Kid Koala

    Your Mom’s Favorite DJ


    Kid Koala couldn’t have released his new album at a better time. DJ Shadow’s The Outsider, with its odd mix of hardcore hyphy and indie-rock instrumentals, failed to impress. The long-awaited follow-up to the Avalanches’ 2001 debut, Since I Left You, has left fans in such anticipation that the band’s label even jokingly put out a press release saying they heard the record, but it felt “a little rushed” (fans were not amused). I’m jonesing for some turntablist fun, and Koala brings it in bucketfuls on Your Mom’s Favorite DJ.


    Koala cuts the album into two halves: the “left side” and “right side.” On your CD player, the album will show as only having two tracks. But Koala subdivides those tracks into smaller songs that he gives titles to. First up is “Start Heeeeeears Koala,” which opens things up very much the way Shadow did on Endtroducing. Shuffling early-jazz samples segue into “Stoppin Traffic.” What’s amazing throughout the album — on “Things’ll Be Good Again,” “Dinner at 1:00 a.m.,” “Slew Test 3” and “The Denouement” — is how successfully Koala interweaves these very old sounds (Delta blues, ragtime piano) into his work. I’m sure purist 78 collectors are going to flip their wigs, thinking that those pristine forms of music are being bastardized into an eclectic new hip-hop sound, but Koala gets it right. He’s not exploiting that music for easily won nostalgia; it’s clear he has an abiding respect for the music he samples.


    And there are many samples worth noting. A short list of sources includes Gremlins, The Wedding Singer, Anchorman, CSI, the same “where’d you learn how to shake that booty?” line from Lionrock’s “Fire up the Shoesaw,” and even Kid Rock’s “Bawitidabaw.” And keep an ear out for a hidden track in which Koala uses a character he’s writing a book about — a clarinet-playing mosquito — for something that sounds like a very drunken rendition of “Home on the Range.”


    Koala crams a lot into what barely registers past a half hour. Call it a glaring example of our ADD-riddled culture if you must. Doesn’t mean it isn’t killer.



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