Boom Pam album

I've been waiting for this Boom Pam album for about a year. They're an Israeli band that I discovered via their guest appearance on last year's Balkan Beat Box album. The song they played on, "Gross," was prominently featured on Megan's Passover party mix: it's a fantastic Greek-style, get-drunk get-down circle dance. (I have a deep affinity for circle dancing.) But I must say, I'm a little disappointed. I get the sense from this first release that Boom Pam is still finding their way and maybe groping in the dark a bit.

Because our mp3s are posted for instructional value, I've chosen a couple of exemplary failures. I actually do like quite a few of their songs, but with all this mouthing off in the comments box lately, I guess I need an outlet for my aggression.

"Let Me Touch" is a freaking train wreck of a song. First, the creepy vocals

don't be afraid

I will not hurt you

just a little touch

and then I do you

and then these overbearing discordant strings! They seem like they're saying something portentous, then they turn into cheesy Bollywood-style exclamation points (POW!). I'm guessing they're going for a klezmer-type comic feel, and, with a tuba in the band, they're halfway there. But this song just doesn't work for me, except at the bridge, where you have a glimpse of what these guys are all about.

"Dalida" starts off, and I'm feeling like, "Hey now, hey now, don't dream it's over." Then it goes off into this cool Middle Eastern groove, with the crazy surf guitars chiming in. But then, around 1:20, it goes into prog-rock freak-out. (I'm not a prog kind of girl, du tout.) See, you want to love a band that lists Dick Dale AND Umm Kulthum as influences, but the mix can be a little hard to pull off. When it works, it's wonderful. "Otto Chiconi" might be my favorite song on the album and you can't go wrong with "Hashish," available on their myspace page, here.

Let's consider Boom Pam a work in progress. I'll bet they're a great live show. Useless trivia: one of the lead guys is named Uzi Feinerman (he's the mastermind of that "Let Me Touch" song). There was also a Knesset member named Uzi Feinerman and for some reason I find this amusing.

Speaking of Israel, I discovered this Filastine track on the fantastic Aussie blog fat planet. (As of Tuesday, they've got some truly ill Palestinian hip-hop/electronica posted. Definitely check that.) Filastine, however, is an indigenous product: well, he lives in planet Seattle, anyway. He's a founder of the Infernal Noise Brigade, an anarchist marching band, and he does "guerilla audio interventions" and "counter-hegemonic brown sound." That is, he's a mixmaster, on the global political tip. Check him out, here. And note the Butthole Surfers sample in "Judas Goat."

Here in the States, we're all about equal time for opposing points of view. We'll sell you a t-shirt, no matter what your politics are. You a Palestinian sympathizer? Order here. You down with Israel? Order here. You a self-loathing Jew? Order here. Supporters of the two-state solution have to buy two shirts. There's justice in that.

Let's all wear our shirts and live together and be free.