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Artist: Rubby Boys

Album: Rubby Boys

Label: Spirit Of Orr

Review date: Dec. 1, 2004

Besides being one of the most entertaining e-catalogs to click through, Spirit of Orr is putting out some pretty interesting music these days. With the likes of Josh Burkett, Sunburned Hand of the Man and Deluxx already on the imprint – and New England spirit-channelers Matt Valentine, Erika Elder, Corsano & Flaherty poised to go under the stylus in limited edition vinyl offerings – a host of agitated DIY manufacturers must be left itching their addled heads.

One of Spirit’s newest, the Rubby Boys’ self-titled and hand-packaged CD-R, does an admirable job resurrecting the ol’ ‘lo-fidelity,’ whilst introducing it to a few superbly new trappings: old SCTV videos, perplexing swatches of AM radio newscasts, absurdist theatre and some percussive one-offs not unlike Jean Dubuffet’s Expériences Musicales. Not to say that some of this music doesn’t ‘rock’; how could it not, with a personnel comprised of members of Sunburned Hand of the Man (Rich Pontius, Phil Franklin [also of time-traveling aural hagiographers, Caroliner]), and Feathers (Greg Petravato)?

The first two tracks are fantastically scummy renditions of German Oak/Guru Guru styled prog, fitted with an early This Heat mind-set - revealing less is sexier, so load up on the bass fuzz, the broken no-name electric guitar and non sequitur salad. Other pieces include a Sears Roebuck six-stringed freakout reminiscent of early Union Pole-era Wham-O cassettes; a Westing By Musket & Sextant throwback Casio-shocked screecher; a meditatively minimal guitar and horn piece lifted from Beck’s Stereopathetic Soul Manure; and some of those somewhat disturbing SCTV-like antic fits.

Nothing new here, but that’s really not the point. The CD-R’s inside label reveals this grammatically ‘hopeless wish:’ “Would what is old, would make us new.” Given this, it’s obvious this trio isn’t interested in jackhammering musical ground anew; they’re just popping a few beers, packing a few bowls, and dragging out the 4-track. And this CD-R acts as a nearly perfect soundtrack to the aforementioned activities, sans 4-track.

By Stewart Voegtlin

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