Monday, November 28, 2016

The sky is falling down: Mark Sultan returns!

Nine years ago, The King Khan and BBQ Show toured, and made a cheery little appearance at Spaceland in Los Angeles, and if you'd asked their handsome German merch guy which of their albums he preferred, he might've said something along the lines of, "Oh, it depends. This one [holding up an album] is more doo-woppy than that one [pointing]. It all depends on how doo-woppy you like it." In fact, this is what he'd said. 

In August 2016, Mark Sultan returned to Los Angeles on his own, as part of a solo tour marked by angry social media posts about not receiving support unless he was touring as part of his band. The show was equally uncomfortable, Sultan alternating between his energetic croon and aggressive threats to end the show, responding to interruptions by a persistent heckler. Naturally, this distracted from what would otherwise have been wildly apparent, the fact that Sultan happens to be a hell of a singer who actually sings. With his newest LP, BBQ, which is available digitally but can't seem to make its way to press, one gets the impression that Sultan just can't catch a break. 

He's done the one-man band thing for years, but his teenage longing on this album is more akin to a middle-aged ice cream man, demanding that you get in his truck, little girl. He's the 43-year old who's never stopped pining, only these love letters are interspersed with moments of brilliant madness; listen for "Agitated," "You to Be Mine," and "Black and Blue." This is no longer doo-woppy crooning and daydreaming, it's sneering and bitterly insisting that you're mine, goddamn it. He's been singing the same song all along, but he's grown a bit impatient, and he's created the soundtrack to a life that sounds to have fallen in a hole, regardless of whether it's really the case or not. So when this record manages to get released (and it appears to exist nowhere), give it a purchase and help him get to a nice, happy place where he can get back to being more doo-woppy.

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