A few summers ago, I attended a free album-release show for local indie pop bores Parachute Musical. Billed to open was a group I’d never seen live, but whose debut album “Use These Spoons” I’d bought on impulse from Grimey’s local section. It should be noted for future reference that no headlining band should ever book Heypenny to open for their album release. As the riotous ensemble assumed their positions on the stage, the show was immediately stolen, not to be returned. If you’re searching for a searing, kinetic live performance, look no further than a Heypenny gig. They’ve got one coming up at Gillian’s in Murfreesboro on April 8. In 2009, they used their performance art prowess to prevail in the BMI Road to Bonnaroo contest and perform at the annual arts festival in Manchester. Around this time they busted out their notorious “Single Ladies” cover, which outshines and precedes that of Hyundai hawkers and internet legends Pomplamoose.
So what does an album by a high energy live act offer, especially for those of us who have been waiting for six years for a new full-length release? Will it disappoint? Will it stand up to the thrill of seeing DJ Murphy lose a bass peg during “Oh No,” or having a television fall off of a speaker and onto your person during “Cop Car?”
While live performance antics are obviously preferable, Heypenny’s sophomore album “A Jillion Kicks” offers the operative force needed to carry the tunes usually forced upon you with Ben Elkins dance moves. “Ticket” materializes as a dance anthem, while tracks “Water” and “Give Me the Ball” exude Zappa-esque composition. “Parade,” the only track from “Use These Spoons,” which has withstood the test of time and line-up changes, gets re-quirked once again for this latest album, and the raw energy of the brawling bridge is even more likely to cause you to call attention to yourself from a state trooper who finds your unparalleled driving enthusiasm a danger to society.
From guitarist and vocalist Kevin Bevil’s doleful departure from the band has come a joyous addition, Mr. James Wallace, of Naked Light fame.
On a side note, I announced last semester that Wallace’s cassette “More Strange News from Another Star” would release around Halloween. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it was postponed, and the album release show is actually tonight, March 25, at the Basement in Nashville. “A Jillion Kicks” and “More News from Another Star” are both refreshing in what they have to offer.