The Dangerous Idiots
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The Dangerous Idiots

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Alternative

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"Idiot(s) Ride On"

LITTLE ROCK — Even after losing his Dangerous Idiots bandmates, the Little Rock gulch rock trio's de facto leader, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Aaron Sarlo has not lost his sense of humor. That much is evident in the e-mail that Sarlo sends upon hearing the news I have a vacation planned but promise to listen to the band's debut album (But not only album, Sarlo says.) while in transit.

After e-mailing Sarlo of the plans, he fires back a note, saying thanks for the interest and then asking about the vacation plans, under the impression I’ve already arrived at my destination.

"Enjoy the vacation!" he says. "Where are you [by the way]? I hope you're not in Somalia. That country hasn't had a government since the early '90s. You'd be [screwed] in Somalia. And because I'm such a nice guy, here's a list of other countries to avoid for future [vacations]."

What follows is Sarlo’s version of a State Department travel warning. It's a lot more unofficial and certainly more humorous than any bureaucratic dispatch. Here's a list of countries to avoid, according to Sarlo:

Saudi Arabia (See Somalia.), Greenland (no green or land), Paraguay (just left over Brazil and Argentina with no mountains (highest point: Cerro Pero 842 m) or beach or anything), Pakistan (See Saudi Arabia.), everything between Poland and Alaska, a number of African republics and Detroit. (See Pakistan.)

Humor is one of the defining characteristics of The Dangerous Idiots, along with a common love for David Bowie, The Pixies, Camper Van Beethoven and Big Star. Power pop, with hints of late ’70s punk, and sludge and psychedelic rock — those forces combined create the band's self-labeled "gulch rock” sound, the sound of boots stuck in mud or "barbershop punk."

The Dangerous Idiots were Sarlo along with bassist and vocalist Paul Bowling, and drummer and vocalist Shayne Gray. The trio formed in September 2009. Three veteran Little Rock music players with a rich musical history. Bowling was a founding member and bass player in legendary Little Rock punk outfit Trusty, and Gray and Sarlo were founding members of legendary alternative rock act Techno-Squid Eats Parliament. The threesome played some dates around town over the past year. (Perhaps their biggest claim to fame? Opening for Meat Puppets after only two shows together.)

But in October, Sarlo sent out an e-mail noting that Bowling and Gray had departed the group in September. The songwriter promised to continue, at least finishing up the Idiots' at-the-time, almost finished debut album.

Just over a month later, Dangerous Idiots' Dangerous Idiots is finished and ready for mass consumption. It's 10 tracks in a quickie, rock pace of 30 minutes, with only two tracks extending over the four-minute mark. But what the album does in 30 minutes is pack in an awful lot of music while delivering a slight smirk lyrically. (Although "Crashing Jet" might not be the best soundtrack when you are cramped sideways in a seat in a sardine can with wings, bulleting over Missouri at 37,000 feet. But the tune actually has nothing to do with planes falling from the sky and is actually a tale of codependency, powered by the roaring guitar of Sarlo and the anchored rhythms of Bowling and Gray.)

Sarlo’s humor is present on Dangerous Idiots, with one song title simply a slang term for breasts, a tune that is a deliberate, lazy-sounding ode to what can only be described as perhaps Sarlo’s favorite part of the female anatomy, with Sarlo singing he "wants them all the time." For the last minute of the tune, the crunching guitars charge in, creating a late '80s college rock sound that Dinosaur Jr. would be proud to steal. It's a well-made, catchy song that avoids the novelty tag.

The other tunes on the album — outside of the end number “sad” — follow the Pixies soft/loud, soft/loud songwriting structure, and that’s high praise. "He Who Has the Information Is the Leader" kicks off with Sarlo screaming, "Are you tired of all the bullsh*t?!," although the tune’s verses are stripped back to a minimalist beat with a stuttering rhythm and Gray’s drum rolls. But, as Sarlo sings an indictment of the information overload facing humans today, the tune explodes at just the right moments.

"Can I Get a Role Model" is one of the album’s standout moments, a muted guitar lead kicks off the tune, a story of the lack of role models in today’s world, before a tidal wave of distorted guitars stampede into the tune. It’s a simple yet effective pop melody mixed with a howling rhythm and the catchy chorus of the song title. "Cooler Than You" — another winner — begins with Sarlo singing “I live a pathetic life/But I know I’m still cooler than you” over a simple guitar lead before the band picks up the slack, locking into step for a chugging yet infectious ride. “I’m big and fat, and I’m losing my hair/Somehow, I’m still cooler than you” Sarlo sings, with a slight chuckle evident as he finishes the line. And then there’s “sad.” Sarlo laid down his guitar for the earlier part of the century, concentrating on ukulele, which he uses to effect with this breezy ballad, allowing his strumming and angelic voice to power the gorgeous tune.

