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Solo Cholo

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Album Review

Kid Congo Powers has made such a varied, entertaining name for himself over the years that not even one anthology could capture everything he's done, and Solo Cholo intentionally steers clear from trying to do that. Instead of his key and killer sideman roles in the Cramps, the Gun Club and as part of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Solo Cholo is an all over the place sampling of his many other efforts where he has functioned as sideman or key collaborator. Covering both rarities and more well-known work, Solo Cholo shows that trying to pigeonhole Powers as simply a master of trash garage rock is far too limiting — though certainly a strong case is made for that from the start thanks to the brassy, strutting "Sophisticated Boom Boom" via the Knoxville Girls. But right after that is a late-'80s solo cut "La Historia de un Amour," featuring artists like Barry Adamson and Robin Guthrie creating nervous, high speed dance-rock that Powers fronts with leering, sleazy aplomb. The inspired schizophrenic sequencing crosses twenty years of work, but whatever he does or works with, everything sounds arch and wrong in the best possible way. Two cuts with the Foetus-goes-IDM approach of Khan get Powers further into the realm of pervy beats, while Foetus himself oversaw the production on the final selection, "Plunder the Tombs/Headbolt" from his debut singing efforts in Fur Bible. Quieter songs like "Hang the Moon" and "Power," the former previously unreleased, from his collaborations with Paul Wallfisch and Abby Travis, and Congo Norvell's brilliant "The Last Word," allow him to show off a calmer but no less smoky approach. Meanwhile, a live performance with Lydia Lunch and Die Haut on "Parts Unknown" is compelling theatricality at its finest, the singers' voices rising and riding with the tense, swift music perfectly.


Born: 27 March 1959 in La Puente, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Kid Congo Powers is the stage name of Brian Tristan, who was born March 27, 1959 in La Puente, California. Tristan spent his childhood growing up in a Mexican immigrant suburb of Los Angeles, soaking up whatever music was around, and by his young adulthood he found himself squarely in the center of the L.A. punk scene, forming the Gun Club with Jeffrey Lee Pierce, eventually leaving the band in 1980 to play in the Cramps, returning to the Gun Club in 1984 while also playing guitar for Nick Cave's...
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Solo Cholo, Kid Congo Powers
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