Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chrissy Murderbot's latest, Women's Studies, is face-melting -- as usual

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 10:07 AM

womensStudies_v03.jpg

Bass heads beware: Chrissy Murderbot has thrown down the gauntlet.

Two years after releasing his self-titled debut album, the Kansas City native, whose real name is Chris Shively, has returned with another installment of window-rattling club anthems.

Women's Studies, like its predecessor, is an album built around a simple goal: getting you off your ass and onto the dance floor. It's filled with unabashedly crude titles -- "Bump Uglies" and "Heavy Butt," for instance -- and hooks that are indecent by default.

Standout track "Sweet Thang" may just be the dance track of the year. It's a dizzying array of booty-bass and space sounds from the '80s, punctuated with rhymes by Dallas-based rapper Coool Dundee. Ever mindful, Murderbot follows it up with the spooky, spacey "Jiggle," a song with boiled-down lyrics that are on every man's dance-floor wish list -- "Let me see your body jiggle," repeated ad nauseam.

Murderbot has cranked up the tempo for this album, and we can only assume that it's a product of his four years' immersion in Chicago's house/dance/juke scene.

For those who don't know -- and there are plenty -- juke has developed in the last decade on the West and South sides of Chicago. It's bass-heavy and raw, sparse and cavernous. Most of all, it's blazing fast, usually north of 150 b.p.m., but who's counting?

"Bussin' Down," which features juke legend DJ Spinn, is a good example. It's like Chick Corea and Squarepusher cut a track together while hippy-flipping (not that we would know). It may sound too fast to dance to, but we'd bet money you won't be able to sit still.

Murderbot has his thumbs in many pies. He has toured throughout both sides of the pond and in March even played a few shows in Caracas. He has founded three indie labels out of his apartment: Sleazetone Records, Dead Homies Recordings and this year's addition, Loose Squares. In 2009 and 2010, he created "My Year of Mixtapes," a blog on which he released an hour-long, themed mixtape each week for -- you guessed it -- an entire year. In whatever time he had left over, he put together Women's Studies, set to drop May 9 on Planet Mu.

Like its creator, the album is impossible to pigeonhole. For you genre hawks, it sits somewhere between dancehall, UK funky, dubstep and juke. For the rest of us, it's a face-melting cacophony of 808-inspired bass bumps, rim shots and hand claps, with a healthy dose of patois. It is blaring and brash, frenzied and foxy.

"Between putting records out, DJing and doing remixes, I usually am able to pay my bills, [and] I've got enough name recognition that I can tour internationally," Chrissy said in an interview last spring.

A self-sustaining musician in the days of torrent downloading? He may not call Kansas City home anymore, but he sure has made us proud.

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