Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Facing New York: Get Hot

"Cops On Bikes," the latest single from Oakland prog band Facing New York, might seem a shoo-in for a novelty hit, but it couldn't be a worse candidate. Eric Frederic's delivery is too casual, the politics are too playful, and the music is too different to make the song an easy fit for radio. (Rage Against The Machine, African highlife, and Led Zeppelin all come to mind.) That goes a long way toward explaining why the band isn't more popular, and why Get Hot is worth discovering. There's something perfectly out of vogue about "Hardwood Floors," which sounds like Donald Fagen exploring The Neptunes' sound; "How Gong I'm Gonna Be Lawn," a stormy epic of the King Crimson variety; and the spoken word of "Me N My Friendz," which could sit comfortably on a Barr record. Percussion, groove, and old-fashioned honesty are the glue that binds together Get Hot's many disparate ideas; what reads on paper like a bit of a jazz/rock/psych car wreck is actually a sturdy work that's artful as well as entertaining. It's ironic that FNY lost two members and produced Get Hot themselves—these are the band's most full-bodied songs yet. Most importantly, Frederic and his cohorts seem comfortable enough in their own skins to be as unhip as they want to be, and all the better for it.


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