All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

538

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog: Party Intellectuals

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Ceramic Dog, legendary guitarist Marc Ribot's new power trio, opens their appropriately titled debut album, Party Intellectuals, with a riotous statement of intent; tearing through a grungy surf-punk take on The Door's "Break on Through," the trio proves they're here to party, political puns notwithstanding.

Ribot's renowned sideman work with Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Lounge Lizards and John Zorn (among others) established his singular voice in the nascent Downtown scene two decades ago. A veteran bandleader, Ribot draws from myriad experiences to inform his newest venture. The lyrical irreverence of The Rootless Cosmopolitans, the bone-crushing volume of Shrek and the easygoing Afro-Cuban groove of Los Cubanos Postizos all commingle to make Ceramic Dog Ribot's most diverse and populist band yet.

Joined by bassist Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, Secret Chiefs 3) and drummer Ches Smith (Trevor Dunn's Trio Convulsant, Secret Chiefs 3, Xiu Xiu), the trio keeps it loose on a balanced mix of instrumental and vocal numbers, relying on infectious bass ostinatos and buoyant percussive vamps as the foundation for visceral call and response interplay and probing solos.

At their most accessible, the wry travelogue "Todo El Mundo Es Kitsch" and familial ode "For Malena" float on ebullient bass pulses and shimmering Latin rhythms as Ribot invokes his former Los Cubanos band. The trio hearkens back to the oblique deconstructed pop sensibility of early eighties no-wave on the title track and "Never Better," combining danceable rhythms with angular themes and excoriating noise.

In storytelling mode, Ribot narrates a stark paean to youth over glassy shards of undulating feedback and scintillating percussion on "When We Were Young and We Were Freaks," recalling Sonic Youth at their most sinister. The jaunty "Girlfriend" traffics in similar territory, offering a twisted variation on the confessional singer-songwriter aesthetic. A haunting introspective side materializes on the cinematic tone poems "Bateau" and "ShSh ShSh."

Ultimately, Ceramic Dog is a rock band, with "Digital Handshake" and "Midost" the album's epic centerpieces. On the former, Ribot stretches out over a hypnotic bass loop and thunderous drumbeat before the trio peaks in a climactic squall of staccato caterwauling. "Midost" is a menacing anthem that suggests Dick Dale jamming with Black Sabbath as the trio gradually ascends from a churning free-form vortex.

A kaleidoscopic overview of Ribot's career to date, Ceramic Dog encapsulates his diverse interests in one stripped down unit. Funky, edgy and raw, Party Intellectuals is a vivacious effort from one of the Downtown scene's key innovators.


Track Listing: Break On Through; Party Intellectuals; Todo El Mundo Es Kitsch; When We Were Young and We Were Freaks; Digital Handshake; Bateau; For Malena; Pinch; Girlfriend; Midost; ShSh ShSh; Never Better.

Personnel: Marc Ribot: guitar, vocals; Shahzad Ismaily: bass, vocals, moog; Ches Smith: drums, percussion, electronics, vocals; Janice Cruz: vocals (3); Jenni Quilter: vocals (11); Martin Verajano: percussion (8).

Title: Party Intellectuals | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Off Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Off Beat
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 9, 2017
Read "The Return" CD/LP/Track Review The Return
by Chris May
Published: April 16, 2018
Read "You & I" CD/LP/Track Review You & I
by James Nadal
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Suspended" CD/LP/Track Review Suspended
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 12, 2018
Read "Old Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Songs
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "Birthday" CD/LP/Track Review Birthday
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 1, 2018