Last night I schlepped down to Barbes in Park Slope to see my friend Eric perform with Rat Cat Hogan. I had never heard the band perform, although I've often heard their guitarist-singer, Herbert Bergel, referred to as having "The best name in music." . The show was awesome. Rat Cat Hogan is normally just two guys, Herbert and his drummer Robbie, but they asked Eric to join them as a bassist, because he is a wondrous bassist (he plays with The Long Winters and The Capillaries in his freetime). And he's awesome. We like to yell "ERIC ROCKS!" when he's on stage, just because.
So, anyhoo! Rat Cat Hogan totally split my mind wide open. I am totally in love with their music. I bought their new CD and it is rad, although it pales in comparison with their live performance. But check out this song, "Mermaid Chorus" from their last album. The mp3 is from their website, and I suggest right-click-and-saving, because you'll want to listen to it a million times.
Herbert writes these memoirtastic songs about his life, and I totally blissed out while listening to him sing, because he does this kinda-non-rhyming free association that scans really well, and it made me start free-associ-songwriting in my head and made me want to write songs like that for the rest of my life and I started composing all sorts of lyrics on the subway (I went to a birthday party after the show) and, even though they all sort of flow to the Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy" it makes me happy to imagine that I could perform songs like that, songs about falling asleep drunk and dreaming of dryhumping someone. (Note: That's my interpolation; Rat Cat Hogan does not (to my knowledge) have any songs about dryhumping).
Rat Cat Hogan does, however, have a song about the NY Blackout and I heart it; it's the only song I know (thus far) about that event. There's nothing better than when someone writes a song about an event of which you were a part. Although I'm sure if someone wrote a song about breaking my heart, I wouldn't like that very much. But, songs that share the vague sense of community, the collective unconscious experiential NYC life -- those, those make my heart squeal with glee. It's like hearing Simon and Garfunkel's "Bleecker Street" or Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" (there's music on Clinton Street all through the evening), or when you recognize a NY reference (like in Soul Coughing's "Super Bon Bon" when Doughty recites the signage in the Penn Station subways, or when you think you recognize yourself in a friend's song (Idlewild's song "American English" addresses that psychosis nicely) -- that moment of awesome song-driven shared-experience-ness.