King Louie – Memphis Treet

King Louie and the Loose Diamonds – Memphis Treet
Empty Records – 3 ½ Stars

King Louie looks like a human rendition of Simpsons bully Nelson Muntz.  Perhaps more excitingly, he sounds like Elvis Costello’s Attractions fronted by a drunken Nelson, his throaty growl sounding eerily similar to the trademark “hah-hah!”  While this may sound at first like some sort of cheesy hipster-blues thing gone wrong, the resulting sound is a deceptively simple garage pop gem that manages to avoid pretension.  This record rings with authenticity; I’d be surprised if Louie has ever even heard of the Hold Steady or Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, his closest contemporaries in the indie world. While his lyrics may leave much to be desired, I’m guessing Louie’s not shooting for “Desolation Row” here.  What the listener gets instead is twelve tracks of downslashed guitars and upbeat organs, loose drums and looser vocals.  The King leads his band with the same off-key confidence that J. Mascis brings to Dinosaur Jr, only without the chops.  But no matter.  Sometimes sloppy music manages to hang together by some miraculous thread and while the result here may be no tapestry, it sure ain’t the ugliest rag at the quilting bee.


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