You Asked For It: Dude Offline

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Dude Offline
Monkey Baby
Ramper Records

GRADE: B

We've been doing You Asked For It for just over a year now and it's about time we had our first repeat customer. Dude Offline got his first record, Nerd Love, reviewed by Niki D'Andrea last year, and now he's waited long enough for his seven song mini-album Monkey Baby to get a turn.

Unlike it's more eclectic predecessor, Monkey Baby is pretty much straight up nerdtronica with vocoder vocals, pounding beats and rough-edged synthesizers I'd feel comfortable comparing to The Faint. Surprisingly, it all works pretty well. Despite the cover - hopelessly uncool even if we imagine it was conceived from the most ironic of aesthetics - and the sometimes forced references, Dude (aka Shawn Armenta) makes some pretty good dance music.

"Sucks To Be You" starts with clanging chords of distorted guitar and stringy beats that remind me something out of an 80s film score - you could picture Ferris Bueller clicking off this station in Cameron's dad's car. The second song, "Monkey Baby" has more of a Eurotrash disco feel, which is reinforced by the theme, which seems like the sort of joke that'd appeal to people speaking English as a second language. To it's credit, it's pretty catchy and not really that far from what you'd hear a band like Chromeo ("Tenderoni") do -- and Chromeo is, by all accounts, very cool.

Though Dude Offline claims The Ramones to be his biggest influence, "Candy Girl," is even more like a Chromeo song. By dropping some of the nerd posturing (the last song, a semi-remix called, "Cyber Girl" covers that ground) he makes a song I could honestly hear one of the more adventurous DJs at Shake! spinning.

"It's Not My Problem" is a remix/followup to Dude's "You Suck, You Drank My Beer!" and nowhere near as fresh sounding as the next track, "I'm A Herper," which actually appears to be about snake handling, though I greatly prefer an alternate definition and will, in fact, use that definition in the future.

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to submit a CD for review, please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Martin Cizmar
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street
Phoenix , AZ 85032



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