Friday, August 25, 2006

A Rooster for the Masses: dancy, policital post-punk

A Rooster for the Masses:

"Left Coast"
(from Gallo Rojo 2006. Buy it/download it)

I've really been enjoying Rojo Gallo, the debut EP from Raleigh's A Rooster for the Masses. I don't know a whole lot about them except that they like MySpace, and that their name derives from former Raleigh resident David Sedaris' brother, nicknamed the Rooster. (Though why, exactly, they were inspired by him, I do not know...)

In any case, they make dancy post-punk insipired music with keyboards, tight drumming, ringing guitars, and political lyrics. The last of these kind of snuck up on me -- I was enjoying the music and didn't really pay much attention to the words until recently. I guess the Donald Rumsfeld sound bite in "National" should have been a clue... But when you listen, "Left Coast" turns out to be a song of sympathy for illegal immigrants ("It's modern slavery/you do the dirty work") and "Code Red" is a pretty direct commentary on the Bush administration's Middle East policies:
Hey o Hey look over here
Real problem wasn’t there
Spreading their false fear
To keep us under control

When the Cities record came out a while ago, lots of commenters found something "British" about their sound, but there's something about A Rooster for the Masses that, to me, brings that to mind even more. I don't even really know what I mean by that, but there you go. Mainly the musicial influences they are drawing on, I suppose (Joy Division, Gang of Four, etc.) and perhaps something slightly reserved about the music, lyrics not withstanding.

Your next chance to see them is on Sept. 1 at Kings in Raleigh. Listen now, then go see them!



At 11:10 PM, Blogger Still Rocking for Peace said...

i'm not sure about the afore mentioned groups but i don't agree that Rooster has a post-punk or british anything sound. the vibe i do get is a mix of early steely dan with vintage zappa, especially when you stop and consider the lyrics.on a recent colbert repore show, neil young said that no one, musically, is shouting out and that is why he wrote a song about impeaching bush. Neil would be proud of Rooster!

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for the comments! I freely admit that many of the musical connections I make are idiosyncratic at best -- my background is curiously spotty.

But to the extent that "post-punk" means anything (and after reading Simon Reynolds book, I'm not so sure it does), most people seem to use the term to signify scratchy guitars and a rock+dance rhythm combination. Which Rooster definitely has.

I don't know Steely Dan well enough to comment on that comparison, but Zappa seems way off the mark to me (other than, as you note, the political content of the lyrics). His career was quite long -- if you happen back by, maybe you could comment on what you consider "vintage" Zappa?

In any case, thanks for reading!

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