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Monkey Vs. Robot

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Album Review

James Kochalka's second album poses the same question as his first: is this guy an insane genius, a complete idiot, an eternally juvenile yet incredibly astute surrealist commentator on modern life, or a wonderful combination of all three? Monkey vs. Robot does nothing to help clear things up but provides an immensely enjoyable and challenging mix of punk rock, alternately hilarious and mind-bogglingly stupid lyrics, dangerously off-key singing and quirky, cheesy keyboard-infested production (courtesy of Peter Katis and co., of Philisitines Jr., Zambonies, etc. fame). Despite the inherent silliness, Kochalka manages to cover an astonishingly wide array of seemingly genuine emotions throughout the CD's 30+ tracks. Highlights include the touching "Show Respect to Michael Jackson," and the seriously disturbed "Pony the Penis." Definitely not for the faint of heart of humorless, Monkey vs. Robot covers some of the same ground as early Daniel Johnston (in that both artists successfully straddle the line between relevant and completely over the edge) but pushes the avant-garde pop envelope even further. James Kochalka is one of a dying breed of true American originals and Monkey vs. Robot is a fine example of his "art."

Customer Reviews

A Great Album

This album got me through a really rough time in my life. It oozes happiness and if you disagree then you have a heart colder than the corpse of Hitler!

his cartooning is way cooler

i LOOOOVE the american elf book. so, i was more than a little disappointed when i bought this album and found it so absolutely hard to listen to. sure, the sentiments expressed are interesting and hilarious, but why put them to music if the music is just gonna bite (like, hard) ? oh well, i shall continue to enjoy mr. Kochalka on a visual/mental level and not auditory. sorrry, James!

No need to rag on this guy

His cartoons are great and his music is not entirly unbearable. Hell, some of these tracks are actually good on there own merrits listen to "Peanutbutter & Jellyfish" or "Fifteen Teenage girls and tell me those aren't catchy. He's not great but he is pretty good.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Artist/writer/musician James Kochalka's whimsical and irreverent renderings of everyday life have won him a small but devoted cult following. The Vermont native has successfully managed to elude fame, despite publishing numerous award-winning graphic novels (Peanut Butter & Jeremy's Best Book Ever!, The Horrible Truth About Comics) and art books (Sunburn), developing animated shorts for Nickelodeon, and putting out seven considerably hard to find CDs. After inking a deal with Rykodisc, the 25-track...
Full Bio

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