Published on January 26th, 2011 | by Chip Copeland2
Music Reviews: Abominable No Men, Ando Ehlers
I first heard of the Abominable No Men back in September 2010 when my esteemed colleague Dr. Andrew Whorehall caught them live at Mary’s Place. I have to concur with his initial assumptions about their music but at the same time throw in my own two cents.
These guys are screwed up in the head and might be a good example of why presenting too many of your influences within the same work might be a bad thing. I feel as if they’re still searching for some kind of creative middle ground that will reconcile the pastiche of their work into one consistent sound that doesn’t leave some listeners scratching their heads. While the group from Beloit, Wisconsin present thoughtfully constructed music I have a feeling that their work might be better represented in a concert setting where anything goes. This record has three different sections that almost dilute the whole presentation of songs.
In the first two tracks, Bygones and Fine Wine, you’re treated to the type of shuffle gypsy punk that Gogol Bordello has been perfecting for years; until the songs take a left turn into Jethro Tull prog rock glory. In the middle you’re treated to a Queens of the Stone Age or Supergrass vibe with the songs Long Days, Trying Times, and Bad Vibes. The last triumvirate of songs (Last Setting Sun, Means to an End, Away, Away, Away…) head into indie rock territory usually occupied by bands like Broken Social Scene, Sonic Youth, and Built to Spill.
All in all, this is a disjointed listen from start to finish but if you were to split it up into three different EP’s you would have three different bands. I personally enjoyed the ‘QOTSA’ and ‘Indie Rock’ sections of the record. I’m interested to see what they do on the next record. Minor quibbles: The production was dry in an overly compressed kind of way and lacking some warmth throughout; would be interested in seeing what Crankupmadonna producer Mike Hagler could do with these guys. The drummer uses way too much China cymbal. I hate China or Junk cymbals and I think the music would improve 1.3% if he stopped using it.
You can purchase the self titled record through their website abominablenomen.com
Death Polka is a new genre to me but evidently has found a home in the dark recesses of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to which the keeper of it’s sacred flame is Ando Ehlers. Just as with the existing Polkacore, POPka, and Indie Beardie Polk movements springing up out of the southwest, middlewest, and eastwestwest of the country; Ehlers is keeping it real with a passion and zeal not seen by some since early Stooges-era Iggy Pop. Fans of earlier work by The Decemberists should also take notice of his articulate lyricism laid over the skillfully placed angelic tones of Ehlers’ accordian.
His single Who Cares? is a shanty sing-along that will soon become a hit throughout German Bier Halls including our own Das CJ’s Loungenhoffen. Ando hat auf einige neue Tracks im Studio, was wohl sein wird genauso intensiv wie seine frÃ¼heren Arbeiten begann. Hoffentlich wird er Gelegenheit haben, seine musikalische Vision mit mehr Instrumentierung und Bier zu verlÃ¤ngern! MÃ¶chten Sie nicht, SpaÃŸ zu haben Bier getrunken und abrocken bis Hardcore Death-Polka dann haben Sie keine Seele und Sie essen Affe Kot zum FrÃ¼hstÃ¼ck. Das ist Punk hier, Kunst zu schaffen und tut es nach Ihren eigenen Vorstellungen. In dieser Hinsicht Ando Ehlers ein echtes Original.
Two songs are available for FREE download on his website deathpolka.com
He will be returning to The House Cafe February 15th.