e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu



Last week I found a copy of Chipmunk Punk on vinyl at the Brass Armadillo Flea Market, one of my favorite record-hunting spots in Ohio.
I had this record when I was seven and must have spun it a thousand times. The title may seem like a stretch, in part due to the selection of songs that Alvin, Simon, and Theodore tackle. "Refugee" by Tom Petty and "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel stand out as two of the particularly questionable choices. You won't find any Ramones or Dead Boys covers on the record, but, out of fairness, a Blondie song--albeit disco-era Blondie--appears ("Call Me"). The Chipmunks perform three songs by The Knack and the suggestiveness of all three is a bit creepy in the whole cartoon context of the songs. But as a whole the album really works, especially the opening track, "Let's Go" by the Cars, where the synth but simple sound of the song meshes well with the high-pitched voices of the 'Munks.
Elementary school strikes me as the most punk thing in the world. Hence my new favorites the Muldoons capture the primal, unadorned possibilities of rock and roll better than any other band in Detroit right now. And like the Muldoons, the tracks on Chipmunk Punk sound like a playground. Not rope jumping, so much. More like a game of dodgeball or keep-a-way. Aggression, sweat, skinned knees. And most of all the alienation subtext each of those games represents. Chipmunk Punk recognizes the barely there line between rage and the melancholy of exclusion. The record walks that barely there line. Punk rock understands that somebody screaming might be the most senstive person in the world.

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