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Joie / Dead Blonde Girlfriend | Pretty As A Picture (Inside Out)
AntiFolk ‚?? what's that all about, then? Another day, another tag. For purposes of reference, let's call it acoustic punk or folk with a sneer and some swearing. Joie / Dead Blonde Girlfriend is an AntiFolk troubadour, and hails from the (sub) genre's acknowledged nerve centre, New York City. Currently label-less, Joie popped up on The Moldy Peaches' last UK tour, dragged along by his friends Chris and Kimya to gain exposure beyond a home audience presumably already blas√© to his rantings. Looking like Sammy Hagar with a green rinse and Bass Thing eye decoration, I caught the mans full-on set by accident, (there to see David Kitt ‚?? who, frighteningly, turned in a show akin to Tool). He was a revelation, jerking about as if plugged directly into the national grid, moaning about the music biz and anything else that randomly popped into his head. Such performances, and selling the 14-track, 55-minute 'Pretty As A Picture' for a fiver will have won him plenty of new friends on those dates, I feel ‚?? and hope. Whilst not possessing the wit and articulacy of most obvious peer Hamell On Trial, the breakneck acoustic strumming is an energetic and captivating sound, if a little lacking in variation. True to AntiFolk spirit, he uses 'fuck' (lots) and 'cunt' (once), through a series of observations on life and love, fuck-up rock stars (Rock 'n' Roll Tragedy and Rockstar Junkyard), and New York City. The contemporary Bleecker Street scene gets a pounding, Joie feeling very strongly that the legendary club and caf√© venues where Bob, Joan and others cut their teeth in the early '60s has been transformed into little more than a cheapened karaoke playground for imbeciles ‚?? "I don't wanna be a hero on that side of town / I just wanna burn the fucking place down to the ground / you can bring the matches / and I'll bring the gas / and me and you and Bob Dylan / we'll get the last laugh," he froths on Bleecker Street. In a gruff roar that will be all too familiar to Stiff Little Fingers fans, the pace barely lets up, Joie only taking a breather on a couple of poignant occasions, most notably on In Your Corner ‚?? a tribute to an ex-love fallen into difficulties. There are undoubtedly a thousand Joie's in NYC, but he does what he does with a great deal of passion and sincerity, so it's difficult not to love him for it. He needs more sonic texture and a greater lyrical vocabulary to further his cause, but he's a top night out, so long may he AntiRock.

Tom Sheriff
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002