Golem, Black Bear Combo | Martyrs' | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., Feb. 11, 9 p.m. 2010
Price: $15, $12 in advance
This Brooklyn sextet's previous album, Fresh Off Boat, was full of songs about the experiences of Ukrainian Jews on their way to Ellis Island. Golem's latest, Citizen Boris (JDub), takes the next logical step and looks at the lives Jewish immigrants have built in America—singer and accordionist Annette Ezekiel Kogan based many of her lyrics on tapes of interviews she'd conducted. Though the title track, which incorporates a prosaic recitation of questions and answers from a citizenship exam, would stink up an off-Broadway musical, many of her other songs do a fine job evoking the complex, confusing process of assimilation—"Mirror Mirror" presents the inner monologue of a woman who's having second thoughts about leaving the homeland, for instance, and "Tucheses and Nenes," a nod to a Lenny Bruce routine about obscenity, is an amusing look at the language barriers between recent immigrants and more settled Americans. I find second vocalist Aaron Diskin a little too theatrical—imagine Mandy Patinkin in the body of Eugene Hutz—but the music itself is smoking hot, a recklessly giddy amalgam of eastern European styles spiked with especially bracing work from trombonist Curtis Hasselbring and violinist Alicia Jo Rabins. —Peter Margasak


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