In 2005, I ran into a guy I knew from a semi-prominent nu-metal label
, who'd had some luck with with a sideline in "Brechtian cabaret" and were sniffing about for more low-hanging fruit of the same breed. After a few stiff drinks, he mentioned that they'd had an idea about finding a sort of punk cabaret vocal ensemble.
"Like the Comedian Harmonists
?" I said. (Who, by the way, were an a capella-and-piano vocal group in Weimar Germany, whose love of jazz eventually got them in hot water with the Nazis.) "Yeah, exactly." "Huh," I said, "That's funny, Hess, Terricloth, and I have always joked about starting a barbershop quartet." "If you're serious, I'll get you $1500 to make a demo." "Hot diggity!"
Three months and several wine-drenched pitch pipes later, we (the three of us plus Yula and ringers extraordinaire George Wright and Ray Bailey) didn't get to make a full record, but we got to keep the money and the recordings. So from our lips to god's ears, "World/Inferno Presents: Vox Inferne" is a limited-edition (500) colored-vinyl 7" featuring an a capella arrangement of the Inferno classic "Paul Robeson" as well as two never-before-heard songs: "The Devil Boys' Last Hurrah," a nostalgic but firm-hearted remembrance of a gang of doomed New Jersey ne'er-do-wells, and "Istanbul, Drowned Blue Shoes," a true-life tale of domestic revenge.
RIYL: Sacred Harp singing, the Ink Spots, the Comedian Harmonists, Chumbawamba's "English Rebel Songs 1381-1984."' Learn More