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Johnny Iguana and The Claudettes Album Release
Punk Jazz Piano Blues
- Friday, May 25, 2018
BOX OFFICE 612-332-5299
The Claudettes Media
About The Claudettes
An old upright piano, a snarling electric bass, Phil Spector-ized booming drums and seductive Cool School vocals get into a punk-blues brawl at the studio of Grammy-winning Black Keys producer Mark Neill. On their head-spinning new album, The Claudettes summon vaudeville blues, ’60s soul and Cramps-like psychobilly. Behold Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium!, the band’s third full-length, released March 23, 2018 and first to feature their touring lineup of piano, drums, “Bass VI” guitar and three singers.
Across all these songs, pianist/songwriter Johnny Iguana airs grievances about the numbing and divisive effects of an Internet-dominated world. “Nobody knows how to talk to each other these days,” begins the song “Give It All Up for Good,” while “Bill Played Saxophone” follows American political nemeses through periods of smoldering bitterness and revenge fantasies. “Death and Traffic” begs for stories of saved lives and heroism amidst the onslaught of bad news, then “Utterly Absurd” bemoans the age of the hair-trigger Google search: “Thought dies as transmission rise … ‘fast and now’ killed ‘I know how.’” And need anything more be said about the prescience of “Naked on the Internet”?
Neill invited the Claudettes to his Georgia studio after being introduced to the band by Dave Cobb (Grammy-winning producer of Sturgill Simpson and Lake Street Dive). The Claudettes recorded at Soil of the South for ten days, taking advantage of Neill’s vast knowledge and collection of vintage equipment. What’s traditional on Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium! are the blues, soul and rock ’n’ roll touchstones, and the antique instruments and equipment used to document them. What’s new comes through in the punk-laced energy and sum total of these songs, the musicians, and producer Neill, who describes this album thusly: “Haunted cabaret … David Lynch movie music crossed with Allen Toussaint’s driving piano sound! And sort of like when you’re driving late at night in the South and two radio stations are coming in together and it’s perfect! … Like Otis Spann and Mark Sandman from Morphine sitting in with Keely Smith. I’m kind of riffing here but seriously nobody sounds like them … I love this new record, it’s crazy good.”
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Boasts punk spirit, earworm melodies, and a neo-retro sound that’s loaded with appeal …” —The Second Disc
“With elements of blues, soul, punk, and flat-out noise, the quartet have something truly unique that you have to hear to understand — even if it only succeeds to confuse you more.” —Girl Underground Music
“[The band’s new lineup] has only made the Claudettes’ distinct and idiosyncratic blend — punk, blues, R&B, rockabilly, some jazz — more potent.” —Billboard
“”Every song on the album gives me a jumpstart, I hear so many levels of what I consider amazing creativity that it is hard to dissect … this album will end up on a very special list at the end of the year.” —No Depression
“A revelatory blend of jazz and blues, stirred with punk brio. There are also dashes of classical and world music, and enough stops, starts and hairpin turns to suggest the giddiness of Raymond Scott’s cartoon music…How do they do it?” – Chicago Tribune
“Chicago’s premiere punk-blues piano-drums duo are back in high gear. Their fusion of sounds (ranges) from Otis Spann to the Minutemen and from Ray Charles to Raymond Scott…(and they) do wicked things to standards.” – Chicago Sun Times