Life in a Blender
This collective have been creating music on the New York underground scene for close to two decades. In that time, they’ve tried earned a reputation as a “chamber pop” band. Their latest outing, Satsuma, is a collection of six spikey, punkish tunes inspired by a book club reading list.
The record opens with the horn driven “Vacancy for Bluebirds” (inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s “A Man Without a Country”). It’s sort of a tale of life during wartime with the protagonist schlepping through day-to-day grind, but still willing to fight the good fight. “Party in the Drunken Forest” (inspired by The Secret Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben) has pretty harmonies and lyrics about aphids and rising sap. “Freak of Nature with a Broken Heart” (inspired by Dean Haspiel’s The Red Hook comics) sounds like it should be in an episode of Stranger Things.
I find “Soul Deliverer” (inspired by Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife) compelling and vaguely disturbing. The characters seem to live in the same world as the reapers in Dead Like Me. The song is propulsive and upbeat with lyrics “I know my days are numbered” and “I’ve tried to kill myself a thousand times.” It’s good to know that someone or something will be there to guide you when you move on from this life.
As you might expect, songs derived from literary sources give the writers a lot to work with. Don Rauf spins out some colorful wordplay. When was the last time you heard someone sing, “you should see me in my tighty whities” or use the word kattywampus in a song? Now I’m inspired to track down the source stories to get the whole story.
The CD package includes a book with cocktail recipes from artists and bar tenders. Just an incentive to get the hard copy of Satsuma, and (as if 2020 wasn’t providing enough) another reason to keep drinking.