GREENSKEEPERS with FRANKIE & MISCHIEF Boa Redux (270 Spadina), Friday (June 3). cancelled. www.boa-redux.com. Rating: NNNNN
Dance music's current drive to expand its repertoire of influences has given birth to some strange sonic juxtapositions, but the often humorous house music experiments of Chicago's Greenskeepers take absurd combinations to the next level.
They started off as a duo - the busy young DJ James Curd and his skateboarding pal Nick Maurer - and made their name remixing old swing tunes into lighthearted house stompers. People called it hillbilly house.
Then they released The Ziggy Franklen Radio Show, an oddball collection of greasy funk, electro, garage rock with drum machines, chopped-up swing riffs and AM radio classic pop. Fleshed out into a full band with the addition of Mark Share and Cobin Rudish, the Greenskeepers showed that they could tackle any fancy their ADD brains suggested.
Their most recent full album, Pleetch, continues the baffling eclecticism, but this time there's none of the old swing house.
"I did my first swing house track in 1999, and I did that for a couple of years," recalls Curd. "By the time people started getting into it, I was done with it."
Not completely, though. He's currently putting together a compilation of swing house for Universal, after being given permission to mine their pre-50s back catalogue. He also continues to run the swing-focused G-Swing records, along with the Igloo and Greenskeepers Music labels.
Greenskeepers listeners now include people far outside the house scene, partially because of the unlikely success of the video for Lotion, a catchy little new wave rock song about the lotion scene in The Silence Of The Lambs.
Both hilarious and creepy, the video was edited from the actual movie. It recently brought them to the attention of Ben Folds, who's been mentioning them during interviews and has become an unlikely fan.
"There've been over 700,000 downloads of that video, and in Australia it was one of the most requested videos of the year. I get calls from people in England who wanted to know how we got the budget to shoot it. They didn't realize that it was just us chopping up the movie.
"There's even a girl in Brooklyn who does a burlesque show striptease to the track while re-enacting the video."