By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
Dark Side of the Man EP
Is this Mark Mallman's and Ryan Olcott's homosexual love album? I realize it kicks off with the evocative sound of a whip cracking and a cat screeching--suggesting the reverse of being pussy-whipped, or the use of a cat-o'-nine tails. There are admittedly two female voices credited by first names, Alberta and Missy, and one raps the phrase "split the kitty" at some point. There's even a slowed-down male voice straight out of Prince's "Bob George" bragging about being an "ex-wife maker" who'll "take your basic homemaker, take her home and make her!" But that sounds kind of strained, doesn't it?--like locker-room talk with an eye on other cocks. The track is called "Dark Side of the Man" (and surfaced last year on a compilation from the Brooklyn label Mogul Electro, E2: ElectroClash Vol. 2), and Man's needs are the great subject of Mallman and the 12 Rods singer, whether or not they'll need each other as future husbands.
In case you hadn't guessed, these gifted art rockers have convened an electro sidebar: This is their late entry into Minneapolis's synth singalong sweepstakes, where Telephone and Mr. Hawaii Dude run the party and Har Mar Superstar is our Prince. Coming from guys this creative, the results feel like warm-up, but there's still a great single--and maybe a great b-side--at the heart of this six-song CD. At first I thought the chorus of the grinding, crackling, hilarious "Digi as Fuck" was "bitchy ass fuck." Then I thought it was "bitchy as fuck." Now I think it's actually "Digi Ass Fuck" in disguise: Check out how, above the firecracker beats and bone-simple synthesizers, the female voices return to squeal what sounds like a paean to rough trade: "We entered through the back door/Rear-ended in the trap door/We meet and part as strangers/Though our hearts will meet as rangers/The dress code is restricting/Nothing is loose fitting." And then the male voice introducing the catchy-as-fuck "Chiki Chiki Boyz" (which sounds like "cheeky cheeky boys") seems to suddenly catch itself in the mirror, laughing: "That's right/That's right/That's kind of gay, though."
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