Need New Body
w/the Belles, the Dark Places

Thurs Nov 21, Graceland, $7.

Unlike cheap romance novels and simple arithmetic, Need New Body's complicated sounds can't simply be summed up. Featuring four ex-members of cult art-rock band Bent Leg Fatima, the Philadelphia six-piece relies on intricate, dancey beats to shape its music. Their instrumental arsenal is also heavily loaded: Guitar, bass, banjo, percussion instruments made from plastic toolboxes and bicycle wheels, a spastically kickass drummer, and a mountain of magical tenor/bass harmonies chaotically ignite above the beats. The band's sound is a musical gumbo, exploring all sorts of rhythm--funk, dub, jazz--and roasting it with the sharp punk tong.

"Someone recently told us we sounded like Sugarhill Gang; I thought that was really good. You could say we sound like Sun Ra, but that's really gay," jokes Need New Body's keyboardist/singer Dale Jimenez.

Need New Body is one of those rare bands that's both talented and funny (in a post-Frank Zappa/post-David Cross way). Live, they come off like a maniacal oompah group, unafraid of performance art and dancing around like lunatics. Vocalist/banjo player Jeff Bradbury has been known to amplify this magical energy by wearing a gold Aztec god outfit, complete with sparkly muumuu and hawk mask, and making hilariously inappropriate comments (Ex.: "So... my boys back here need to get laid.").

Ultimately, Need New Body is the collision of six insanely talented musicians who possess a tightly wired, pre-apocalyptic, absurd sense of humor. As Jimenez explains, "We're trying to find a middle ground between six people and all our musical and life influences. We come from different places; Jeff [Bradbury] and I used to go to hardcore shows--we were into straightedge and skateboarding and shit like that. Our drummer, Chris [Powell], was this random dude into heavy metal and punk rock, [organist/vocalist] Jamie Robinson went to school for music, and [bassist] Chris R. came from North Jersey... which is a whole other story." He concludes, "But for some reason, we're connected on some other level." That connection might have something to do with the guy on the mic wearing a gold lamé nightgown and dancing around the audience like a chicken.

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