Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Swamp Tech/Electric Swamp

Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Swamp Tech/Electric Swamp

On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. The ensuing natural disaster, combined with yet another demonstration by the Bush Administration of its massive incompetence (and criminally negligent attitude toward those deemed electorally unnecessary), created a human tragedy on a scale not seen in this country in at least a generation. One of the hardest-hit areas of the city was the Ninth Ward, home to thousands of poor blacks, as well as to our current protagonists, Mr. Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and their Spellcaster Lodge. If Dubya really does hate black people, I can’t imagine his attitude toward white Drum Buddy/puppet-wielding weirdos can be much better. It probably wasn’t the kind of “Ninth Ward Breakdown” Quintron had in mind on one of the duo’s previous albums. At any rate, the spirit of N’awlins can apparently not be fully suppressed even by events such as these — the music goes on.

Which brings us to the present album/DVD release, Swamp Tech/Electric Swamp. It was a bit jarring to notice no reference to the hurricane in the music or the liner notes, but that’s because Q & MP were about to embark on a tour in support of the disc just before the tragedy struck. So what we have here is the last artifact of that scene from those devil-may-care pre-Katrina days of living nearly under the sea. And a damn fine artifact it is. I hadn’t really heard the last few Quintron albums, so I don’t know if this is the product of a continuing evolution or more of a break with the past, but I was struck both by the improved sound quality of the recording (even though it was apparently mostly recorded live to two-track stereo), as compared to my memories of previous releases, and by the accessibility of the songs. There’s still a certain junk-shop weirdo factor involved at all times, but most of the songs are quite danceable and not particularly noisy or abrasive. They’re catchy to the point that after a few too many listens on “Repeat,” I had to turn Swamp Tech (I’ll get to the Electric Swamp part in a minute) off to preserve what’s left of my sanity.

The first track is an upbeat organ/synth boogie about shoplifting, with nice backing vocals by Miss Pussycat. “Fly Like a Rat” features Miss P on shouty lead vocals, while “Swamp Buggy Baddass” is one of those catchy tunes that gets on my nerves after a few too many listens. Another organ jam is followed by the short charming instrumental “Tea Time.” The next track, “French Quarter Faggot,” makes ill-advised use of the word “faggot” to denote (according to the liner notes) a “…weird person. I think it is cool to be a faggot and if some stupid people are calling you that anyway then it must be something good.” Perhaps, but the puzzling aspect is that the song’s lyrics seem to be making fun of the person anyway; e.g., “I like the sound of electro-clash.” This is followed by, no joke, a Quintronified cover of Kiss’s “God of Thunder.” The next track, though, “Chatterbox,” is probably my favorite on the album. As the liner notes indicate, the following track, “Dream Captains,” is basically a power ballad, quite a surprise. The final album track has some more shouty Miss P vocals and is followed by a couple of unlisted clean tracks with Quintron’s pottymouth bleeped out.

The DVD portion of the program, Electric Swamp, features Miss Pussycat’s puppet world, with a storyline about Formosan termites getting ripped on Cajun sno-cones and the hijinks that ensue. Several Quintron tracks from the album make appearances, such as “Swamp Buggy Baddass” at a termite rave, and “Dream Captains,” with non-puppet footage of Quintron as the head Dream Captain, plus several lovely lasses eating a chocolate cake version of the Quintronics Drum Buddy in reverse.

All in all, a fine set from Quintron & Miss Pussycat. Of course, for the true in-person puppetry/one-man-band experience, check them out live if you can.

(Tigerbeat6 Records -- 2722 19th Ave., Oakland, CA. 94606; http://www.tigerbeat6.com/; Quintron & Miss Pussycat -- http://www.quintronandmisspussycat.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, June 28th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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