This week I’m reviewing Mike Pinto’s Little District which came out in 2005 for End of Summer Blow Up. Though I was only recently introduced to his music, he is absolutely deserving of a bigger following.
Artist: Mike Pinto
Album: Little District
Genre: Reggae, Ska
Worth Your Time? Absolutely. This album is jam packed with memorable lyrics and melodies and has a nice blend of several genres and instruments to keep things fresh.
Twitter Review: Mike Pinto writes incredibly heartfelt and insightful lyrics. And he has both the singing voice and guitar skills to be a complete package.
Top 3 Tracks:
Things to Look For:
- Epic First Track. The album starts out with the story of Bill, worshiper of the almighty dollar, who is a bank robber. The production of Bill’s Song had me smiling every time the album started over. Not only do you have Mike’s clever writing but the little touches on this song really put it over the top for me. If you really want to appreciate this song I’m begging you to listen with headphones. Why? Because half of the stereo mix is used for letting you listen in on the bank robbery in progress. It sounds fantastic on headphones. My favorite part is when the upbeat trumpet solo starts and the music goes into high gear with the sirens blaring as the cops head toward the bank. It creates a momentary sense of urgency that I’m sure Bill was also feeling. I also love the line “Put your hands up! Put your fucking hands up!” because it works equally well with a bank robbery and at a concert. Finally, the ending was unexpected for me. Very different from say the classic Children’s Story by Slick Rick.
- Point/Counterpoint. Mike has two songs on here that cover the topic of adultery. The first song Dear Señoritas which blames a husband’s cheating squarely on the woman for not providing loving “three times a day” which apparently is the bare minimum for any guy. I really don’t think Mike believes this but rather he is just telling a story. Possibly based on someone he’s met in his life either in Philadelphia or San Diego. Where this gets interesting for me is three tracks later he starts telling another story of adultery in Chilean Lover. This song tells the story of a husband and father who constantly cheats on his wife but ends up with a bullet inside his brain from a scorned ex-lover. And as Mike put it: “You’re gonna get what you deserve.” So both sides of the coin I think are well presented here.
- Genre Blending. While Mike lives mostly in reggae and ska, he transitions into an almost industrial sounding song with When I Die. The song is quite a brilliant take on the topic of the existence of an afterlife. It starts out with a very minimalistic acoustic opening of just Mike and his guitar. Eventually this turns into this driving industrial beat that relentlessly comes at the listener. Perhaps the transition is a metaphor for how the question becomes more important in life as we follow our own slow but inevitable march towards an ultimate demise? Or maybe not. I just know I loved the song.
- That One Night. Despite One More Time (radio edit) making me think back fondly to my college days with fabulous heartfelt lyrics, the over-processed vocals on the song’s chorus make me think of the infamous That One Night song from the Dinner Party episode from The Office with Jan’s incredibly awkward dancing. Rest of the song is actually quite beautiful and really captures the magic that is friendship.
Low Points: This is a fantastic album with gorgeous lyrics, stunning guitar work and a brass section that just won’t quit all the while covering some impressively deep topics. There’s nothing bad to say about it, right? Well, not quite. How about we skip to the hidden track found about two minutes after One More Time (full version) is finished? It actually resumes the really funky beat found in Dub Interlude. It even finishes the lyrics that Dub Interlude unexpectedly stops at. That’s a pretty cool idea. So how does the rest of the song go? “Shove my lyrics down your throat like my dick, like my dick” Woah. Back it up. Back it up. Beep. Beep . Beep. What the hell did I just listen to? Um, that was unexpected. I’m not sure what Mike was going for with the hidden track but I’m not totally digging it besides the incredibly groovy beat. To me, it just doesn’t fit. Or maybe I’m just pissed because that hidden track meant two minutes of silence before I could finish the album and start it over.
Anything Else: I don’t really have anything else to say. Mike seems like a cool guy. Apparently, he’s big in Japan. So that’s kind of interesting and unexpected. Not dick down your throat unexpected but still unexpected. From what I understand, he is freaking amazing live so catching one of his concerts would be highly suggested if you get the chance. And like one of my friends, he grew up in the midwest (Mike grew up in Philadelphia, PA) and moved to beautiful San Diego, CA where he did some amazing things with his life with more to come I’m sure. So maybe that’s not interesting to you, but the parallelism was interesting to me.
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