Music

The Key Party: Hit Or Hiss

The Key Party

Hit Or Miss

Label: Darrenn Gaines
US Release Date: 2006
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Darren Gaines, who is The Key Party, says things like, "The Key Party came to me like someone else's wife at 3 a.m. on a Friday night. Bingo. The lottery" and sings songs he calls "revolutionary songs and terroristic ballads". While Mr. Gaines' bio reads like an over arching caricature of a struggling rock and roll singer-songwriter, his record Hit Or Miss is substantially believable. Hit Or Miss is 15 songs of rock and roll poetry celebrating the debauched, the broken, the drunken and the misfitting. Gaines is a poet in the same sense that Exene or Lou Reed is a poet: as much about an attitude and a stance as about specific words and notes struck. Musically Gaines has a voice of tattered velvet that falls between Tom Waits and Steve Wynn (via The Dream Syndicate not Vegas). Gaines is comfortable with his acoustic guitar, the constructions basically folk in nature, and his steady strum anchors the songs before they are adorned with his band's chanting, clanging, orgiastic brew of complimentary noise. But it's Gaines' voice that fills these songs with attitude, his croon oozing around and through the cigarette smoke that shrouds these songs.

At 15 songs Hit or Miss is too long by five. There definitely feels like there's some filler here. Gaines has a habit of rewriting the same motif over and over, certainly lyrically if not always sonically, and that can get tiresome. But when The Key Party puts it all together on songs like "That's The Way We Do It Here" and "Just Not My Day", Gaines' rock and roll at all costs attitude is absolutely contagious. You can smell the leather pants and feel the stale beer, or something like that.

6

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image