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Monday, July 28, 2014

Blotto - Hello, My Name is Blotto, What's Yours?

Name: Blotto
Album: Hello, My Name is Blotto, What's Yours?
Year: 1979
Style: College, Indie, Silly, New Wave
Similar Bands: Fabulous Fondas, Coolies, B-52s, The Fools, Weird Al, Devo
"One-Word" Review: Nerd-Wacky Disco-Surf
Based out of: Albany, NY
Label: Self-Released
 Hello, My Name is Blotto, What's Yours? - Cover & Record
 Hello, My Name is Blotto, What's Yours? - Back & Record

Hello, My Name is Blotto, What's Yours? (1979)
  1. I Wanna Be A Life Guard 4:10
  2. (We Are) The Nowtones 3:40/
  3. Stop; In the Name Of Love 4:26
  4. Bud...Is After Us 4:33
Album Rating (1-10): 7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Bowtie Blotto - Guitars, Vox (Star Spangled Washboard Band)
Sarge Blotto - Vox, Cover, Percussion, (Star Spangled Washboard Band)
Broadway Blotto - Guitars, Vox  (Star Spangled Washboard Band)
Blanche Blotto - Vox, Keys
Lee Harvey Blotto (Paul Rapp) - Drums
Cheese Blotto (Keith Stephenson) - Bass
Art Snay - Engineer
Joe Schuyler - Photography
Farnsworth Blotto - Producer

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But I picked this up in a discount bin on record store day this year, as this album hit all my curiosity buttons. Good year: 1979, Nice, playful artwork, slightly copied by the Neutral Milk Hotel guys, and a delightfully homemade feel to the back liner notes and type font. They employed the now-familiar-with-Ween shtick of using the band names as part of their names, rendering them basically anonymous. I like the black and white scheme, andover all this has a very energetic feel to it. I was excited to see what this sounded like.

Album Review: So these guys formed from the ashes of a comical act called the Star Spangled Washboard Band. They played and toured a lot, so it seems, and even went so far to carve their star in history by being shown as the 34th video on MTV’s inaugural day for their single here, I Wanna Be A Lifeguard.

“I Wanna Be A Life Guard” starts with a rumbling drum beat and surf guitars. Then the basic melody of the chorus plays on an organ/keyboard. The vocals are nasally and wacky in the tone and inflection of voice. The theme of the song is right out of the beach boys, updated by a nonsensical band. This could be a Weird Al song, too. The harmonized backing vocals really show a talent beyond the silliness that the mood creates. I particularly love the “Help Help Helps” of the chorus. And the final twist at the end is that instead of White Stuff on my nose, it changed to IN my nose. The song ends with the soft crashing of waves.
“(We Are) The Nowtones” is an introduction song of a fake band, or a stereotype of cover bands from their area back in the late 70’s. The song begins with a fake MC introducing the band to a club audience. The style is a slow surf song. The song introduces many typical things that bands went through or had: like roadies and sound man, and lighting experts. The song brings in a short section of disco, popular at the time, and probably a necessary part of cover bands from their era. The last section makes fun of the audiences of said cover bands, and it ends with the band saying thank you, which bands would typically do. All tongue in cheek.

“Stop; In the Name Of Love” takes the familiar doo-wop song and makes it disco. Again, I assume this is a mocking gesture of the style popular at the time: complete with whistles and a dancey bass beat that is almost more indie than disco at times (it is not as repetitious as typical disco). The vocals are exaggerated, and a little wacky as well, with the forced syllable stresses: a little showtuney.
“Bud...Is After Us” fades in with organ notes held and ringing in a 4 note pattern. Drums are slowly added, and the song takes on a ballad quality once the guitars and bass come in. But that was just the intro. The song becomes bass heavy, and the song has a minimal Gang of Four chanting feel. But of course, it is sillier than normal Post-Punk. The chorus breaks theme further, and is a power pop with harmonized sing along section with an up-melody lyric “leave everything to the joker.” The next section is an instrumental version of the Go4 section, or maybe more like Devo, and the power pop chorus is sung. A lofty chorus, reminding me of Danny Elfman’s Veruca Salt song from Charlie & Choco Factory floats by briefly, followed up with the post punk chant and neruodic, nervous vocals spoken over the chant. Keeping up with the song theme, I guess Bud, who was after them, was finally face to face with the singer, and he was “reasoning” with him.

Stand Out Track: I Wanna Be A Lifeguard

Links:
Discogs
Blotto.net
Nippertown
MTV
Allmusic
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