Sun City Girls: Funeral Mariachi
Sun City Girls' last-ever record -- they've made dozens since forming in Phoenix way back in the early days of West Coast punk -- comes off as a more somber affair. And some of it is downright -- odd to say, given the artist -- pretty. I supposed that's a fitting way to cap a three-decade-long career that was stopped by the untimely death of drummer Charles Gocher a couple of years ago.
Of course, Sun City Girls were never a band that had hits. SCG were far too experimental for that. No, they were the type of band that accumulated a cult following and resonated more among in-the-know musicians and artists.
Funeral Mariachi is less confrontational but no less challenging than Sun City Girls of their 1980s heyday. The mostly instrumental record is a multi-cultural stew of Eastern and Indian sounds along with more traditional rock touches. But, as I said, this is not a rock record, per se. In fact, it's pretty much impossible to put a label on SCG, except to call it experimental. That alone may scare some folks off, especially given that the record's first track, "Ben's Radio," with its odd instrumentation and jarring edits, is surely experimental. But the record settles into a quieter, (somewhat) more conventional, even more accessible, place after a few songs. And as with any good record, these songs reveal more of themselves with each each listen.
Best song: "Vine Street Piano"
Deja Vu: Even though Sun City Girls finished out there career in Seattle, it's always cool to see a band with Phoenix roots put out a a good record.
I'd rather listen to: For a cloudy-day listening, this is as good as anything I've heard this year.
Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here. The "Nothing Not New" Archives:
December 3 -- Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (D+)
December 2 -- Sharon Van Etten: Epic (B)
December 1 -- OFF!: First Four EPs (A-)
November 30 -- Robyn: Body Talk (B+)
November 29 -- Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3: Northern Aggression (A-)
November 16 -- Stereolab: Not Music (B-)
November 15 -- The Fresh & Onlys: Play It Strange (C+)