Monday, November 5, 2007

Juju B Solomon - s/t

I've been listening to this record for a few months now. I finally got a copy for WUAG, and this is the review I wrote for the station. First part is my entire history with Juju B, the second part is his past, and the third is a review for the station that is designed to get all those blahcore lovers to play this album.

History of Juju and Myself

I first heard of Juju B when I was at WREK radio in Atlanta. Having a rotation show, I always played what no one else would. I fell in love with "On the Lam" immediately. He had a show for later in the month, so my friend and I gathered courage and went. Courage isn't usually needed for going to shows, except this venue was called "The Banana Hammock." After a weird halal meal of goat bones in chile oil with a side of onions, we spent the better part of an hour driving through a neighborhood looking for the address, but what we found was a nondescript house in a nondescript neighborhood. More courage was needed than we thought. Outside, a scrawny kid was struggling with his equipment. I brought in the amp. Inside was a bizarre dozen of musicians, dropped awkwardly throughout a traditional open air parlor/kitchen area. Three bands later, we were still seated in the parlor, on an earth toned overstuffed love seat, which was only separated from the stage/living room by a mirror and faux African end table. Besides the owners of the house, we were the only ones left. We watched as the scrawny kid quietly plugged in, adjusted the mic, and began to sing about cock blocking with no introduction. It was a religious experience. His delivery was shy, reserved. He never moved more than what was needed to make the notes and his eyes were constantly focused inches above the ground. He thanked us after every song. From then on, I've vowed to get his music out into the ether however possible. He wasn't going to do it himself, and neither was his label.

History of Juju B

Juju B Solomon is actually Benjamin Solomon. A self professed hippie, he moved to India awhile back and attempted to write a novel. Instead, he worked in a textile factory, where he was told to increase production. With pigtails and a purple aura, he constantly had problems communicating with the workers. He never fit in - religiously, culturally, any -ly. He was a dog in a bright red dress. A freak alone. A friend then gave him a Givson guitar. Not Gibson, Givson - the Indian "version" of a Gibson. After cutting his hair and growing out his finger nails, he wandered around Delhi writing these narratives and moping. He came back to the States, came to Atlanta, and is now completely ignored by the critics and fans alike.

The Review

Many of you might be repulsed by the fact that this album has a guy and a guitar and not much more. But don't! Genuinely funny words, genuinely charming vocal inflections, this album is not folk, singer-song writer, local, any of that. It's a collection of stories about a genuinely confused and horny American boy in India with guitar accompaniment. I keep saying genuine, because that's its greatest strength. Released on a label so indie that their head quarters is a run down brick and mortar converted shack in the seedy underbelly of Atlanta, Juju sing talks his way through things you typically don't hear addressed on plastic. The constant feeling is that he never thought any one would hear his songs, so they're savagely honest and, well, genuine. Play all the time.

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