Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Black Jake and the Carnies

Sundry Mayhems

2011-06-23

If Alice Cooper and the Flaming Lips decided to join the Pogues and Gorgol Bordello in a tribute to Bill Monroe, it would be Black Jake and the Carnies. This side show band hailing from Ypsilanti is a mix of bluegrass, klezmer, ragtime, punk and street theatre. They bring banjo driven frenetic madness to live shows with a chicken head strobe light, a banjo lit like the marquee on an Elephant Ear Vendor's trailer and balloons, beach balls and tombstones. With one foot firmly planted in 19th Century instrumentation and the other stomping the 21st Century into the mud, the Carnies are a sight to behold; even in audio. Their CD "Sundry Mayhems" is explosive, ancient and up to date. From the klezmer inspired title track through a psychedelic hobo song, snake oil, rat problems, cheery murder ballads, first person mental anguish and a zombie chicken, this new disc is wicked fun. "Old E Cross" and "Ypsitucky Rustbelt Revival" are Michigan songs. "My Angel Marie" and "My Evil Friend" just might creep you out. The last three tracks almost whiff of social commentary, but its buried under the all the scratch and twang. Black humor and post-apocalyptic madness abound. Reviewed By:
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    Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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