Dangerous Idiots is a blast of an album — well-crafted, catchy tunes played by veteran, professional musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously but still create a sonic flurry of sounds harking to the best of late-20th century college rock with hints of the early days of grunge and alternative rock. Too bad the first edition of Dangerous Idiots is over. Let's hope Sarlo has a second act in store. It'd be worth it. - Sync Weekly


"Dangerous Idiots - Abum Review"

Certain things come in twos, salt and pepper, cheese and onion, and of course, daytime radio and shit music. Two things that do work in tandem, much like bacon and eggs, are danger and idiocy.

As a rule of thumb, wherever danger is, an idiot is close by. Just look at the Jackass crew, a bunch of idiots waging untold amounts of danger on themselves and the unsuspecting public. Aaron Sarlo is no idiot, but he has managed to instil the danger back into Rock ‘n’ Roll, which in these musically stagnant times, can only be welcomed with open arms.

Dangerous Idiots is the latest venture into the world of music by Sarlo and he is joined by fellow band members Jonathan Dodson on bass and LeeWood Thomas on Drums. Sarlo is no stranger to the treacherous world of Rock ‘n’ Roll, as he performed with cult bands Techno Squid Eat Parliament and Slept. As well as touring with Cheap Trick, playing the legendary South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas and not to mention appearances on MTV and MTV Canada. However, after eight years in the shadows, Sarlo is back with Dangerous Idiots, and is priming a superb album for release through Mostar Records on 6th July 2011.

This self titled LP doesn’t waste any time getting started, as without warning, you are confronted with a scream of “I am tired of all the bullshit!!”. A chugging guitar riff is then teamed up with crashing cymbals to propel the song into the stratosphere. Sarlo then proceeds to pour scorn on the crap found on the internet, declaring “There is a lot of garbage on there”. As an opening gambit, ‘He Who Has The Information Is The Leader’ is a perfect way to announce this record to the world.

‘Dangerous Idiots’ is a short, sharp shock of a record, clocking in at just over thirty minutes. It’s a whistle-stop tour of the Rock ‘n’ Roll badlands, but there is no map, only your instinct as your compass and a long dusty road ahead of you. The American trio, has taken the core elements of Rock, Punk and Pop, torn them up, mix them together and applied them to tape to create something familiar yet exciting at the same time.

When I say Rock ‘n’ Roll, I am not talking spandex leotards and flaming codpieces, I mean gritty, uncompromising and direct testaments aimed at the masses. Honest songs with an air of menace and humour rolled into a beautiful racket. ‘Can I Get A Role Model’ is a tongue in cheek parting shot at society, Sarlo knowing full well that in these politically uncertain times, we need someone to help guide us and show society the light at the end of the tunnel, but where are they? Sarlo manages to use humour to convey a serious message “My teachers don’t know their mouth from their ass, so they don’t know their shitting when they are teaching the class”. On the first listen, this may project a childish view on life, but on reflection it is a swipe at the power figures that are holding all the cards, but doing a pretty poor job of making the right decisions.

Sarlo’s wordplay on ‘Cooler Than You’ is hilarious, as he is offering a backhanded put down to any scenester or wannabe attempting to play at the Rock ‘n’ Roll game. Sarlo delivers the choice lyric of “I lead a pathetic life, but I know that I’m still cooler than you” closely followed by “I’m big and fat, and I’m losing my hair, but somehow I’m still cool than you”. If you listen very closely, I am pretty certain you can hear a slight chuckle from the band as these coy lyrics are spat out.

‘Dangerous Idiots’ is a master-class in Rock ‘n’ Roll expertise. For the most part, the record accelerates at such a speed, there is no time to stop and gawp at the scenery, it’s a real blink and you miss it thrill ride. However, this doesn’t mean, that the band don’t know when to apply the breaks and drop a gear when they need to. ‘Never Want To Let You Go’ is a perfect example of this, as the song is a curious blend of chugging basslines and surf guitars at the start, while behind the sedate arrangements you can hear a storm brewing, and when the track reaches it’s climatic end it is sprinting to the finish with the wind whipping against it’s face. Sarlo and the gang have delivered a debut album packed to the rafters with riffs, thunderous drums and bassline rumbles to shake any building to its foundations.

