Muni Kulasinghe’s howling vocals, his violin skittering across the music like beads of water on a hot skillet. John Sandlin’s ax felling bar after bar of music with ferocious dexterity. Jared Putnam’s slaphappy bass and slyly sweet vocals. Drummer Fernando Garavito’s irresistibly low-down grooves. It’s all here on six covers the group has perfected over the last few years on the bandstand. The many high points include the churchy baroque intro to “House of the Rising Sun,” which then descends into fevered desperation, Sandlin’s solo on “Belleville Rendez-Vous” drunkenly dancing across a fence top, and the deliriously locked-in groove between Putnam and Garavito on “Minnie the Moocher.” “Frère Jacques,” “Straight Up” and “La Mer” round out the collection, each with its own ear-opening moments of inspired lunacy. While paying close attention to every tiny detail—the dabs of echo on “Jacques,” the perfectly timed cat’s yowl on “Belleville”—Le Chat plays with a demonic abandon that makes you suspect they’re having even more fun that we are. (MM) CD release on Saturday, Dec. 5 at El Rey Theater!
There has been a lot of Nirvana news lately, from the Live at Reading release to the depressing controversy over Guitar Hero 5’s decision to allow gamers to use a character modeled after the late Kurt Cobain to sing Bush and Bon Jovi songs. Amid all the fuss, Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary re-release of Bleach, a “deluxe edition” that includes a complete live Nirvana show from 1990, is really the only noteworthy event. Nirvana’s first album, with Chad Channing on the drummer’s throne that would later belong to Dave Grohl, features plenty of SST rip-offs and manically depressed screams from Cobain, who was still seeking his voice as a songwriter. This higher-fidelity version of Bleach is enjoyably rough and mean. Hopefully songs like “About a Girl” and “Negative Creep” also point young listeners back to bands like Mudhoney, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr., who Nirvana was basically impersonating at this point. (AP)
(MM) Mel Minter, (AP) Adam Perry