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The Polkaholics

Polka Über Alles

(self-released)

I like the idea of The Polkaholics—polka punkers who like to party—because a lot of the lousy fast punk songs I’ve heard start sounding like polka after a while anyway.  The Polkaholics ditch the traditional polka instruments (no trumpets or accordions here, kids) in favor of guitar, bass, and drums, and basically rock out as hard as they can for as long as they can.  It sounds like a lot of fun, and the song titles are fantastic.  I mean, it should be impossible to write a bad song when it’s called “Pimps of Polka”, “Beer, Broads and Brats” (that’s Bratwurst, kids), “Beer (Breakfast of Champions)” or “Let’s Kill Two Beers with One Stein”.  The performances are appropriately sloppy, and lead vocalist “Dandy” Don Hedeker has a sort of Evil Joe Strummer thing going on, so that’s A-OK, but they consistently fall into the trap of getting too caught up in themselves.  There’s no way that a song as musically repetitive (and startlingly conventional) as “(I Gotta) Get Old Disgracefully” should go on for five-and-a-half minutes, and even the sub-three-minute “Beer, Broads, and Brats” has about three false endings too many.  None of this is to mention that when they leave the polka behind and just start to rock, they just sound like your typical alcohol-fueled garage band that should never have made a CD in the first place.  If they stick with the polkapunk and tighen up the songs, these guys could be fantastic—as it is, they’re not so much a party as they are the next day’s headache.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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