On paper, Socalled’s bio reads like an elaborate art hoax: he’s a producer/ composer/ arranger/ rapper/ singer/ journalist/ photographer/ filmmaker/ magician/ cartoonist/ puppet maker – oh, and Yiddish music enthusiast! – who, for his fourth album, invited 34 collaborators from all ends of the musical spectrum into the studio. As a whole, Sleepover is disjointed – sounding like “Prairie Home Companion” one minute and “106 and Park” the next. There’s a recurring thread of humor and pastiche on many of the tracks, but others stick out as being quite earnest. So it’s difficult to nail a unifying theme. However, taken individually, each song holds its own, and some even stand out. Take these two examples, where the eclectic ingredients come together nicely into a singular concept. The title track is a send-up of ghetto-tech anthems, with none other than Detroit’s own King of Booty, DJ Assault, serving up hypnotic refrains over a frenetic klezmer loop. (The joke wouldn’t be complete without puppets freaking in Socalled’s apartment – so be sure to watch the video.) By contrast, “Work With What You Got” is a positive vibration calypso-hop jam featuring Roxanne Shante and The Mighty Sparrow on vocals that would feel at home on the soundtrack to a feelgood children’s movie.

Socalled || Teaser Sleepover #2 from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.

Sleepover (featuring DJ Assault) from Sleepover (2011)
Work With What You Got (featuring Roxanne Shante and The Mighty Sparrow) from Sleepover (2011)


Sometimes one’s computer dies. And it takes with it thousands of un-backed-up songs, hundreds of un-backed-up pictures and well, your whole electronic life from the past 5 years. We’ll skip past my stages of grief, denial and rage and go direct to the fact that I have many kind friends to thank for an influx of mix cd’s, emails with links to things to cheer me up, It mostly cheers me up. Amongst these desperately needed donations, Malajube turned up. And while it seems to me that there are many a sound that could be described as belonging to Montreal (lo-fi loveliness like the Unicorns; gorgeous string infused songs for depressives like Owen Palette; etc.)–the one I need right now in this moment of return to my 1999 boom box is this one: scratchy guitared, French-Canadian, happy, bouncy indie-pop. In French. I need a little bum-bum-bum-budumpbadum in my life. Don’t we all?

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