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DANCE SCANDAL AT THE GYMNASIUM!

by The Claudettes

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about

Piano, snarling bass and sultry vocals get into a blues-punk brawl at the studio of Grammy-winning Black Keys producer Mark Neill. On their head-spinning new album, the Claudettes summon early blues, '60s pop-soul and Cramps-like psychobilly as they introduce the lineup that’s been touring for two years: piano, drums, "Bass VI" guitar and three singers.

Revved-up raves "Influential Farmers" and "Taco Night Material" and garage-soul stompers "Don't Stay with Me" and "Give It All Up for Good" sit alongside transfixing ballads "Pull Closer to Me" and "Death and Traffic." Look behind the eclectic tracks, though, and you'll find a common thread: a search for humanity behind the vitriol and cracked communication of the Internet Age. And need anything more be said about the timely prescience of "Naked on the Internet"?

The band recorded at Soil of the South for 10 days, tapping Neill's vast knowledge and collection of vintage equipment. Neill, who shuns the practice of building tracks in Pro Tools, had the band play again and again until "THE" take arrived. Marxophones, mellotrons, fuzz pedals and percussion helped finalize Neill's sonic visions.

This is the Claudettes' first album with seductive singer Berit Ulseth. "She went to the New School in NY for jazz vocals, but she's got a tone you can't learn," says Claudettes pianist/songwriter Johnny Iguana (who toured with Junior Wells, Otis Rush and punk-organ band oh my god). "Sometimes she reminds me of 'I Feel the Earth Move' Carole King, and she's got this Patsy Cline lushness to her voice."

What's traditional on "DANCE SCANDAL AT THE GYMNASIUM!!" are the blues, soul and rock 'n' roll touchstones. What's new and indescribable is the sum total of these songs, musicians and this producer, who describes the album thusly: "Haunted cabaret...David Lynch movie music crossed with Allen Toussaint's driving piano sound...Like Otis Spann and Mark Sandman from Morphine sitting in with Keely Smith…I love this record, it's crazy good."

credits

released March 23, 2018

Berit Ulseth: Vocals
Johnny Iguana: Piano and keyboards, percussion, vocals
Zach Verdoorn: Basses and guitars, vocals
Matthew Torre: Drums, percussion

Recorded, produced and mixed by Mark Neill at Soil of the South, Valdosta, GA
Mastered by Lee Dyess and Mark Neill in Valdosta, GA

All songs by Brian Berkowitz (OM GOD MUSIC/ASCAP)

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The Claudettes Chicago, Illinois

The Claudettes fuse Windy City piano blues with the full-throttle energy of rockabilly and punk, jazz-age echoes of burlesque and vaudeville and the sultriness of '60s pop-soul to write a thrilling new chapter in American roots music. Johnny Iguana (ex-Junior Wells/Otis Rush/oh my god) works the piano alongside singer Berit Ulseth, bassist/singer Zach Verdoorn and drummer Matt Torre. ... more

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Track Name: Don't Stay with Me
You just had to tell me all about it
Make a long story short? I doubt it

When I'm lookin' for a thrill I have to dream it
Try again now, do it like you mean it

You obey too willingly. You come way too easily, when I call.
You shouldn't stay with me, at all, don't stay with me

A good idea is a good idea is a good idea is a good idea—turn here.
Let me off, let me out, this is my stop.
Stop the bus, I'm gonna exit through the gift shop.

You know, you fold like a sheet. I want to shake like a leaf, on a tree.
You come way too easily, for me, don't stay with me.

Do it like you mean it. Do it like you mean it.

