Toxic Swamp & Other Love Songs[CD]
Claiming to be from Brooklyn (but possibly from some other galaxy altogether), Kenny Young and the Eggplants are a not-easily-described semi-acoustic trio who perform songs about giant squirrels, super-powered frogs, scary bits of cheese, inebriated birds, and broken washing machines, among other important rock and roll concerns. Various attempts to define their music have been made, but perhaps the most entertaining quote comes from the New York Times, which said that the Eggplants "give eloquent voice to the multifaceted neuroses of prolonged adolescence." In the U.K., the Sunday Herald said the Eggplants "mix the wit of Jonathan Richman with the sound of the Nico-era Velvets to create a surreal and satirical gumbo." They have also been called a "deeply eccentric pop band" (The Guardian), and a "wonderful weird band" (The Scotsman). The Village Voice said, "The naivete Kenny wears on his sleeve is genuine - think of an East Village Brian Wilson, without the money but still tilted in his own wacked-out way." Perhaps because no one can figure out exactly what the heck they are, the Eggplants get invited to play an intriguing variety of venues. In addition to their gigs at rock clubs and acoustic venues, the Eggplants have played for college audiences, for children, and at science-fiction conventions. They played at BB King's Club on 42nd Street on an evening hosted by Dr. Demento, and they performed on the corner of 132nd Street and 5th Avenue in Harlem during the New York City Marathon. They have performed at elegant British venues like the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Burton Taylor Theatre in Oxford, and at cherished dives like CBGB (NYC), The 100 Club (London), and Bannerman's and The Venue (Edinburgh). The Eggplants frequently stray from their New York vegetable patch to the UK, where there is an apparent need for more songs about 6 foot squirrels. Their tours have included several extended runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and numerous live BBC radio sessions. They have played in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, Chester, York, Falkirk, East Kilbride, and Bristol, but no matter what the destination, they always seem to get stuck in traffic somewhere around Wolverhampton. The Eggplants have recorded three CDs on Coney Island Records: "Even One is Quite a Few" (1996); "Toxic Swamp and Other Love Songs" (1998); and "The Search for Eggplantis ... or Glam on the Half Shell" (2002). Songs from all three CDs have been played on hundreds of college and non-commercial radio stations. The long-awaited fourth CD, entitled "Arrr!," will be released in October 2006 on Cheese Thing Records. The band members, who insist that they first met while training to be astronauts at an undisclosed location near the New Jersey Meadowlands, are as follows: Eddie Logue (percussion of various sorts); Gil Shuster (bass and role model for children); Kenny Young (acoustic guitar and vocals). The Eggplants say that the prevailing mood at their shows is "cheerful chaos". But it's always good to hear what others think. Reviewing a show in Edinburgh, the Sunday Mail said: "They don't come much zanier than this New York trio. They sang goofy songs about partying worms with artistic temperaments and Rambo going on shopping sprees . . . But behind the surreal antics were technically proficient musicians who know how to write a good pop tune and work an audience. 'Alien Love Song' had a chorus so infectious I was humming it all the way home. There is genius among the Eggplants . . . Energetic, unpredictable and fun . . . if it's surreal entertainment you are after then they're your boys." The BBC Collective website gave the Eggplants 4½ stars (out of five), with the following explanation: "The songs are quirky, yes, and funny, but they also stand up as songs in their own right. Even though they have whimsical lyrics about aliens, families comprised completely of lawyers, and things growing in the sink, the dry delivery and quick guitar playing mean that they don't lose their appeal simply because you know the jokes ... Kenny Young and the Eggplants would be a fun band to watch if they simply stuck to girls and cars, which is why they work - the jokes and surrealism are part of the act, rather than the act itself". For now, the final word on Kenny Young and the Eggplants will go to DJ Adam Walton, host of the "Musical Mystery Tour" on BBC Radio Wales, who coined the term "aubergenius" to describe the band. Mr. Walton has posted the following musings on the Eggplants: "I can't remember the last time a band made me laugh, whilst still marveling at their ability to pen an interesting tune. Actually, I can. The band concerned was Kenny Young and the Eggplants, and I nearly wet myself drinking in their peculiarly surreal and litigiously funny show at Telford's Warehouse in Chester last year ... I love this band. I love to heckle this band, but sometimes that doesn't work out so well. Other patrons of their gigs get a bit pissed off and think that I'm being disrespectful - but nothing could be further from the truth. I'm down with Kenny, Gil and Eddie. When they're in town, the stars are smiling ... See you soon, most egg-celent musical auber-geniuses from Brooklyn".
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