why should hip-hop have all the fun), most of which involve what an ass he is. Here's Gimme The Night, which includes the immortal exchange:
Woman: Well, I'm not going to your place.
Woman: 'Cause you'll be there.
I wish I could promise you that this is the last time I'll be posting a Laptop song, but Jesse is working on a new album even as we speak. If it's as good as his previous work, and if you people keep ignoring him, you can bet I'll be plugging him yet again sometime soon.
One bad thing about Laptop is the name "Laptop." It makes it a real pain to do Google/eBay searches on the band. You know what band has a worse name than Laptop? I submit The Strawberry Smell. They're from France, but they sing like Americans pretending to be English (a pretty neat trick). Not content with choosing a horrible band name, they proceeded to call their debut album Odorama. Luckily, there's nothing smelly about their music (I am so sure that I'm the first person to make that joke). Their album was released by the Rainbow Quartz label which pretty much tells you that it's going to be inspired by sixties pop/psych (other bands on the label include Cotton Mather and now, apparently, the Lilys). The CD and Strawberry Smell's website feature neato graphics that would have fit in perfectly in the movie CQ. I wonder what happened to the follow-up album mentioned on their site. Here's the track Balthazar from Odorama, and I hope you enjoy it, my smelly little cabbages.