Pernice Brothers Vs. Moby

Cover art from Pernice Brothers single.

Sub Pop Records president Jonathan Poneman says his label has always been about

more than just the so-called "Seattle Sound." If two new Sub Pop singles are

any indication, Poneman has put his money where his mouth

is.

Champion: Pernice Brothers, "Jimmy Coma" b/w "Monkey

Suit"

This off-shoot of one of Sub Pop's greatest new bands, the

countrified Scud Mountain Boys, features Scud Joe Pernice on vocals and guitar

joined by his real-life brother and non-Scud Bob Pernice on backing vocals and

lead guitar, recently departed Scud member Stephen Desaulniers (bass), Garret

Fontes (drums) and the Lilies Thom Monahan pitching in some creaky analog

samples. Like the best of the Scud's work, the regular guy lament of "Jimmy

Coma" has that lived-in, back porch feeling, this time augmented by a jazzy

shuffle beat and a mini-guitar solo that sounds like an alto saxophone. And

also like the best of uptempo Scud, the rockin' "Monkey Suit" skirts the edges

of Beach-Boys-meets-Eagles California rock, with the lament of a nine-to-fiver

who doesn't want to "disappear inside this monkey suit I'm wearing." Check out

the Youngian solo near the end.

Challenger: Moby, "That's When I

Reach For My Revolver" b/w "Whip It"

Poneman himself told ATN this isn't

exactly what he had in mind for his first Moby single, not that there's

anything wrong with it. Well, maybe he can say that, but to these ears, Moby

might want to re-think his new drink. Seemingly climbing the fence into rock

when everybody is scrambling to climb into his techno pit, Moby trashes the

Mission to Burma cover on the A-side by turning it into a cheesy metal-lite

song that sounds like a battle of the (cover) bands between Talk Talk and

Loverboy rip-off artists. The vocals can best be described as "pinched" and the

guitar solo sounds lifted out of the Guitar Institute's "101--Intro to Heavy

Metal" course packet. Similarly, the Devo cover is a plodding, metallic mess

that takes the fun out of the original, although you can bet Moby himself had a

hoot laying down the Satanic vocals and distorted guitar riff. It's gothic,

weird and Moby tries to hard to be menacing. But while it's oddly funny, it's

just not very good.

Winner by KO: Pernice Brothers