Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Rantouls on Chocolate Covered Records
There are two ways to approach nostalgia: either you take those influences and ideas and reinterpret them through the modern tools and aesthetics of today or you work traditionally exactly in the style of the nostalgic style you love the most; you mix paint with egg tempera and do portraits with horsehair brushes of renaissance royalty. Huge gilded framed kids with scepters and crowns or a diamond encrusted skull.
The Rantouls are taking down the jars of pigment and drawing some perspective guidelines and getting on with it....only in their case it's surf guitar, 60's garage attitude, and beach harmonies. I mean, check out that cover, it's straight out of the late 50's early 60's. If they're trying to infiltrate record racks and salvation armies with this band they may or may not have existed, then they did a bang up job. I'm fooled.
I'm really considering these recordings resurfaced like a Mississippi records release and someone faked some promo shots to release this single.
The recording is even true to the songwriting style, warm, room sound. Only a band steeped in nostalgia could get a way with a chorus harmony of 'little green hat! little green hat / I never seen / little green hat!', it's that ridiculous content, songs have never made any sense. It's the goal of rock and roll to see what it can get away with. How little sense can we make? What's the most obscure/everyday thing we could sing about? Especially from that time period, it's like they wanted a crossover novelty hit, just to make everyone happy, and maybe they're fucking with everyone just a little bit?
The same goes for 'A Little Bit of This', severely catchy...I mean it's problem, not only are they singing about the beach, bikini's, but the lead singer has this nasal stuttered delivery that is making the song. They don't want to be taken seriously? What's this? Striped shirts and vests? Did someone defrost these guys with Brendon Frasier?
But the best line is 'I get a little kiss and I get a little smack.', so it's not all naive beach party?
I give up.
Chocolate Covered Records has unearthed them in a SoCal backyard with a valley girl:
Rantouls fan Rev. Nørb and his girlfriend say it best: It's STUPENDOUS! STUPENDOUS I SAY! I played the a-side, then the b-side, then the a-side, then the b-side, and it made my girlfriend yell "I DIDN'T LIKE THAT SONG VERY MUCH WHEN IT WAS CALLED 'LITTLE GREEN HAT,' AND I LIKED IT EVEN LESS THE SECOND TIME WHEN IT WAS CALLED 'A LITTLE BIT OF THAT!'" Yes, its that good.