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Philosophy and Underwear
Trans*Solar, 2005

After twenty-five years in the music business, Kid has finally decided to release his first LP as a singer, songwriter, and bandleader. Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, who have informally existed on and off in different incarnations since 2001, included New York heroes Jack Martin, Jerome O’Brien, Josh Belknap, and Jorge Velez at the time of this recording. Sean Maffucci (Gang Gang Dance, etc.), currently the new Monkey Birds bassist, was sitting behind the board. Kid and Jack cut a guitar team to be reckoned with (Jack being no slouch himself – you may know him Honeymoon Killers, Little Porkchop, Knoxville Girls, Cause for Applause, Dimestore Dance Ensemble, etc.). Belknap and O'Brien lay it down a groove that is both solid and sleazy at the same time. And Velez's warehouse of sound effects are varied and dynamic. In terms of guests, Captain Comatose, techno musicians Khan and Snax, do the backing vocals on "The History of French Cuisine" and legendary punk diva Little Annie (Crass, Coil, Wolfgang Press, etc.) duets with Kid on "The Weather The War." Finally, the cover features the sexy chest of David Lloyd of The Boggs and Cause for Applause.

Philosophy and Underwear is a unique fusion of elements - garagy punk, glam, dirty soul, experimental noise, dark balladry, and even abrasive mechanical electro – all filtered through The Pink Monkey Bird’s unique post-no wave aesthetic. This grab-bag of songs from Kid’s past and present show the guitarist emerging as a mature singer and songwriter. Concentrating mostly on the themes that deal with good lovin' gone bad, cheap thrills, perversions, and how to make sense of it all, his city of night tackles both the heart of a Saturday night and Sunday morning – and I do mean this as a John Rechy, Tom Waits, and Velvet Underground allusion. Kid's grotesques: drag queens, leather men, and hustlers - turn tricks in 1950s Times Square, explore bondage in contemporary rent-controlled Tompkins Square apartments, and even engage in sexual cannibalism. They know that the people they're engaging in the acts with are bad for them, but they can't keep from indulging. Kid is not attempting to shock. He, like a number of the great New York rock poets before him, by confronting modernity's "paradoxes and illusions" is displaying some good old fashiond Baudelairian "heroism of modern life." As the record progresses, Kid's characters become a bit more introspective. In "The Weather The War" a couple confronts the fact that it just ain't working out. "House of Cards," the big moment of redemption, a love song in fact, revolves around the universal theme of accepting an unstable mess relationship for what it is and blindly vowing to make it last. The narrator concludes, "A house of cards was built to stay." But "The Last Word" lays the hammer down and says, "What was I thinking? Let me out of here. Let's here it for that heroism of modern love...

Though this was initially a Europe-only release on Kid and Khan’s label, Trans*Solar, New York Night Train has recently taken steps to try to license Philosophy and Underwear for the United States - so look for it on this site by late Feb 2006.


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