A good idea is a good idea is a good idea

You shouldn't stay with me. You shouldn't stay with me, baby.
You shouldn't stay with me. You shouldn't stay with me, baby.
You're just as sweet as can be, but please, don't stay with me.
Track Name: November
She's still dying for a toehold, before she finds herself too old
Dusty piles of the unsold, should've done like she was told

August of two thousand and three
That was the best month that she'd ever seen
Tour bus and flowers and white limousine

Now she's fumbling for a foothold, and she knows it's getting late
She's still trying for a toehold

September of two thousand and ten
The end of an era, it seemed to her then
November, the winter came early again

Now she's vying for a toehold, with no ambition at all
She's just fumbling for a foothold, only trying not to fall

Are you fighting for a foothold, after climbing up this far?
Are you scratching for a toehold, staring skyward at the stars?
Track Name: Give It All Up for Good
Nobody knows how to talk to each other these daze
I said nobody knows how to talk to each these daze
He-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey

Everywhere where I look now, everything is failing into place
Yeah, everywhere where I look now, everything is failing into place
He-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey

Everyone around me, everyone is going inane
I tell you, everyone around me, everyone is going inane
He-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey

Chorus: Give it all up for good

Let me tell ya this, now, love is the sweatiest thing
Don't say I didn't warn ya: love is the sweatiest thing
He-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey

Chorus: Give it all up for good

Bridge:
If you get down when you look around
And hear lame sounds all around town
Just pick yourself up…and dust yourself off
When you get intensely upset
by the set that bets against you when you haven't even met 'em yet
Just pick yourself up…and dust yourself off
And give it all up for good!
Track Name: Naked on the Internet
He shoulda donned his shorts on the beach in France
He shoulda shut the door when he doffed his underpants
But he didn't, and now he's...

Naked on the Internet!
America saw him naked, and a hundred years from now he'll still be
Naked on the Internet! (piano fill)

There's a hole in his backyard fence—Paparazzi! Paparazzi!
It makes no sense not to mend that fence
You know it's pretty dense not to mend that fence
You should know if you're a movie star
Telephoto lenses work from really, really far, but…
But he didn't do that—No, he didn't do that
He did not mend that fence, now that doesn't make a lick of sense, and now he's
Naked on the Internet! Naked on the Internet!

Naked on the Internet! Naked on the Internet!
America saw him naked…America saw him naked…Even Russia!
Russia saw him naked!
From coast to coast, everybody knows: He's naked on the Internet!
Naked on the Internet!
Track Name: Pull Closer to Me
I think that I died, the world is loaded with clues
The first one is you. I think that I died

I don't think I'm here, I'm much too content.
Don't know where I went, but I don't think I'm here.

Don't know where I am, but I have you along.
Don't know for how long, but I have you along.

Don't know where I'm going but you decided to come
Along for the ride. I think that I died.

The way the crowds became ghosts, the way they won't make a sound,
The way I have you around. I think that I died.

I wonder how it went down. I've got a feeling I drowned,
'Cause everything is drifting and I don't hear a sound.
And I can't touch the ground, and I'm looking around
And it's you that surrounds, and we sink to the ground
And stop breathing together, and we've finally found
The isolation we seek, no one else is around
And I'm thrilled that we're bound to never be found
So let's kill the lights, and let's kill the sound
And you close your eyes, and I'll close mine, too
And pull closer to me, and I'll pull closer to you.

I think that I died, the world is loaded with clues
The first one is you. I think that I died

I don't think I'm here, I'm much too content.
Don't know where I went, but I don't think I'm here.

Don't know where I am, but I have you along.
Don't know for how long, but I have you along.

Don't know where I'm going but you decided to come
Along for the ride. I think that I died.
Track Name: Bill Played Saxophone
Bill played saxophone and everything was fine
Then George played Risk and all the world was licked by flames of fire
It's just a stumble
It's like a phase of the moon
They'll start to crumble
It will be over soon

Every now and then we take a deep nosedive (X3)

Golf carts everywhere and flutes of pink champagne
All that wiped away we had to sell it all, dear Lord
So now we're humble
But just wait 'til June
They're gonna fumble
We'll be in power soon

Once you hit the bottom you can only climb (X3)

It's rough and tumble
But we're about to win
This is a rumble
To lose would be a sin
Track Name: Influential Farmers
Influential cobblers don't wear boots
Influential coppers won't just shoot

So passé

Influential farmers don't wear hats
Influential bombers won't use a match

So very passé
Read an essay sometime
It's not 1989 no more

(into bridge) ahh-ahhhhh

Influential bankers work Sundays
Influential butlers ditch the trays

Influential influential influential…….
Track Name: Death and Traffic
I don't want to hear "We got 'im!" "We got 'im!"
I can't bear to hear "They shot 'im!" "They shot 'im!"
All I wanna hear when the dust has cleared is "We found 'em! We found 'em! We found 'em!"
All I wanna hear is "Yes, my dear, the fear is nearly over."

