An assemblage of musicians the caliber of Marc Ribot, Ches Smith and Shahzad Ismaily usually signals that this is going to be seriously nerdy jazz, but Ceramic Dog is, in many ways, the exact opposite. Sure, there are times that they play stuff that match their elevated skill levels, but the band isn’t about that; it’s just an outlet for Ribot to play some rock ‘n’ roll. In his case, it’s rock ‘n’ roll with a rebellious streak, and many times, the boys are just stirring up a ruckus. They don’t bring the jazz, most of the time not even the whack jazz, but they do bring loads o’ ‘tude, which fuels all of their songs.
They’re about to bring it again because the second album is set for release. Like their debut album Party Intellectuals (2008), Your Turn is a shitload of fun, even when they’re angry at something or someone or themselves. And within this left-field punk rock aesthetic, it’s surprisingly diverse. There’s one song from there that exemplifies their party mood even as they’re trying to send a serious message, and that’s “Masters Of The Internet.”
Ribot described this song lyrically as an example of where the band made a “wry comment on the contradictions of producing a recording during the collapse of the industry which once paid for recordings to be produced,” and I’m glad he cleared that up because it’s hard to make out a lot of the prose, which is chanted out through a mike made to sound like a megaphone. Actually, he’s rapping it, and he’s rapping it like a Beastie Boy. And I just love that; it’s part of that ‘tude I was telling you about. Smith is meting out a commanding tribal beat and the chorus is some exotic, Arabian strain. It’s hard to banish from inside your cranium; it’s catchy in its defiance. The only thing the album track is missing is Ribot capping it off with one of his signature off kilter shredding, as he does on the live performance video above.
“Masters Of The Internet” is a grin-inducing gas alright, but wait ’till you hear the rest of the record.
Your Turn is due out April 30, by Northern Spy Records.
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