Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Arts | Buzz bands

Embracing their funky inner nerd

September 04, 2003|Kevin Bronson; Andrew Asch

Andy Cooper of the Long Beach rap crew Ugly Duckling couldn't have imagined that hip-hop fans would embrace a concept album. But fans seem to like the flavor of "Taste the Secret," which reached No. 1 on CMJ's hip-hop charts in late July. "Secret's" story follows the experiences of customers at two neighboring yet different fast-food restaurants: Meat Shake and Veggie Hut. Playing employees at Meat Shake, Cooper and Ugly Duckling's Dizzy Dustin and Young Einstein rap about the inevitable confrontation between the carnivores and the vegetarians in a peppy, early-1990s hip-hop style. Cooper, 28, said the concept was intended to deliver laughs and good beats -- the album as food for thought was a distant second. What the album said about Ugly Duckling (performing Friday at the Knitting Factory), however, was most telling. "We spent so much time on the hip-hop circuit trying to fit in," Cooper said. "But with this album, we promised to be unashamedly nerdish, funky, soulful and completely stupid. That's Ugly Duckling in a nutshell."

Fast forward

The Hotel Cafe continues to build a reputation as a place prominent artists drop in to play unpublicized shows. Ian Ball of the British quintet Gomez was the latest, mixing his band's material with cover tunes during a set last week. Included: a countrified take on KISS' "Beth." ... Bruce Licher (ex-Savage Republic), in his current project, Scenic, brings his instrumental ambience to the Derby on Sunday night, with Starflyer 59, touring behind its strong 2003 release "Old," opening.... The Bronx celebrated its album release last week at 3 Clubs, but the set list was truncated because guitarist James Tweedy was nursing a broken right hand. Anger management, lad.

-- Kevin Bronson, with Andrew Asch

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|