Once you hear the name Zigadoo Moneyclips, you'll likely never forget it. Which is helpful, since these Memphians have not been plying the local club circuit much of late. No doubt that's been partly due to the final sprint to the release of their sophomore album, Imaginary Girl
, and maybe because it's because they're focused more on thinking big. Their music may be ideal for large outdoor gatherings like their last gig, the Memphis Hotwing Fest in April. As Flyer writer Joe Boone noted after their first album dropped, "Should we go ahead and call this festival music? Is festival a genre? It is now. Zigadoo Moneyclips have a sound that is perfectly matched to a large-scale P.A. outside."
Their songs are well-primed to be crowd pleasers. Unlike so many scruffy rock bands in the club scene, these pop enthusiasts are not shy about embracing their inner Timberlake. The new record thumps, snaps and pops with the familiar drive of a summer car stereo. Recorded at Super Secret Lab and Ardent Studios, the album features core band members Zak Baker (guitar, keys, and vocals), Leigh McDonald (trumpet and vocals), Jamie Davis (bass), Dan Brown & Khari Wynn (guitar), Michael Shelton (drums) and Josh Aguilar (alto sax and vocals), as well as a supporting cast of Memphis musicians like Tom Link (bari and tenor sax), Sam Shoup (upright bass), Jason Miller (piano), Julia Struthers (vocals), Kyndle McMahan (vocals), Rachel Levine (violin), Carlos Sargent (drums) and Jay Richey (drum programming).
That last credit is appropriate, as their sound has moved in a more electronic direction, adding keys & synthesizers to the mix. And central to this evolution was Ari Morris, who engineered, co-produced and mixed the album. Morris, a seasoned engineer who works heavily in Memphis hip-hop (Young Dolph, 8Ball), gives the band the full polished-bling sound of a radio hit.
The band are clearly embracing this sound with a sense of fun, only slightly tongue in cheek, as they sing lines like "Take a minute to look into the mirror and say, 'Damn, I'm sexy!'" over a lifted Stooges riff and horn blasts. Other tracks, like the frankly horny "Raza," are even more radio friendly, offering a call and response like "He's from the city/She's from the country" with only a slight wink.
On Saturday, June 9, the group celebrates the album's release with a part at under-recognized venue the House of Mtenzi Museum. It will be interesting to see how these Top 40 enthusiasts translate the record into a live experience, laden as it is with the chirping samples and skronks that are the sine qua non of contemporary pop. But, given the band's burgeoning reputation as festival pleasers, something tells me they'll do just fine.
Zigadoo Moneyclips celebrate the release of
Imaginary Girl on June 9, with Crown Vox and Ohn and On at House of Mtenzi, 8:00 pm. $10 cover includes CD/download card.
$5 for unlimited access to local kegs.