Friday, January 20, 2012

The Rudy Schwartz Project - Bowling for Appliances

(DC Jams)

Bowling For Appliances [8/12] *

One-man bands while often great fun live tend to lose their magic on the recorded version.  Joe Newman’s Rudy Schwartz Project resolved this problem by bringing in a number of guest players ranging from a number of different vocalists to a kazoo player. Song names such as “Lynyrd Skynyrd Memorial Tractor Pull”, “Bob Eubanks Initiation Ritual and Subsequent Cumbia” and “A Sandwich for Adolph” lend more than a clue of what’s in store on this re-release of this four track recorded album.  On “Bowling for Appliances”, an adult-sized triple scoop of Frank Zappa insanity has been channeled through a Casio keyboard.

There’s a feeling of surprise even after repeated listenings as the music goes from showtunes to recycled 50’s or 60’s TV advertisements to rap.  Subversiveness often comes through in the lyrics, like when Joe sings about frozen turds on a stick, which listeners will find either childish or appealing.   Michael Jackson references are made through high-pitched singing on the rap tune “The Fog and The Dew”.  Joe has the strange ability to simultaneously crawl under the skin and entertain on both the shouted part of “Waltz of The Mortgage Bankers” and the awkward instrumental “Ernest Borgnine Reprise”.   It is baffling and a credit to the talent here how “Protect and Serve” in an instant goes from upbeat show tune to shouting over keyboard tinkering yet the context still makes perfect sense.    While it can be unsettling listening, those seeking out music of a more bizarre nature and those who delight in watching the antics of bag ladies should be magnetically pulled towards “Bowling For Appliances”.


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