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Slow

Slow

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Price: $22.00

Product Notes

Art rockers, baroque space age nihilists, electro-glam popsters, no one is ever quite sure how to describe The Mechanical Walking Robotboy. To confuse matters further, the group who's been compared to everyone from the Velvet Underground, and Ziggy period Bowie, to Radiohead and the Cure hail from San Antonio Texas the "Heavy Metal Capitol of the World". Mixing equal parts '70s Glam, '80s post-punk and '90s electronica, Robotboy has been challenging audiences over the last eight years with a strange mix of echoey guitars, weird synthesizer noises and heavy danceable beats. Their 2000 debut CD release "Baby, Baby, Baby We're All Doomed" yielded rave reviews across the state and won them a 2001 CitySearch nomination for best San Antonio band. Slow, their 2006 release, looks to make an even bigger splash. But unlike most "new" groups, The Mechanical Walking Robotboy has deep roots reaching back to the origins of Texas underground music. Robotboy began in 1997 as the brainchild of singer/songwriter Christopher "Smarty" Smart. Smarty was a pioneer in the San Antonio underground music scene in 1980 with his British postpunk influenced high school band Platform of Youth (with ex-members of the Rejects and future members of Fearless Iranians from Hell). By 1982 they evolved into the now "legendary" Texas darkwave band Lung Overcoat. In their six year history, the Overcoats toured the states and played support for everyone from early shows by the Butthole Surfers and Poison 13 to Public Image LTD, Joy Division label mates Section 25, the B-52s and A Flock of Seagulls. Their rare vinyl releases, 1983's "Internal Silence" 7" and "Climbing Up the Hill" EP from 1985, found their way onto John Peel's influential BBC Radio 1 program in the '80s, and are highly prized by collectors of early Texas Indie rock. The EP track "Sickroom" was reissued on the Tales From the Edge Vol. 10 Texas Music History '84-87 CD. By the late 80s the Overcoats were no more and Smarty had formed the noisy guitar pop group Thirteen (with future members of the Deathray Davies). Thirteen's releases include 1991's "This is Thirteen" EP, the "I Dig Trains" 7" in '93 plus a critically acclaimed single 1995's "Alcohol Funny Car" for I.R.S. Records (six months before the label went bankrupt). Touring the U.S. constantly the group shared stages with the Toadies, D-Generation, Die Monster Die, Live, and endless others before disbanding in 1996. After a yearlong hiatus to recover from the wear of the road and the woes of the record industry, Smarty formed what would be his most artistic and personal effort to date, The Mechanical Walking Robotboy. When not too busy with Robotboy, Smarty moonlights as 1/3 of Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine (featuring DJ Jester the Filipino Fist) whose 2002 cut-n-paste CD "Introducing the Neat Beat" received cudos across the board from the likes of URB, the Wire, Pulse, XLR8R, Giant Robot, and Mofo. Gathering the weirdest characters from the best bands, Robotboy showcases the cream of San Antonio's underground musicians crop. ? "Mikey Jam" Smith has pounded the drums for some of Texas' most influential and loud bands including surf-punk popsters Where the Action is and bluesy noise makers Boxcar Satan, appearing on their '99 CD release Days Before the Flood and 2002's Crooked Mile March. Mikey's also done a few stints as touring drummer for Austin's Crackpipes. ? Chris Branca is best known as frontman/guitarist for defunct garage rockers the White Heat, helping produce their 2002 self titled CD and follow up 7" single as well as surviving three countrywide tours. He's less well known for his '90s vinyl and CD releases with avant garde minimalists TONALAMOTL who have a small but devout cult following internationally. ? Shawn Terry spent the last fifteen years behind a guitar before taking over bass duties for Robotboy. He got his start fronting goth rockers Berlin Black in the late '80s. Throughout the '90s he handled lead guitar for punk rockers the Despicables as well as forming the dark and mysterious Veronicas Veil who still get a good deal of airplay on cult goth radioshows. ? James Traugott cut his musical teeth with his late '90s punk band the Defectives playing bass and singing on their 