Detholz! “Cast Out Devils” demo – “Club Oslo”

Denizens:
Last DH! Chicago show of the season TOMORROW:

Detholz! @ Abbey Pub
Chicago, IL
Thurs., 3/27
w/ Panther (Kill Rock Stars), U.S. Girls & Slow Gun Shogun
BUY TIX HERE: www.abbeypub.com

NEW SONGS WILL BE DEBUTED!

PLUS

THIS Saturday, March 30th
BELOIT COLLEGE C-HAUS
Beloit, WI
“If you haven’t seen Detholz! at Beloit College, you haven’t seen Detholz!” – wise grasshopper
VIVA LA BLUE HOUSE!  See you soon, Beloitians!

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXXII, the last installment in our MARCH OF DEMOS, a month-long look at DH! demos that weathered the gauntlet and made it onto our full-length releases, “Who Are The Detholz!?”(2001), “Jukebox of the Dead” (2005), and Cast Out Devils(2006). All are available for purchase/download at our website: www.detholz.com. As I just discovered yesterday, you can also find Cast Out Devils on iTunes.

As a wise man once said: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man. So let me handle my business, damn!”

This week, a band favorite from Cast Out Devils, the demo recording of CLUB OSLO

I think I wouldn’t be putting words into the other Detholes’ mouths when I say that, even after 4 years in the regular rotation, we still enjoy playing “Club Oslo.” It’s probably the closest thing we had to a radio-friendly song on Cast Out Devils, with a near-perfect balance of the Three D’s of Detholz!:

DORKY,
DISSONANT,
and DANCE-READY

Reviewers have gone multiple directions on this song over the years. It’s been accused of having a “cheap chorus,” which I suppose is a valid criticism. “Freak out, jump in, jump out,” etc. ain’t exactly Lord Byron. On the other hand, it’s been called “a song for party people who think.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I would definitely like to be thought of as a “thoughtful party person:” someone who both throws thoughtful parties and is thoughtful AT parties.

1. SONG CONCEPT

After enduring the most harrowing club experience of my life in Oslo, Norway while on tour with Bobby Conn (I ended up trapped inside the Oslo railyards at 4 AM… don’t ask), I wanted to write a fluffy dance number about that fateful night. I eventually made it back to our hotel on the other side of town, but not before scrabbling through a creek in the dead of winter, spraining my ankle, almost getting arrested, and royally pissing off a concierge.

If there is any “cheapness” to the song, it was deliberate. My experience that night was the culmination of a desperate pursuit of a candy-coated rokkenroll reality at the time. It was a Dark Time for the Empire, indeed. This song, like “Ghost of Christmas Palsy” (see earlier post) was written as a “note to self” — “freak out, jump in, jump out, get out” is intended as a warning.

Incidentally, we’ll be debuting “Xmas Palsy” at the Abbey Pub show tomorrow night! Y’all come, now, hear?

2. SONG COMPOSITION

The demo version is decidedly lighter in the loafers than the version on Cast Out Devils, but it has its merits nonetheless. My favorite aspect of the demo recording is the unintentional interplay of overtones between the guitars and the keyboards during the bridge– it creates a new percussive layer. Listen for it– it’s the 2-against-3 polyrhythm in the keyboards. I did NOT plan on it– it just magically appeared! Try as we might, we could not replicate it on the full album version.

The version on Cast Out Devils turned out better overall — it breathes a little more, and generally packs more of a wallop. Still, I have a fondness for the artificiality of the demo recording– the crappy, direct guitar sound and outdated Alesis drum machine lend it some added charm, in my humble opinion.

A kid at our Subterranean all-ages show the other week said of Detholz!, “Feh, too ‘eighties. Nothing good came out of the ‘eighties.” A friend’s response: “Uhh, weren’t you born in the ‘eighties?” Gales of laughter from his friends! I felt simultaneously gratified and…well, old.

Tune in next week for the first April installment of the Detholz! Mp3 blog, otherwise known as SOUNDTRACK MADNESS MONTH!

3. LYRICS

CLUB OSLO
Who is feeling dumb, who is fun
Anyone, anyone?
Who feels funky beats in easy feet
Properly, properly?

Freak out!
Jump in, Jump out!
I’ve never disco’ed this way!

See if she’s my speed, take a seat
Silently, silently
When our eyes first meet, scope the scene
Naturally, naturally

Tell you God is like an egg
I —
Put my hand upon your leg
You —
And your body says “yes,” but your head says “no”

Freak out!
Jump in, Jump out!
Get out right before you freak out!
Freak out!
I’ve never disco’ed this way!

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12 Responses to “Detholz! “Cast Out Devils” demo – “Club Oslo””

  1. Jim Says:

    As well, you are a thought provoking, party person. I remember being growled at by a dinosaur-esque man wearing 3D glasses, and a fun time was had by all.

