Teenage and Torture – Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers

To reiterate what I said last week, I had no idea who Shipla Ray was until she opened for Grinderman back in November. It was only her and her harmonium , but that was all she needed, cause the entire audience was hypnotized with her siren voice. She was definitely one of the best opening acts I had seen and one of the very few I enjoyed almost as much as the headliner. I went home and looked her up and realized that she had a band. I checked them out and realized that had a new CD coming out this year. I picked up a copy off Amazon (which is oddly cheaper than it is on the band’s website), and gave it a listen.

When Ray has a band, the music is almost a different animal. When the heavy bass line kicked in with the shuffle-like drums on the opening track, modestly titled “Hookers”, I could tell this was going to be more aggressive music than what I had heard back in November. And while Ray screams her head off on a couple of tracks, she shows that she can be delicate when accompanied with peaceful guitar melodies. She continues this on the next track (and single), “Heaven in Stereo.” I’ve made this comparison too many times before, but seriously, she’s like a crazier PJ Harvey when she wails. And it’s awesome.

The opening to the track “Venus Shaver” is a good example of what she sounded like at Grinderman. I was almost bummed when the band came in after a few beats, but that feeling didn’t last long after she started singing over reverb guitar. At this point, I was sucked back in and kind of wished she would have brought a band with her for a couple of songs in November. Tracks like “Stick It To the Woman” and “Liquidation Sale” make it sound like she’s on the edge of her sanity during the breakdowns. The erratic drum beats, panicked guitar and plucked bass lines make it feel like she’s trying to drag us, kicking and screaming, down with her. “Dames A Dime A Dozen” gets kind of boring, but isn’t really shitty (if that makes sense). It just isn’t hitting any buttons, I guess.

“Genie’s Drugs” is another track filled with reverb goodness. It’s a junkie song, obviously (I mean come on, half of these songs are about hookers and drugs), but it’s a cool kind of juxtaposition. The instrumentation sounds like you’re sitting on the beach, stoned, watching the sun fade behind the ocean. Then Shilpa comes in, singing about begging and being used up and you can see how the two are interconnected. It’s like she’s watching the sun set on her life. It kind of reminds me of Best Coast, or at least a more stoned Best Coast.

She played “Erotolepsy” in November, and while the band sounds pretty good on this one too, I liked this track better when she did it solo.  They sound unnecessary after hearing it live solo, but the break down at the end is very cool. “The Chelsea Clinic Physical” is not a bad track, but I feel like I already heard it after I heard “Heaven in Stereo.” Not bad, just a bit repetitive at this point.  If you want another great example of how she sounded live, check out the last track “Requiem In A Key I Don’t Know.” It’s a peaceful sendoff song for the album, and Ray’s harmonium and voice sound fantastic.

So yeah, all in all, a solid album and it makes me want to go pick up their debut now. They’re gonna be on tour with a band called Acid Mothers Temple (okay then…) and those dorks decided to skip Nashville and go straight to Knoxville. Lame dudes. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the shitty Youtube vids (complete with shitty camera filming and the fat drunk guy singing in the background). Oh well. Anyways, go pick up this one. It’s a keeper.

Tour dates

1-21-2011 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl (Record Release Show)
1-22-2011 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place

3-23-11 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland*
3-24-11 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill*
3-26-11 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge*
3-27-11 – Bellingham, WA – The Wild Buffalo*
3-28-11 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey*
3-29-11 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret*
3-31-11 – Calgary, AB – Broken City*
4-01-11 – Missoula, MT – The Badlander*
4-02-11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge*
4-03-11 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge*
4-04-11 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre*
4-05-11 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry*
4-06-11 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle*
4-07-11 – Kalamazoo, MI – The Strutt*
4-08-11 – Toronto, ON – El Mocambo*
4-09-11 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore*
4-10-11 – Allston, MA – Great Scott*
4-11-11 – Milford, CT – Daniel Street*
4-13-11 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brendas*
4-14-11 – Washington, DC – Red Palace*
4-15-11 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar*
4-16-11 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506*
4-17-11 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light*
4-18-11 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl*
4-19-11 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks*
4-20-11 – Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds*
4-21-11 – Dallas, TX – The Loft*
4-22-11 – Austin, TX – Red 7*

Heaven in Stereo

Plea Bargain




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