Elevate Difference

Daggers at the Moon

I’m not sure whether Vice Cooler is insane, or a genius, or an insane genius. One thing is certain: Cooler is busy. He’s toured with Peaches (there is a video of them on his MySpace page doing a very naughty version of a certain Gwen Stefani song that won’t soon leave your memory), he also has written a book, and continues to contribute to magazines like Vice and Rolling Stone. His solo project, Hawnay Troof (he also is a member of the band xBxRx), is sort of a mash up of the Beastie Boys and mid-nineties Beck. He’s brattier and less laid-back than Beck, for sure, but less stripped down than the Beasties. There’s also an element of M.I.A. in there—I can hear “Bamboo Banga” in my head as I listen to “Body Armageddon” in particular.

He’s certainly got a “WTF” factor in his music—that little bit of “What the F#@k?!?” that definitely makes it interesting and keeps it in constant rotation in my CD player (yes, that’s right, I said CD player. Mid-nineties represent!). The guy is gutsy, after all—he starts his newest album with a repeated noise that sounds like someone saying “duh” over and over again on a skipping CD (and yes, I did have to check my disc player to make sure the disc wasn’t scratched).

The sound lasts more than a minute on repeat before other music kicks in. That’s something that other artists do for a hidden track—not for the first taste of a new album. I suppose much of the album isn’t really a “WTF” factor so much as a “F-it” factor… and not in a bad way. He’s an artist that knows what he likes, and doesn’t really care if the first minute of a new album is something that most of the listening public will probably skip over to get to the rest of the music. When the music does kick in, however, it is fantastic.

One of my favorites is “Said Once” which starts out sounding like an early Nine Inch Nails song and finishes like something off of Mellow Gold. The video is weirdly scary—I’ve never before been so creeped out by canned beans, popsicles, and cowboys. I’m disappointed, to say the least, that he wasn’t a part of the Peaches show that I recently witnessed at the TLA in Philadelphia, because I would absolutely have been singing along with his music just like I was with her music.

Do yourself a favor and check out his MySpace page, in particular. Like Peaches, he’s got some incredible music videos that MTV probably will never show, posted there—just be prepared for some serious “WTF” moments.

Written by: Emily S. Dunster, January 31st 2010