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Arts and Entertainment

Notes from the Underground: Tall Pony

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I was lucky to catch Tall Pony during an unsigned artist segment of a BBC Radio show late last year. A couple weeks ago I got a wild hair to find them on the intrawebs so that I could play them on my own radio show. I found their MySpace pageand after a couple of exchanges they kindly sent me a demo to play on my show and to review for LAist.

Tall Pony is comprised of Paul Towey and Tony Gage, two lads from the southwest corner of England. The demo single they sent me contained "I'm Your Boyfriend Now"(IYBN), "New Heroic Guns," and "Contaminated Despicable Slag."

Tall Pony's ouvre is delightfully low-fi, their tracks seemingly recorded in a cellar, echoey bathroom, or some other such place where they can safely issue their missives. "New Heroic Guns" is a tune composed of a minimalist drum machine and noodley loungey keyboard providing a background to echoing vocals. The lyrics are ones that examine the tools and "weapons" used in antagonistic relationship. "Contaminated Despicable Slag" is a diatribe that takes us to the other end of the cellar, with harsh, blues-driven guitar pushed on by a single thumping drum.

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Now we come to the cream of this crop: "I'm Your Boyfriend Now" is one of those tracks that instantly made me stop what I was doing to listen to every word this guy was saying. The song is remarkable not because of technical or musical ability, in that it is charmingly lacking. What we have is a drum machine, a bass line, theremin-esque keyboards, and Tall Pony Tony reciting an endless list of rules and regulations for a girlfriend to follow. The list is done from the perspective of a controlling and manipulative boyfriend where the "friend" part is totally absent from the word.

The list is vicious, horrifying and ridiculous, for example "You won't talk to any other man/You will learn to stay in more/You will wear skirts and dresses/You will not wear jeans or anything masculine" and "You will not talk too much, especially in the morning/We will not discuss horses, fashion, or gardening/We will discuss war, cars, and football/I am your boyfriend, I am your boyfriend now," etc. I would challenge any woman to deny that not a single one of the "rules" in this song was ever put to them or a friend of theirs by some insecure creep. Put all together, the list is both macabre and hilarious.

You can hear part of this song, listed as "IYBN" on their MySpace page- several other tunes are also listed. For the time being you can also hear "I'm Your Boyfriend Now" in its entirity on my Buzznet pagein the "My Playlist" section halfway down the right column. I hope to see Tall Pony get the resources to release a full album sometime soon. In the meantime I have this on Repeat.