Five Songs Not by Electric Six That an Electric Six Fan Would Probably Like

Trying to describe a band to someone who's never heard it usually requires a

reference to more than one other combo. Here are five songs that not only share

sonic similarities with the perverse party rock of Electric Six -- featured heavily in this week's issue and playing tonight

at the Culture Room -- but suggest why the band has survived the initial novelty

success of songs like "Gay Bar."

Roxy Music: "Editions of You"


rock stomps riddled with keyboard effects and horn solos, a flamboyant singer

taking romantic, reference-heavy lyrics past the point of absurdity -- early Roxy

Music is the most obvious predecessor to the Electric Six aesthetic. If Bryan

Ferry's ever looking for another encore cover, he could do a lot worse than

"Danger! High Voltage."


York Dolls: "Personality Crisis"


Six singer Dick Valentine isn't a fan of the downwardly mobile end of the

pre-punk era ("Not my cup of tea aesthetically. Roxy Music was smoother, more

reined in, aspiring to be better... the whole trash-glam thing just does nothing

for me"), but his "Future Boys"

and "Infected Girls"

still sound like the synthed-up children of David Johansen's prima ballerinas

and wolfmen howling at the moon (awoooo!). No one would be surprised to hear the

Dolls at the club described in E6's "After Hours."


Van Beethoven: "(I Was Born in a) Laundromat"


he was leading one of Detroit's finest party bands, Dick Valentine was Tyler

Spencer, one of those guys in the college dorm who really liked the college

rock. And few bands were more college rock than droll eclectics Camper Van

Beethoven. "Their last two albums from the '80s [Key Lime Pie and Our

Revolutionary Sweetheart] are phenomenal," says Dick, who's covered their

seething "When I Win the Lottery" at solo concerts.

The charging "Laundromat" would be an easy fit for the full


Magnetic Fields: "The Death of Ferdinand DeSaussure"


the underground was once full of brainy humorists like CVB's David Lowery, Devo,

and David Byrne, bands became a lot more lyrically earnest -- if they were even

coherent -- in the '90s and since. Though Dick is at a loss to namecheck bands

filling that niche for him today, he does have love for the Magnetic Fields. "I

think some of the lyrics on 69 Love Songs are genius," he says. If Merritt

dropped a vocoderless cover of Electric Six's "Making Progress,"

his fans would probably take it for an original.

Tenacious D: "Double



with that kind of pedigree, why are these guys treated like mere chucklehounds

by so many critics? Well, it's because if you removed the Spin Alternative

Record Guide from Electric Six, you'd basically have Tenacious D. The similarity

between Jack Black and Dick Valentine's hollers are especially evident on the

band's quieter numbers, a fact Dick calls out on the acoustic outtake "I'm on a


Though the Six's jokes don't get nearly as broad, both groups pay irreverent

tribute to rock's past -- Electric Six just salutes better bands.

-- Anthony Cohan-Miccio

Electric Six, with the Constellations and Blond Fuzz. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday,

October 5, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale.

Tickets cost $10. Click here.

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New Times Staff