It’s left to album closer to deliver the final curve ball. As ‘Sad’ glides beautifully into place, with Sarlo’s delicate croon marrying up to tenderly plucked guitar strings. This acts as a subtle and unpredictable closer to a raucous Rock ‘n’ Roll record and hints at an intriguing future for Dangerous Idiots. ‘Sad’ conveys that the trio are more than just a one dimensional Rock band and can show a certain deft touch when they need to.

Dangerous Idiots, have produced a record distilling all that is Rock ‘n’ Roll. It certainly brings the danger, but this definitely isn’t the work of idiots, it could almost be genius. - We Were Promised So Much...


"Grunge for the Idiocracy"

Dangerous Idiots plays a smouldering sound, full of distortion and acid lyrics. It’s the sludgy sound of grunge. The self-depreciation humour filled of nihilism. The disaffection of a generation that had a lot going on but couldn’t be arsed to do it. The overdriven/octaved notes. It sounds like something you could hear squealing from the speakers of your dad’s old beaten car in the 90s (trust me, I was there). Might as well, as this band has Aaron Sarlo, who played before in Techno-squid eats parliament, who had a bit of a hey day back in the 90s. A very short one.

But enough history/navelgazing, we are talking about the here and now and it’s Dangerous Bastards self titled album. Clocking about half an hour, you’d think it’s part of the grunge revival that seems to be coming around the corner (lumberjack shirt and all) and you could be partially correct.

Why? Because after getting their grungy groove on (‘Less for you’, ‘He who has the information is the leader’), Dangerous Bastards do embark into other genres. ‘Never want to let you go’ is a classy sounds of the 70s AM rock, the type you could use for a long stretch of road in the desert (USA’s route 66, México’s San Luis Potosí highway, your pick).

Still on that desert rock groove, you get the rockabilly light ‘Amerijuana’ (fucking brilliant title too), a catchy rock ditty that, if we continue our desert analogy, could be the soundtrack to your arrival to some small pueblo and getting all those looks ’cause you’re the outsider.

It would be a disservice to ignore the guitar solos, an element sadly lost in a lot of music right now. It’s always a welcome addition when played properly and succinct (no stupid virtuoso solos that bore you to death). Possibly best solo is the one for ‘Crashing jet’, a sludgy gem that’s easily the starting point for this album (hence my choice for the stream).

So, yes, grunge on some tracks, some very cinematic rock on others, with a healthy dose of distortion. The sound is slightly muddy (think lo-fi) but nothing is lost. Lastly, some humorous muscle is being flexed here, with the funny song titles being peddled around, some going into very sarcastic humour (the droning ‘Can I get a role model’, the straight up sneer of ‘Titties’ and it’s reverence to mammary glands) with good rock tunes on par with the title. Okay, ‘Titties’ is more like a lamentation, they type drunkenly half-sung in the alley of some dive bar after a binge. Then it explodes. Don’t let the title of ‘Titties’ disuade you, it’s a pretty good (and funny) song. At least it made me laugh, in some sort of gallows’ humour way, I guess.

And, in a way, ‘Titties’ represents a lot of what was good of 90s rock: that sense of sarcasm and devil-may-care attitude. Crank up the distortion, chug some piss-warm beer (I recommend Modelo Light, you can’t get lower than that) and just have fun while using music as a catharsis. With the usual gloom and doom of life, music like this can be a good escape valve. It’s music for the disenfranchised teen in all of us, the one writing in yellow notebooks all those things no one will read…

Words: Sam - Soucher.org


Discography

DANGEROUS IDIOTS (debut record)
Frankenbastard (due out in spring, 2011)
Dangerous Idiots: A Christmas To Repress (due out Christmas, 2011)

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Bio

The Dangerous Idiots was founded in 2009 by songwriter Aaron Sarlo, who got the name from a radio commercial. Formerly of Ardent Records, former label-mate to Alex Chilton and Big Star, Sarlo, has released three albums in his career, "Techno-Squid Eats Parliament" (1994), the eponymously titled Ardent Records release, "Guy Trapped In A Situation" (1998), independently-released by Slept, and now "DANGEROUS IDIOTS."

Aaron Sarlo's music, while "delivering a slight smirk lyrically," is "ready for mass consumption," and, "Dangerous Idiots is a blast of an album — well-crafted, catchy tunes... a sonic flurry of sounds harking to the best of late-20th century college rock." - Sync Weekly, Nov. 16, 2010

In 2011, The Dangerous Idiots plans the release of at least two more albums, "Frankenbastard," a double album, and a Christmas record (of 100% original, non-traditional music) entitled, "Dangerous Idiots: A Christmas To Repress."

Band Members