On the Corner: Stuck on Stupid 

When Tucson-based Monitors frontman Vikas Pawa sent me Stuck on Stupid, a solo album under the moniker On the Corner (Miles Davis reference?), my first reaction was in regard to the uniform excellence of the material and arrangements, my second the complete departure from the Pixies-spiked rock 'n' roll that is at the foundation of the Monitors' sound.

While the songwriting skills that Pawa is known for are fully displayed on Stuck on Stupid, as are his smooth, Elvis Costello-inflected vocals, the rest is alien territory. To simplify the premise, On the Corner picks up where David Byrne and Brian Eno left off on their groundbreaking 1981 masterpiece My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a pioneering and endlessly influential collage of non-first-world found sounds, early sampling and electronics.

By the late '90s, the innovations of Byrne and Eno were mangled by the short-lived ethno-techno subgenre and best forgotten one-hit wonders Cornershop. Stuck on Stupid rectifies these errors with the seamless integration of traditional Near Eastern and Middle Eastern sensibilities with instrumentation, great writing and modern electronics.

There are no weak songs. "On the Corner," "The Crisis Commission" (a distant sonic cousin to Bowie's "Yassassin," which also featured input from Eno) and the Afro-funk closer "When I Watch the News" particularly standing out.

The reason Stuck on Stupid succeeds in combining the ancient with the modern is simple: When you hear the tabla percussion, it's supposed to be there, silly.

More by Joshua Levine


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

The Lantern Fest: Get Your Shine On

Fill Up On Beer, Bands and Brats at 4thtober Fest

Grand Opening: Three Wells Distilling Company Cocktail Room

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

People who saved…

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation