Electroclash, the unholy fusion of techno and indie rock that has heralded a rebirth of dance culture in the new millennium, has swept the nightclubs of Europe and U.S. cities over the past three years. Giving inspiration to a new generation of culture-voidoids with vacant stares and meticulously disheveled outfits to go out and experiment with their sexuality and chemical intake, electroclash has also rekindled interest in technology-driven music, which was shunned by the progressive fringe after the success of Nine Inch Nails and the horrific saga of lingering nu metal. (What possesses these people to put turntable sounds into metal songs?) But while the lasting influence of industrial permeates mainstream hard rock, the little man can still prove that plugging in your instruments is not necessarily an act of artistic treason.
Case in point is the New Orleans one-man multi-instrumental performer Jay Poggi, former drummer of Math who goes by the enigmatic title Quintron, a name that apparently stems from the electrical outfit that employed his father. Far from the spotlight currently shining upon Casey Spooner, Quintron’s kitschy brand of organs-and-drums dance-funk predates the art-school electroclash experiment, but is nonetheless liable to be lumped into that performance category with Are You Ready for an Organ Solo?, his seventh full length. Performing alongside his wife/vocalist/puppeteer Miss Pussycat (Panacea Theriac), Quintron serves up a batch of songs that fit the electro bill, as they are best listened to either under the influence or whilst experimenting with your sexual identity (or most likely both). As Quintron, Poggi stylizes his musical delivery with original dance grooves created by a homemade arrangement of organs and gadgets, including his personal masterpiece, the Drum Buddy, described as a “a five-oscillator, light-activated, mechanically-rotating drum machine.”
The resulting sound is intoxicating, catchy and very danceable. Standout tracks include “Miniature Breakdown,” with the opening lyrics performed by Miss Pussycat, whose voice is a dead ringer for Kathleen Hanna minus the growling bits. She starts off the jam with a subversive invitation: “Put your right leg in\ Put your left leg in\ Put your bad ass in\ Lay your money down\ Buy your drugs now\ …\Grab your favorite girl\ And repeat these words\ What’s your pleasure? \ Now or never.” Another danceable number, “Unknown Place,” starts the album and later a down-tempo quirky track, “Underwater Dance Club,” features an onstage puppet act of two pirates in search of a mysterious aquatic hotspot where “All the drinks are free.”
The strength of these tracks comes from the utter uniqueness of where the sound originates. The group is a culmination of “five years of research, development and much experimentation with the photoelectric cell.” That quote is in reference to the Drum Buddy, but it vaguely sums up the journey that has been Quintron’s six prior full lengths. Honing their talents and themes seems to be the explanation for Quintron’s continued obscurity, but with Are You Ready for an Organ Solo? the group seems poised to move up a notch in terms of underground recognition.
My guess: the couple is getting on in years and Miss Pussycat is looking for her eccentric electrical genius Quintron to get his share of the fame (and cash) currently being spread around to anyone that could share the stage with the primarily New York-based acts that have been vaulted into the global avant-garde consciousness. The result of this ambition however, is nine tracks of energetic, unique and homemade dance music from the Big Easy that’s got more soul than shrimp gumbo and a live act featuring organs, puppets, tailored outfits and two earnest performers that “just wanna dance, party dance, party dance, party dance, party dance, party dance, party ’til you puke and dance until you break the floor.”