Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tonetta Vol. 3 2XLP on Black Tent Press

Will there ever be a time in the future where Tonetta has exhausted every fetish subject... when he's completely run out of ways to describe his numerous sexual taboo's?
Three albums later wouldn't lead you to believe there's any end to Tonetta's confessions. In fact he's expanding his sphere of influence to include his similarly head shaking extreme political views in multiple tracks across this double album on "Obama's Prize", "Teach Me", "Saddam", and "This Old World". I guess you could say there always tends to always be a connection with sex and politics, or maybe for Tonetta it's the extreme reactions, the polarizing views in setting out to explore either of these areas. On "Obamas Prize" he points at the world laughing at America thanks to Obama's undeserved Nobel Peace Prize. Tonetta's never been afraid to alienate his audience and this is a loungy pop casio keyboard jingle where he expects better from the US president. Compared to some his cutting criticism, this is pretty tame, more of a subtle warning I guess...which is all relative for tonetta, he still sings "have the balls to step down". "Saddam", takes on 9/11 in a new (?) way, Tonetta wants proof (of weapons of mass destruction?) of Saddam's death? Maybe this was written before the cell phone video? Then there's something about cloning in here? This one is a mystery.

There's some interesting new glitch electronic directions showing up in tracks like, "Wild & Free" which is the clearest example for Tonetta's subtly evolving musicianship throughout these releases. Either that or it's the way Black Tent has chosen to present them, but given some of the contemporary subject matter, it seems to be mostly chronological. In addition to heavy panning of a lot of distorted guitar across channels, he's playing with a lot of layers of synth along with his vocal percussion, like Ariel Pink, is really inspiring to hear the result of living in a bubble, developing such a clear sense of rhythm and if it's impossible to program that drum machine...I get it, just beatbox the beat the best you can.
But as much as a whole his output is getting clearer and more produced sounding, 2 tracks in particular, "Apache Woman" and "Hell" take things back into his cassette world in only the unique way that Tonetta can, with legitimately great guitar lines, outsider rhythms and completely unique vocal melodies. This seemingly archival recording fades in and out on the left channel, just barely holding on with a flowy '70s psyche jam feel over this layer of hiss, reminding you just how mindblowing Tonetta can be when the pieces fit together like this especially when it's more understated. I love the in-your-face sex jams, but "Apache Woman" especially, would legitimately stand up in an R. Stevie Moore mix.
The there's "Yummy Yummy Pizza" where you're waiting for that hammer to drop, but this is pure bubblegum pop, at least in the world of Tonetta. He loves pizza, and doesn't love you anymore. Plain and simple. My grandma might even appreciate this before church..."Not so yummy you". The same puzzling sweetness is evident on "Knowing my limits" where he sounds like the attentive worrying partner. I guess he's covering all his bases and this is yet another version of extreme in Tonetta's mind. To be the center of attention is just as freaky as a four way.

The over the top sexy songs are still here in abundance, and all positions are explored: "Ride Me" (self explanatory), "Be My Concubine" (stick it to the one I love, without a glove), "Two Annas & a Bri Bri" (Two prostitutes and their friend, Tonetta's twelve year old humor in full effect, naming their hometown: penis manor), "81 in Prime Ass" (a weirdly sweet ass play song...), "Pressure Zone" (something to do with the prostate?), "No Lip" (he's tougher than a butch dike), "Glory Hole" (surprisingly about a 'small cock, big heart'), "Planet Lip Bush" (not political - life 'began here with lips' that he'll never see...there's an oedipal complex for you).

As if you could forget nothing is off limits to Tonetta, and he continues to make that very clear every album, and "On the Toilet" might be the point where you'd have a hard time getting through this. It's as medically accurate as The Human Centipede, a little too descriptive about the excretive process, what this particular movement consists of...literally. I have to admit I'm even feeling a little dirty, and you really have to wonder where he crossed that line from funny into sick? He further tests the waters with "This Nigger Don't Run" which I'm having a little trouble with what viewpoint this is from, let alone give this a serious listen without looking over my shoulder. I think it's his fictional black perspective towards skinheads, that kind of extreme hate and pitting those two factions against each other.
In this case I'm wondering what exactly compelled him to write this song, which features an acoustic guitar by the way. I have to think he's just drawn to these extreme's, in language and behavior down to his songwriting. If it isn't a little scary to him it isn't worth doing. Needless to say Tonetta is not an album to have in a random playlist, playing publicly. You could very literally get your ass kicked. Is that part of the draw? Sure, in the same way the blackest of Norwegian metal can defy expectation.

These 29 tracks are a lot to take in, and he still suffers occasionally from the same monotonous beat, but I think he can rely on it being such a unique, singular focus; the slightly distorted kick/snare, kick/snare back and forth with a double time tamborine, or shaker, and the layers of instrumentation are so uniquely his own, it's almost always forgiveable.
He's also continuing to explore a lot of new melodies and as much as that beat is recycled, there's as much thought in composition as there is in the subject matter. I would even go so far as to say there's more thought...mentioning his cock every song comes naturally, it's in the sitting down to layer in another melody where new things are cooked up. There's room across this release to go further into all facets of Tonetta, from the truly heartfelt love songs to new depths of troubling fetishes. Tonetta can ably work across extremes, and that makes those 'straight' tracks a little more tense, knowing the Tonetta could drop a 'cock' at any moment.

Go complete the series with Volume III, there's no turning back now with this double album on Black Tent Press...I expect there is a triple album in the works for Volume 4.

Not quite sure what happened to Tonetta but Black Tent had this to say to fans recently (posted at Grandma Knows Best - the definitive thinking man's Tonetta blog)
In light of recent events I think that TONETTA needs to hear your support and admiration of his music and art. He has been shut down, terminated, censored, lied to and robbed over the last month. Have you ever wanted to tell him what you think and feel about his music and art ? Have you ever wanted to share with him how important and special his work is ?

Now is the time to do so. This is a call for letters and gifts for TONY.
show some love.

3940 Laurel Canyon Blvd NO. 245

all packages will be forwarded to TONETTA.

Stay gold, you crazy sexy bastard.


  1. it's funny to think of how many people are a hell of a lot less man than a guy dancing around his apartment wearing a thong, barbie wig, & kabuki mask with lipstick on his nipples. So few have as much balls as this guy or ever come close to being as irreverent about frosting the carrot on a stick LOVE/sex theme of so many radio played songs. Marylin Manson eat your heart out. Interesting interview here. http://www.artistadvocacy.com/music/interviews/tonetta/

  2. That interview is awesome, Dirk at Black Tent completely deserves a lot of credit for getting his music out there. These are great records. I have 1/100th of the balls of Tonetta...probably less.