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[whitespace] Musical Moonies

New Moonies album nestles nicely between Blackalicious and the Beastie Boys

By David Espinoza

MANY PUNK RAWKER and ragamuffin jam bands have busted out of Santa Cruz over the years, but homegrown hip-hop is about as hard to find as an unsoiled sidewalk on the south end of Pacific Avenue. That history aside, local hip-hop crew the Moonies' third full-length album, Dundee Orange Marmalade, is a surprisingly tight effort.

The semi-low-fi samples (a tiny piece of J.J. Fad's "Supersonic" appears on track 2) and very relaxed beats/tempos are matched well with flowing rhymes that fit somewhere between Blackalicious and the Beastie Boys' older material. Lyrically speaking, MCs Rob Rush, Matty Eye, Vince the Bard, Cumulus and Primordial Soup epitomize slouching skater boy/stoner life.

Songs like "BBQ Anthem" (an ode to kick-back Santa Cruz summer days) can't step though to the more aggressive and irreverent moments on "Downtime," where Cumulus, Vince, Rush and Matty Eye fight the man by "urinat[ing] in public places."

Some of the funniest material comes when the Moonies lampoon romantic pop-punk (a genre that every Santa Cruz teen seems to be versed in) on track 10, "Would It Be Alright?", where they sing, "Would it be alright if I licked your forehead tonight?" in Weezeresque harmonies. My favorite moment, though, would have to be the sample from "White Men Can't Jump," where the character Woody explains why he looks like a chump before sinking a ball through the hoop with ease.

Crustaceans Poised for Big Things

How local stalwarts the Exploding Crustaceans have managed to keep major-record label execs from banging on their door with a fat contract over the years is one of the great mysteries of Santa Cruz (perhaps even greater than how our City Council allowed that hideous Welcome to River Street sign to be built a few weeks ago).

The Crusties (as their legions of fans refer to them) have never, and will never, give in to the man! And their latest album, Dudes and Bros (Unfun Records), proves it. Crunchier than that first bowl of Fruit Loops, more out of control than a UCSC frosh student high off their first taste of freedom from Mom and Dad, and heavier than a WWF fan from Iowa, the Crusties serve up a crushing dose of thrash-metal noise every preschooler and senior citizen should enjoy.

From the song "My Dad's a Nudist" to "Earwax" and "Lesbian Metal," hesher gods (no longer sporting mullets) Matt K., Joe G., Dave G. and Chris G. are done playing small dives and house parties--they are big time now. Rumor has it they've turned down a European tour with Marilyn Manson and Bryan Adams so they can focus on "keepin' it real for everyday Americans." Don't even try to ask for their autographs anymore--the Crusties are artists and refuse to be bothered with the petty adulation of spiritually empty people. Only the true fans, the ones who've stayed with them all along, will be able to say, "I knew them when."

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From the September 19-26, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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