Condo Fucks: Fuckbook

Do you remember Rock 'n' Roll radio?

Condo Fucks


Contributors: Yo La Tengo
Label: Matador
US Release Date: 2009-03-24
UK Release Date: 2009-03-24
Japan release date: 2009-03-24

As a concept, the genesis of New London, CT mock legends Condo Fucks seems easy to understand. Simply put, legit Hoboken legends Yo La Tengo had an urge to release an “easy” album but weren’t exactly dying to have it judged against its usual high standards (the band's last covers album, 2006’s Murdering the Classics, wasn’t so ironically titled). Either that, or the trio simply relishes the opportunity to role play, which isn't so strange, really. Remember when David Johansen released an album as “Buster Poindexter” in the late ‘80s? Okay, well, that’s not exactly what’s going on here, but still, intentions unconsidered, this genre-specific-alias-side-project thingy is actually superb.

Let’s commence with the Fucks’ version of the Beach Boys’ classic “Shut Down”. From the count-off, it serves as faithful a garage gem as any -- brutally short on technique but miles long on attitude. Sure, the vocals are messily obscured behind chugging guitar and an ash-can drumbeat, but the point here is an energetic approximation. Crucially, the power of a good, primitive rendition lies in its re-creation of the original in purely rudimentary terms. The Fucks’ “Shut Down” provides grinding proof of this, a performance that lends unusual grit to the 1960s car song. (Remember, too, the band first honored the brothers Wilson in 1997 with an overdriven homage on I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One’s “Little Honda”.)

Now, granted, a lot of the material revisited here was pretty primitive to begin. Richard Hell’s “The Kid With the Replaceable Head” for instance, nabs a fittingly garbled Fuckbook entry whose no-fi values might even be said to improve on the original. It opens with some loopy major-scale riffing right before Kid Condo (guitarist Ira Kaplan) launches into the first verse through what sounds like an antique baby monitor. Still, for my money, the chorus’ execution really makes the track, if only for Kid’s perfectly inflected yelp on the line, “They say he’s dead / He’s my three best friends".

The album opener “What’cha Gonna Do About It” (originally by the Small Faces) supplies another highlight, setting the record’s pacing at a clip, as it seethes beneath brawny guitar curls. Likewise, Slade’s “Gudbuy T’Jane” closes out a raucous set, as the Fucks’ get visceral for a reading that struts with almost as much charisma as its predecessor. The only really low points come with the album’s more laid-back material, such as the Kinks’ “This Is Where I Belong” and the Troggs’ “With a Girl Like You”. On these two unremarkable tracks, the guitar is simply too loud, overpowering the vocals entirely.

Ultimately, though, with Fuckbook, Condo Fucks muster an exceptionally good garage-rock record and provide another worthy addition to an already (albeit mysteriously deleted) classic oeuvre. Furthermore, as the casual profanity of its name suggests, the band excels with the kind of material that prizes brash muscularity over anything nearing stylistic finesse. Closing remarks? It’s clumsy, cheap, loud, fast and endlessly re-playable.





Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".


The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?


Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.


Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.


Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.


Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.


Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.


Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.


Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.


Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.