1997 7" vinyl EP Hey Kids, developing a strong fan base which he's continued to build upon through his numerous infamous house parties. For Robotboy, he's put down the bass to become head noisemaker, fronting an arsenal of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, tone generators and anything else that makes a weird sound. REVIEWS------------- *MICKMERCER.COM 22 JUNE 2006 The Mechanical Walking Robotboy SLOW Compulsive Records Make way, make way, for fun! A band who must confuse, while thrilling people due to the 70's pop references, post-punk slipperiness and modern electronic mastery of mood and brusque atmospheric brevity, this album will certainly impress. It's quick, it's slick, pinched and punching. It's melodic, deviously derivative, and frothy as f***. In fact medics could taker it to crash sites; play this and if there's no reaction you move on to the next victim. Christopher Smart (vocals/guitar) goes by the name of Smarty and has a past delving back to eventful 80's action, including Platform Of Youth, Lung Overcoat and then onto Thirteen, while the rest are equally varied, with drummer Mikey Smith going pop to blues with Where The Action Is and Boxcar Satan (nice!), James Traugott punkily bassing out The Defectives, Chris Branca guitaring with the garage White Heat and Shawn Terry, whose Goth past includes Berlin Black, The Dispicables and Veronica's Veil. (I confess he's the only one I had heard of.) Put them together and you have weird levels of experience and versatility which makes these songs work. 'Black Light' is ridiculously urgent, yet underweight. It's got wiry synth lines and a muscular bass moving like a confident badger in new shoes. It reminds me of a modern male Blondie the way it's squeezed decades together, with a superb chorus and seedily infectious lyrics ransacking movie ideas. The automatic clapping beat helps, but you'd do that anyway. No rubbish riffing here either, just concise nudges. Weirdly there's some very coy, early Adam Ant simpering during the wild and loopy 'Red Spider Killer' with disturbingly catchy whistling and more eerie 60's ghosts, and the way 'Double' starts you half expect them to lapse into 'Cleopatra' but they have cooler pop antics to employ, the subtle weepiness harshly turned around by tenser vocals when the guitar wrangles it's way in. As they smoulder gently in the smoky 'Four Leaf Clover' you also notice there's no great cohesive sound that represents them, it's just you're hooking into their world temporarily. Great steady songwriting arcs of the past are the obvious presence here, and you can catch traces of everything good from the 50's to the 70's in the background, creating a dense atmosphere, and they're unusual. The disturbing 'Beautiful' is totally modern with it's economical modern blippity backing, and horrendous lyrics about a hired killer skipping over jaunty drums and morose organ, uncoiling like early Psy Furs in a vengeful setting and offering a brilliantly bristling ending. 'She Turns Me On' is cheap and cheerful, 'Oxycon 80' doomier, and possibly gloomy but it's so weird who can say, seemingly involving a futuristic head? I don't know what's going on, but it's got a translucent rhythm base, and a circling wooziness that's weirdly mesmerising. 'Flipped' also mooches magnificently, with some scalding guitar frumpery but engaging electronic fizziness. 'Tracers!' rampages with similar Fall-like tendencies to A Spectre Is Haunting Europe, only here it's also turned upside down by some early Beasties-style loopiness, and then the unintentionally grandiose 'Slow' make for a stunning ending, with a pensive vocal working in cahoots with vigorous, stylish guitar bursts but overall a solemn flow invigorated with restless drums. So much crammed into such a little thing: just ten songs, but it feels like the world. Take a holiday people, in a furtive world of delight. *(Mick Mercer is an internationally respected music writer and published author. He was an early supporter of punk, post-punk and Goth bands in mid 1970's London, writing for music magazines Melody Macker and Zigzag. He's also published the definitive book series on Goth and Goth culture.)

Details

Artist: The Mechanical Walking Robotboy
Title: Slow
Genre: Rock
Release Date: 18/07/2006
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 634479351297
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