I want that man to say "I love you, my brother"
To take away the day when someone has to tell bad news to a mother
And I want to see the day when you men in grey say "I won't destroy another…another"
The boys in the city and the girls so pretty should run for fun, not for cover…for cover

From the front seat…he hears him…in the backseat…singing and laughing
As he drives him to class, all the radio blasts is death…just death, and traffic
He feels he has to shield his young boy's ears from the world that's all around him, that surrounds him
So he says louder than the news, "Let's go out to the zoo, and go for ice cream," and he says, "Can we?," he says, "Can we?"

I just want to hear, "We saved them! We saved them!"
I just want to hear, "We saved them! We saved them!
I only want to hear, "We saved them! We saved them!"
I only want to hear, "We saved them! We saved them!"
Track Name: Total Misfit
I'm a knife, but we're not in the Age of Incision
I'm a very sick man who repulses physicians
An insecure actor who invites derision
I don't know what to do

I was left in charge but can't make a decision
I'm a crumbling building craving demolition
A secret agent 10 years between missions
And I have no idea what to do. AAAHH!

I'm a former rocket with a faulty ignition
A minor work with a major omission
I've always been prolific but never saw one commission
I have no earthly idea what to do. AAAHH!

And why am I even telling you this?
You're just gonna promise, "You are gonna get through this. You're gonna get through this"
Aaahh
So what am I gonna do about this?
I'll find some other misfits.
We'll get together and remember, or maybe retrofit (guitar line)
I'm really startin' to wonder: (guitar line) Did my shape ever fit? Aaahh

(guitar solo)

Well, maybe this is a good thing
To be a total misfit
I wouldn't wanna be a good fit
No, not in this
Aaahh
AAAHH!

I'm a proud old magazine with no new edition
A spellbinding trick, but there are no more magicians
A small dry well that hasn't seen much wishin'
There's nothing left that I can do (repeat two more times)
AAAHH!
Track Name: Taco Night Material
I'm s'posed to dress up for ya? I'm s'posed to lie down for ya?
I'm s'posed to go down for ya? I'm s'posed to cheer up for ya?
I'm s'posed to wake up before ya? To make a cake just for ya?
I'm s'posed to bake it for you now?

Nothing feels right, but Tuesdays we have Taco Night

I'm s'posed to take the car, I'm s'posed to drive it far
I'm s'posed to find some woods, I wonder if I could?
I'm s'posed to roll you out, You're s'posed to beg and shout
But no one's s'posed to hear you now

It's a rainy midnight burial
I'm not really Taco Night material

I'm s'posed to come to the station, You're s'posed to be on vacation
I'm s'posed to give 'em the proof now, I'm s'posed to tell 'em the truth now
I'm s'posed to answer the question, I'm s'posed to give 'em directions
Here's my confession now:

I'm not really Taco Night material
I'm not really Taco Night material
I'm s'posed to be Taco Night material
But I'm not really Taco Night material
Track Name: Utterly Absurd
As I'm searching for the perfect words
Here's something that I overheard:
"THIS LIFE ON EARTH HAS GOTTEN UTTERLY ABSURD!"

We're all just latent meat
Let's have a "meet 'n' greet"
Billions spent on God
No one gets the job

THIS LIFE ON EARTH HAS GOTTEN UTTERLY ABSURD!

Thought dies as transmissions rise
"I'll look it up" has devoured "I know"
Fast and now killed I know how
Lords and more Lords
Wars and warlords

THIS LIFE ON EARTH HAS GOTTEN UTTERLY ABSURD!

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