Soundbites- Gogol Bordello, The Pietasters, The Sippy Cups

July 18th, 2007

The party continues on ‘Super Taranta!’
By Josh Eiserike
Thursday, July 12, 2007

• Gogol Bordello “Super Taranta!” (Side One Dummy)

If Rolf the Muppet’s Romanian cousin fronted a high-octane punk-rock gypsy music band, it would probably sound like Gogol Bordello. Comprised of mostly Lower East Side immigrants, Gogol Bordello features an insanely absurd mix of fiddle, accordion and other untraditional instruments (fire buckets?!). Their all-night gypsy-punk keg party continues on their sixth album, “Super Taranta!” – and they keep up the energy through the entire record. Sure, there are obvious influences like gypsy music and The Clash, but tracks like “Tribal Connection” and “American Wedding” showcases the band’s unique instrumental and songwriting prowess. The title track closer is the strongest, revisiting themes from earlier songs and featuring an extended breakneck fiddle and drum outro.

* Gogol Bordello perform Wednesday at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. N.W., Washington D.C. Tickets: $25. 703-573-SEAT or 930.com.

• The Pietasters “All Day” (Indication Records)

James Brown – good. Bob Marley – bad. That about sums up “All Day,” the sixth latest slice from the Washington, D.C.-based ska band. “All Day” splits the bands soul and reggae influences, without much of a third-wave sensibility that made previous albums such a pleasure. For one glorious night in 2003, the band backed James Brown at a D.C. concert – and “All Day” really cooks when the band takes their cue from the Godfather of Soul on tracks like “Change My Ways” and “Keep on Lyin’.” The reggae-inspired stuff drags and runs together – for a band known for drunken, high-energy concerts, it’s too much of an indulgence. Retro production choices and a strong songwriting sensibility keeps things enjoyable – the way it should be with The Pietasters.

* The Pietasters perform July 21 at The State Theatre, 220 N Washington St., Falls Church. Tickets: $15. Doors at 7 p.m.

• The Sippy Cups “Electric Storyland” (Snacker Disc)

Ignore the lyrics and skits, and “Electric Storyland” is a solid rock album. Sure, it’s kids’ music, but as They Might Be Giants and Matt Pryor have shown, music for children doesn’t have to be Raffi. “Electric Storyland” has songs about vocabulary and Jell-O, but more importantly, it rocks. “Magic Toast” owes just as much to Elton John as it does to different flavors of jam. Album highlight “The Jellyfish” sounds like it could have almost been a b-side to just about any late ’90s R.E.M. piano ballad. Other tracks, like “Springtime Fantastic” crank up the guitar (but not too loud). Enjoy this now, until the kids get older and “High School Musical” finds its way into the dashboard stereo.

*The Sippy Cups perform 10:30 a.m. Friday at Jammin’ Java, 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna. Tickets: $12.50. jamminjava.com.

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