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Monday, June 20, 2005

Review: MOTO - Concert and Singles File CD

MOTO is short for Masters Of The Obvious, Paul Caporino's band since 1981. I own 13 MOTO cassettes and 14 singles. The cassettes are handmade with pen and bad penmanship, and Paul scribbles liner notes and doodles on some singles. He's the king of lo-tech lo-fi. I was very lucky to see MOTO live, just down the street from my apartment. God knows how lazy I am and he/she came through.

Paul in person is a great guy and he was pleasant to everyone. His voicebox was shot so he carried a bottle of honey in place of booze. I liked the set but the sound was horrible, with bad separation and it was so loud my teeth hurt. I bought a cd so I did my bit for the MOTO cause.

Single File is a 28 track collection of old singles, some with Beck Dudley, the MOTO fanatic's sentimental favorite. Paul's recorded alone, with Beck on drums, and with any number of other musicians in the full band format. MOTO is at its core a lo-fi band with punk, pop and cheese leanings. Where Beat Happening favored a spy-surf beat MOTO delivers a go-go dance beat, specifically The Pony and what the B-52s called "All 16 Dances". Paul's voice is nicely odd, and while he does leave his range at times he does have pretty good control. The lyrics are often bad puns, and juvenile penis references do rear their ugly heads. "Crystallize My Penis" and "It's So Big It's Fluorescent" open the cd, begging the question of where's "It Takes Just Like A Milkshake". I'm a big MOTO fan but it's an acquired taste so go to the MOTO site and listen to some samples.

I don't know if anyone but me considers MOTO lo-fi, but even as a 4-piece that's what it is. I would have preferred if they brought their own amps and bypassed the club's board entirely. I don't see why loudness is all that matters. Loud is cool. Yeah, I get it. I'll stick with my records, which don't sound like unintelligible explosions.


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