Modern Art – Art Brut

This is the first in a series. The series will document songs that I didn’t care much about until I saw the song performed live, after which the song totally blew my mind. I won’t give away the others just yet, but the first is Modern Art, by Art Brut.

Let me first explain that if you’ve never seen Art Brut live, consider yourself deprived. I’m no aficionado, but I’ve seen somewhere between 100 and 150 live shows, and never have I seen a band that delivered a performance more fun than Art Brut. They recently played a five night residency in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to catch them twice at Schuba’s, a venue that holds less than 200 people. My only regret is that I didn’t buy the five night pass. They were that good. Fortunately I’ll be on vacation in L.A. next week, and I’ll be catching them yet again at Spaceland in Silverlake.

Modern Art, off of their first LP Bang, Bang, Rock and Roll was not a stand out track for me, until I saw them last Monday. Eddie Argos, master storyteller, walks into the crowd, back and forth, putting a tremendous strain on the guy manning the microphone cord. But he wants us all to really understand how much he loves the blues of David Hockney (I do too) and the pieces of Matisse. It’s a head banging, crowd rocking four minutes.

Their latest album Art Brut vs. Satan is something I simply can’t stop listening to. Don’t let the spoken word lyrics get you down. Yes, that is his real singing voice, it’s not irony, it’s not rock and roll. They’re just talking….to the kids. The musicality is fantastic and fun. In fact, I think F.U. and N. are the three best letters that describe Art Brut.

5 Responses to “Modern Art – Art Brut”


  • I love the new one also.

    Unlike you, however, I loved them from the first listen to “Started a Band”

    I will try to see them as soon as I can and the finances allow.

  • My first exposure to them was at Pitchfork in 2006. I liked, but didn’t love the first album. Didn’t listen to the second album very much. Listened to the third to prepare for the show, and liked it. But everything sounded much better to me after seeing them live. I tended to focus too much on his “singing”, and if you do that, you lose sight of the fact that the underlying music is really good.

  • Well, I am a long-time Mekons fan, as you might have heard, so the vagaries of singing don’t make or break for me. It can be off putting to the the straights.

  • This seems like totally a live band. I don’t want to listen to this but I can see it as a high energy show.

  • Saw them again last night at Spaceland in LA where I’m currently on vacation. Got there pretty early and had a good 5-10 minute conversation with Eddie Argos. Really nice guy, which makes me like this band even more. He even noticed and commented on my Super Furry Animals t-shirt. They’re big fans apparently.

    For this song, they changed the lyrics and story to “D.C. Comics Makes Me Want to Rock Out”. They toured the D.C. Comics studios recently, and they have a song on the new album called D.C. Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes. I was impressed by the way he was able to, completely impromptu (or seemingly so) rewrite all of the lyrics to the song (which is much longer live). They have two more shows in Chicago this year, which could make them the first band I’ve seen five times in the same year.

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