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Monday, January 5, 2015

Mike G - Sugar Daddy

Name: Mike G
Album: Sugar Daddy
Year: 2000
Style: Lo-Fi Indie, Folk
Similar Bands: Grandaddy, Lincoln, Beck, Johnny Polanski, Ween, 
One Word Review: Harmonized Sludgy Warmth
Based Out Of: NYC? (recording @ Moose in NY)
Label: See Thru Broadcasting
 Sugar Daddy - Cover & CD
Sugar Daddy - Liner Notes & Back
Sugar Daddy (2000)
  1. Clothing Store Girl 2:13
  2. Standing at the Party 1:59
  3. Sugar Daddy 2:33
  4. Anything You Want 3:12
  5. I Hope 2:37
  6. Asian Girl 0:57
  7. Uh-Huh 1:56
  8. Frederique 2:42
  9. Plastic Monkeys 2:03
  10. Our Lives 1:00
  11. Nothing in the Sky 2:54
  12. Don't Get Any Better 1:16
  13. Not the End of the World 0:45
  14. I'm So Into You 2:47
  15. When We Speak 0:49
  16. Move On 1:31
Album Rating (1-10): 9.0

Members & Other Bands:
Mike G - Writing, Recording, Producing (Kabah, Dr. Manette, Pressure Point, Whiskey Rebels, Bill Hamel, Bray, US Roughnecks, Da Outsidaz, Four Finger Five)
Dave Berk - Writing, Drums (Johnny Moped, The Damned)
Greg Gordon - Co-producer, Transferring
D. Sardy - Executive Producer, Mixing
Jovar Andrews - Management
Seth Ginsberg - Legal
Marina Zurkow - Art Direction
Nancy Nowacek - Design
Susan Glenn-Matus - vocal

Unknown-ness: This record appeared on my CD shelf. I'm not sure when or why I bought it. Perhaps I read a brief snippet about this album, or perhaps I bought it because it was on the same record label as Enon & Starlight Mints at one time. I'm pretty sure I got it used for a few bucks. Based on the artwork, I would not be able to tell what kind of music was in store. It is bright, so I imagine it will be cheery. The font for Sugar Daddy has a bubblegum 60's pop feel to it, so perhaps it is fun & cheery. In the liner notes, he describes the music as noise, so perhaps it won't be fun and cheery, unless that description is just self-degrading. And unless the songs are 1-3 minutes long each, this will be a long album. But it seems very DIY too, so that offers some sort of catchy indie hope.

Album Review: What is to follow are 16 sketches and musical experiments. All catchy and poppy, but nothing fleshed out to a full song template style. I imagine these are DIY at home demos that were fleshed out half-way, but no plans were engaged to add or combined the individual thoughts. This one only one of four or five bands ever on the short, but brightly shining label See Thru Broadcasting. The samples here are tied together with the nasally and precious vocals that are closely related to Jason Lytel

“Clothing Store Girl” is a beatnik poem set to a simple jazzy three piece instrumental. It is funky, and then there is a fuzzy, noisy interlude. It jumps right back into the familiar melody, and enhances things with a Ween like fuzzed out guitar. It is simple and one dimensional, but a nice “period piece” that could also be described as slightly Captain Beefheart in nature. 
“Standing at the Party” also brings a funky bass and drum beat that I'd associate with BS 2000. The vocals, are rigid and again, it reminds me part of Ween and part of Beck, and a dash of Soul Coughing. It’s silly effects and vocal effects don’t detract from the song at all, which makes it a solid concept song.
“Sugar Daddy” is a dripping, slippery, harmonized pop single sung with light inflection like the majority of Grandaddy songs.  
“Anything You Want” is more folky at the beginning (the acoustic Flaming Lips stuff). A strong kick drum balances the light tambourine percussion, and the melody cruises along a steady path unchallenged. The vocals are slight and pining for affection in an Ass Ponies, or Lincoln way. But the general sentiment and melody of the song is identical to Johnny Polanski’s stuff.  
“I Hope” is a wash of gargling vocals and warbling electro-tinged instruments. It feels a little like a Rentals song, where there is a solid and simple power pop melody at the base of the song. The layering of instruments in the instrumental section is a driving, building “Spy Hunter/Theme of Peter Gunn” stylistic parody.When the weight of the additives becomes too much, the song emplodes in a fade out.
“Asian Girl” reminds me of Captain Beefheart, in an awkward amateur recording that is also unsteady and feels as if it could topple over at any time. It’s weird with a foot stop tempo.
“Uh-Huh” features a techno drum loop and catchy four power chord progression of fuzzy guitar. This feels like a song idea that was not fleshed out completely. It is a party song with the only lyrics Uh Huh, Come On and Yeah.
“Frederique” is a slow Starlight Mints like song in the beginning, but it never follows through on the complex melody the Mints employ. The vocals are quiet and hushed, like Grandaddy again. The song is sung in Spanish, but as most of the song sounds like a western tinged campfire song, an electronic element is added that brings the technological age into the song.

“Plastic Monkeys” is a side to side jangley guitar with a harmimonica played in the background. The vocals are a little distorted, and it has a bright, nasally, slacker voice. It never progresses beyond a sing-a-long intro & harmonica status.
“Our Lives” rests on the harmonized vocals holding and stretching notes an extra-long time. It is a solem and hsort number.
“Nothing in the Sky” reminds me of the deadpan delivery of Marcy’s Playground’s “Sex & Candy.” With the thick electric guitar and drum loop.
“Don't Get Any Better” reminds me exactly of the band Lincoln that opened for TMBG, who also lost their guitarist to TMBG. It is nasally, thoughtful vocals over a jangley guitar full of catcy melodies and a steady cymbal percussion beat.
“Not the End of the World” continues in a slightly different direction with the previous song’s style. The rapping drum beat seems out of tune with the rest of the melodies.
“I'm So Into You” begins with a bunch of annoying La-la-la’s but it quickly sheds that and becomes a powerful chugging guitar heavy track, reminding me of Track Star in its lo-fi production. It has the cleanest power-pop guitar hook, and it is produced with a steady density that is completely streamlined. It builds very nicely, and delivers in the chorus with harmonized sludgy warmth.
“When We Speak” heads back to the singer songwriter acoustic guitar and vocals. It is slow in its delivery, at least comparatively to the rest of the album. And does not last long, as it fades out before it has a chance to change or recover.
“Move On” is the album ender, but it feels like it should just be followed by 16 more rapid fire song sketches and bleeding heart sympathy. Like many of the songs that came before it, it feels a little old timey in the simplicity and delivery of the vocal-guitar pairing. But it is the other tidbits and electronic flourishes that keep it deeper than a harmless singer songwriter’s journal. 

Stand Out Track: I'm So Into You

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