Danbert Nobacon & The Bad Things. Woebegone.
2010. Verbal Burlesque Records.
Ok this one is technically from late 2010, but I’ve just gotta include it. Danbert Nobacon is one of the crazy British anarchists that formed folk-pop icons Chumbawamba back in the 90s. You’ll remember them from their insanely catchy “Tubthumping“: (I get knocked down/but I get up again… You’re never gonna keep me down). I always thought of this as a pop song, since I first saw it on MTV as a teenager. But Nobacon and the Chumbawamba crew came out of Britain’s anarcho-punk underground and were serious counter-culture heads. Nobacon is famous for pouring a jug of ice water on the British prime minister’s head during a state dinner. My kinda guy! Anyways, after leaving Chumbawamba he eventually moved to the picturesque and isolated little town of Twist in Eastern Washington. He was signed to Bloodshot Records for a while, but his most recent album is a self-released little wonder with Northwest cabaret-punks The Bad Things. Titled Woebegone, it’s a romping mashup of Tom-Waits-style cabaret riffs with the edge and snarl of an aging punk rocker. You’ll like it for sure if you like Tom Waits, but it’s a lot of fun even if you’re unfamiliar with that kind of music. It’s rough and raw and angry and funny all at the same time. There’s something compelling about Nobacon’s gravelly voice and working-class British accent, and he delivers a host of interesting vignettes with this album. Kudos to The Bad Things, who bring a foundational structure to the album that lets Nobacon do his thing with great support.