Every once in a while, a great, truly progressive, truly talented local novelty (or semi-novelty) band comes along – and then disappears about as furiously.
About a year ago, the nut du jour was MC Robot, whose one and only recording is a concept demo about a robot trying to get back home to Canada. Or something. Before Robot there was one of Nathan Brown’s (dozens of) side projects, an unintentionally funny outfit called A.C. Identity: three guys, two keyboards, and one guitar. Best, seriously funny track: “Business Children,” with guest vocals by a Speak N Spell. Today, the best has to be The RiverCrest Yacht Club, a satirical but deadly talented rap group a la MC Hawking and MC Chris. The Yacht Club’s 16-track eponymous demo starts off with an ominous, atmospheric synth soundscape over which one of the rappers says, “This is for my boys from the suburbs / Still stuck in middle management / Welcome to the Yacht Club.”
Then a huge, synth-brass riff comes bouncing in, and the song goes big pimpin’. All of the beats on the album, in fact, are expertly arranged and are as tough and melodic as any you’d find on any Nas or Biggie album, relatively speaking – I don’t know, but I’m betting that, unlike Nas and Biggie, the Yacht Clubbers don’t spend $80,000 on every song. Still, there are some really nice touches. On “Electronic Philharmonic,” whose chorus is “The sun never sets on this empire,” a synthesized male chorus lends some background chants. B-movie organ tones buzz through “Robot Jox,” and disco clunks and claps do the Hustle on the Paul’s Boutique-ish “Shake!” Even more surprising, for such a low-budget, lo-fi project, the rappers’ flow is really freaking good. They get ahead of or behind the beats seemingly at whim. They’re also really freaking funny.
There’s a lot of boasting and toasting, but it’s always within a chip shot of the Club. On the toe-tapping, New Wave-y “On the Mic,” one of the rappers slyly transports you from your car, your computer, or wherever you might be listening to the yacht. “I keep my life jacket on at all times / Float by the boat as I drop my rhymes.” And from the opener, a kind of theme song to a superhero cartoon that never was: “I was fightin’ crime in Russia, chasin’ ghosts in Madrid / They would have got away / If it weren’t for us, kid / I came back, y’all / Saw that beacon in the sky / Got my voice-powered yacht to the ‘Crest in overdrive.” One of the rappers also, apparently, is a dentist. His handle is DJ MC DDS, and on his eponymously titled track, where we learn that his brain has been implanted into a monkey’s body, he raps: “As a monkey dentist, I can tell you don’t floss / Your gums are black like sweet plum sauce / Your teeth aren’t white, they are covered in moss / … I won’t use pliers, I won’t use restraints / I’ll lean on you hard with my savage monkey strength.”
Basically, fun bands like the Yacht Club don’t come around often, so support ’em while you can. Order a c.d. at RiverCrest.Yacht.Club@gmail.com.
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