  2. kebabdylan Says:

    was this not the ushering in of, if you will, the “new” detholz era? I remember hearing this song (was it at the wilco gig in kalamazoo?) and thinking “what the hell was that?”

    honestly, I am still not crazy about this song. I think it’s the keyboards (sorry jonny). reminds me of the pointer sisters or something. Glad you guys still love playing it live. I am fond of that half steps (twice over) in the chorus.

    with the background and story, it may breath new life into it. I’ve always liked the lyrics “god is like an egg // put my hand upon you leg” — great couple! ( I must be a thinking person’s dance-party animal, who would have thunk it?)

  3. Jim Says:

    Oh yes. The new detholz era. Got me hooked. For better or for worse, it got me dancing in public too.

  4. bp Says:

    Wow, you’re totally right! Those polyrhythms in the bridge are amazing!

  5. dj Says:

    O.K. So how do I say this?

    Club Oslo is one of those songs that combine everything I like about the Detholz, and it creates a song that I don’t really like.

    The intro guitar riff — like.
    The keyboard wackiness – like.
    The falsetto vocals – like.

    But somehow, they come together a bit odd at Club Oslo. Live, it’s a bit more energetic and it’s more fun. You also tend to extend the keyboard noodling live. Maybe it’s the drum machine snare sound on the album track and demo?

    Live, you guys rock this one out. But on the album, this is a track that I skip.

  6. Jim Says:

    I really wouldn’t have expected such dull drum reactions to this one (the song, not the version). Very interesting considering the sell ability and “time to get pumped” kind of attitude it brings.

  7. detholz Says:

    Jim: Dr. Jacoby strikes again! From what I remember (glug) that was pretty much the perfect Maplewood Halloween party.

    I can see why Detholz! graybeards might not take to this song. It’s definitely a lot more straightforward than other fare on Cast Out Devils. Proof’s in the pudding, though– it gets a consistently strong response live.

    I remember seeing you out there more than once shaking your money-maker to this.

    ‘Bab: I tend to write in spurts of songs– like 4 or 5 at once and then nothing for weeks and weeks. This was written alongside other Cast Out Devils tunes like “Psychotherapy” and “Chapel of Love.” I suppose that was the official beginning of our break from the past.

    Given the DH! songs you seem to gravitate towards, I can see why this one doesn’t turn your crank as much.

    BP: Yeah. Pure accident! I wish I was that smart, but Mother Nature decided to contribute to this song. Always a pleasure when she drops by.

    DJ: So, it’s a DH! “supersong” (like a “supergroup”)?

    As in ‘Bab’s case, I can see why this one doesn’t appeal as much to fans of Old Detholz!. It’s repetitive, the chord changes are fairly straightforward, and rides along in your average ABACAB taxi.

    I’m convinced, though, that were a major label to touch “Cast Out Devils” with a 10-foot pole (imagine that we’re living in a parallel universe), “Club Oslo” would be a radio single along with “IMA Believer.”

  8. Jim Says:

    IMA Believer: Now that’s a a song that I liked the demo of more than the album version. It seemed more energetic, the vocal performance is more lively, and the recording quality seemed pretty darn good.

    And excellent show last night, Coop. It’s good to not stand out quite so much when I’m trying to “dance”.

  9. kebabdylan Says:

    i am, indeed, a self-acknowledging music snob with a great disdain for “the common man” – blame american idol for that. But i too like straightforward songs as well. Would you not agree that “cast out devils” itself would fall into the “more straightforward” bucket? One of my favorite DH songs! COD evokes something in me that CO does not.

    And the only reason I EVER danced around to this song was because I was worried about hurting your feelings ;-). I think I can boil my “not getting” this one down to the drums and keyboards. I think if it was recorded with a more “dirty” guitar sounds and less synthy drum beats, I’d like it better. I do enjoy hearing it live. Not as much as other songs, but it IS indeed a very fun song.

  10. kebabdylan Says:

    oh and I should add, when stieny breaks into his hand clap dance routine – best moment of any detholz show.

  11. Amy Says:

    Album version definitely rocks more than the demo. The demo’s more like “Club Oslo in a Can.” That said, the abovementioned polyrhythm kicks ass, and the demo gets better as it goes along.

    The thing about the album cut is that it has a frenzied, desperate aspect that doesn’t quite come across in the demo. There’s more emotion there. The urgency really makes the track.

    Still, I’d dance to either one.

  12. detholz Says:

    Jim: Thanks for coming out, as always. Especially on such a shittay night. That show was a lot more fun than it probably should have been!

    ‘Bab: Cast Out Devils falls into a different category for me than Club Oslo. Or, at least as far as I remember, I thought that Cast Out Devils was a more complex song, esp. with all of those awkward accents in the verses. Those took some whacking at in rehearsal, as I recall.

    Music is like beer: some people like the IPA, others the stout. Still others the Hefeweizen or the Pilsner. Still others want to suck down a Bud Lite before a relaxing roll in the hay with Milton Berle. To each his own!

    And don’t worry about hurting my feelings. If you listen closely to these songs, you know I don’t have any.

    Amy: I also prefer the full band version. Most of the songs we’ve ever done over the years sound 50-100 times improved when the other DH! play them — as opposed to just me and my merry band of mechanical munchkins.

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