Fresh Off Boat

Fresh Off Boat

by Golem
     
 
A much-needed corrective to the pious yiddle-diddling of 90 percent of klezmer bands, New York's Golem invest the form with a raucous abandon. Or better, they re-invest klezmer with its original Eastern European fire, getting at the wooly roots of Jewish party music while acknowledging their hipster milieu. Vocalists Aaron Diskin and Annette Ezekiel declaim in

Overview

A much-needed corrective to the pious yiddle-diddling of 90 percent of klezmer bands, New York's Golem invest the form with a raucous abandon. Or better, they re-invest klezmer with its original Eastern European fire, getting at the wooly roots of Jewish party music while acknowledging their hipster milieu. Vocalists Aaron Diskin and Annette Ezekiel declaim in big-voiced Yiddish and English, lassoing influences that range from X and Patti Smith to Brecht and Gypsy song. Fans of Gogol Bordello and Golem labelmates Balkan Beat Box will instantly recognize the woozy, theatrical chaos at play here, but Golem are far more acculturated -- they're more about smashing glasses than smashing the state. As the alter ego of an in-demand wedding band, they show a real commitment to recovering traditional songs from Hungary, Ukraine, and beyond, even as they deliver them with modern élan (also known as punk rock). For example, the two-minute spazz-out "The Rent" (Dire Gelt) could have been penned by Williamsburg squatters circa 2005 or Lower East Side peddlers circa 1905. As reverent as the band may be, their wild attack can be as coronary-inducing as grandma's chicken liver. But never mind the bubbes, this is Golem!

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
Not quite their debut, but their first album with a relatively wide release. Golem is known as something of a hipster klezmer outfit in New York circles. The klezmer itself is perhaps slightly harder than most traditional forms of the sound, but not too drastically different from some of the other modern klezmer groups (the Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, etc). It should be noted though that the violin is used as the primary melodic instrument rather than a clarinet -- a little iconoclastic, but the sound is perfectly fine. What makes Golem what they are, though, is probably the rapid-fire, overpowered vocals. The shouting, screaming, and spitting make the delivery something brasher than your usual klezmer. That said though, that's also what sets them apart from the rest of the neo-klezmer outfits out there. While fiery playing influenced by some of the newer (and older) Eastern European gypsy bands has taken over some of the sounds, the vocals often remain where they've always been. Add some anger and love courtesy of Aaron Diskin and Annette Ezekiel (who also plays a mean accordion here), along with a fine violin from Alicia Jo Rabins, and you've got a nice piece of modern, avant-garde klezmer. Just wait for their hora.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/22/2006
Label:
Jdub Records
UPC:
0893209001042
catalogNumber:
104
Rank:
186935

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