This afternoon I picked up Our Most Beloved by artist/boy genius James Kochalka. His latest album, Our Most Beloved, is a compilation of songs that he's released here and there over the past few years. It's a really good thing that this compilation exists, because Kochalka is an excellent, humorous musician and artist who will quickly win you over. I know I've been won over--in fact, let's just take a look at the prevalent role he's had in my conversations today. He's dominated in a way that's quite amusing, and these things say so much more than your regular record review...
Dear Colin Clary--
You were so right about James Kochalka! I'm just sorry it took me so long to finally get around to checking him out. I should have listened to you a long time ago, and now I realize that I missed out on a year's worth of enjoyable songs, silly lyrics and just out and out happiness in song form. Maybe I need to work on my listening skills.
The other night you asked me what was cool in music these days, because you felt out of the loop. I didn't really give a very good answer, I know, but let me tell you now, I got this CD that I simply HAVE to tell you about, by this awesome guy named James Kochalka Superstar. He may not be what's cool with music these days, but he'll become the coolest thing in your stereo deck. He's twisted and funny and somewhat ribald and hilarious and just out-and-out enjoyable. "Frog On Top Of The Skyscraper" is funny as heck--it's kinda like the chat we had the other day about Godzillas attacking scale model skyscrapers set to a casio beat--and it might give you an idea for one of your next building design projects. You should treat yourself to his CD as an end-of-the-semester/before-you-go-out-on-tour gift. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
JosephK: oh god, sean
JosephK: i bought the best
JosephK: CD EVER
JosephK: you know how I mentioned that website, Americanelf.com to you?
JosephK: Well, i picked up James Kochalka Superstar's Our Beloved CD
JosephK: it's a comp of stuff he put on American Elf
JosephK: and his other records
JosephK: SEAN IT IS SO GENIUS
SeanP: what does it sound like?
JosephK: imagine Jonathan Richman kicking Atom Goren's ass with a Frank Zappa score as performed by a collaboration of They Might Be Giants and the songwriters of Schoolhouse Rock
JosephK: that hurt my head to write but i think i kinda hinted at how genius this record is
I hope I get to see you soon, because I want you to hear some songs. "Hockey Monkey" and "Neigh-Neigh and Woo-Woo" they are called, and I want you to hear them because I love to watch you smile and giggle and dance around so. Hurry up and get older, so you can learn and sing these songs all the day long.
Dear Dee Jay Cee Pee,
I know it's a little bit early, but I would like to point out to you a great little Christmas ditty that I've recently heard. It's a song called "Sleighride to Heck" by a guy named James Kochalka Superstar. It's a lovely little Vocoder-riddled ditty about Satan kidnapping Santa and how the Superstar gathers up a posse to get Santa back and save Christmas. It's a sea shanty disguised as a Christmas Carol, or is that the other way around? Either and all, I heard it and thought that it might fit nicely in your Christmas Show setlist. The song is on his album "Our Most Beloved," which is utter genius.
Dear James Kochalka--
I have no idea how to contact you, but I thought I'd close this review with a personal comment or two. When I bought your CD today, I had a choice between it and a few other records. I debated with myself for a few minutes, but I chose yours, and I'm glad I did. I mean, I've got plenty of records by bands that kind of sound like Grandaddy, but I don't really have any that sound like James Kochalka Superstar. Without boring the hell out of you--or revealing too much personal information about myself, either--I've had an emotionally trying few weeks, and the amount of laughing that I did on the drive home. I feel bad for Ryan Adams--I was going to give him the top billing today, but I can't listen to his heartbreaking record of heartbreak right now...I'm too busy smiling.
Any and all, I hope you are doing well, and thank you for making music, for drawing your comics and for being the Superstar you are.
Artist Website: http://www.americanelf.com
Label Website: http://www.rykodisc.com