Mike Rimbaud
Gig Seeker Pro

Mike Rimbaud

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

Music

Press


Judging Mike Rimbaud’s Covers Album
by delarue

After seven albums of original material – and his excellent, most recent release, Coney Island Wave (chronicled here yesterday), literate rocker Mike Rimbaud decided to do an album of covers. Which can be tricky. In order to cover a song that’s worth covering to begin with, you either have to do it better than the original – no easy task – or completely reinvent it. Which is exactly what Rimbaud did with Can’t Judge a Song By Its Cover. To call this record ambitious is something of an understatement: tackling mostly well-known, iconic songs, Rimbaud makes it seem easy as he nails them, one by one. If you’re willing to buy the argument that there’s such thing as a classic album of covers, this is it.

It gets off to a false start. The opening track, Almost Hear You Sigh, has a tired, 70s blues-pop feel. Who might have been responsible for it the first time around? Dire Straits, maybe? As it turns out, this is a Rolling Stones song, from long after that band ceased to be relevant. Then the fun begins with an electric bluegrass version of Springsteen’s Atlantic City – Rimbaud’s casual, practically blithe delivery only underscores the grim fatalism in the hitman’s tale. The album’s centerpiece is Idiot Wind, which has arguably the greatest rock lyric ever written, as much of a requiem for the optimism of the 60s as for Dylan’s marriage. Rimbaud reinvents it by turning it into straight-up electric rock and playing it almost doublespeed (the original clocks in at around nine minutes, this one at five). Once again, the nuance in Rimbaud’s vocals, from icy rage to a contemptuous rasp, is intuitive, and packs a wallop: it’s not quite as intense as the venomous Mary Lee’s Corvette version, but it’s pretty close, and the band (Chris Fletcher on bass and Kevin Tooley on drums along with Rimbaud’s guitars and keys) keeps up with him.

The rest of the album is more carefree. Marley’s Is This Love gets new life via a brisk new wave/powerpop arrangement in the same vein as Blondie’s One Way or Another, with a killer Link Wray-flavored surf rock solo. Mike’s Wave is the Tom Jobim bossa nova hit done with just enough bite to elevate it above lounge music, while the Beatles’ No Reply gets a Stonesy, noir garage rock groove. The original version of Phil Ochs’ Ringing of Revolution has brilliant lyrics but a pretty generic early 60s folkie melody: Rimbaud rescues it by plugging it in and giving it a bluesy menace fueled by ominous chromatic harp, raising the intensity, the fat cats squirming in their easy chairs as the murderous mob grows closer and closer. Which makes the payoff at the end all the more satisfying, where the citizens’ “memories [are] dimmed of the decades of execution.” It’s timeless: Ochs could have been referring to the Soviet Union under Stalin, or Texas under Bush. The last song on the album is titled Take 5000: it’s an update on the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s classic Take 5, the bestselling jazz single of all time. Rimbaud makes tango nuevo out of it, blending electric piano and wah guitar for a fun, eerie ride capped off with another excellent surf guitar solo. Along with Rimbaud’s most recent album of originals, this deserves to be counted as one of the best rock records of recent months.

Rimbaud’s also featured on the upcoming Occupy This Album benefit record for the Occupy movement along with socially aware artists from Jackson Browne, to Immortal Technique, to New York art-rockers My Pet Dragon and roots reggae star Taj Weekes & Adowa.

And there’s more: Rimbaud also has a pretty hilarious new single out, a cover of the Beatles’ Baby You’re a Rich Man done with a tongue-in-cheek, reverb-drenched Exile on Main Street glimmer. - New York Music Daily


Mike Rimbaud’s Coney Island Wave Is a Riptide
by delarue

Any conversation about great lyrical songwriters since the punk era needs to include Elvis Costello and Graham Parker…and Mike Rimbaud. Rimbaud is younger than they are; stylistically, he’s closer to Parker, both in terms of surreal, aphoristic, dark lyrics and excellent guitarslinging. In fact, Rimbaud’s the best guitarist of all three, equally interesting whether he’s working an oldschool soul vamp, playing twangy noir surf licks, angry punk rock or glimmering, nocturnal Stonesy lines. His most recent album of originals, Coney Island Wave is one of the great New York rock records. It’s both a celebration of this city as well as an often savagely spot-on look at the state of the world, 2012, set to catchy, usually upbeat tunes that run the gamut from vintage new wave, to creepy garage rock, to oldschool soul. It’s the rare album where the melodies are as good as the lyrics, which are just plain kick-ass pretty much all the way through, Rimbaud handling all the guitars, keys and occasional harmonica and backed by a no-nonsense rhythm section of Chris Fletcher on bass, Andrea Pennisi on percussion and Kevin Tooley on drums.

The first track is Burning the Night Out Early, set in a vivid late night Coney Island of the mind where “it’s getting early”- that kind of night. If you’ve experienced one of those there, this will resonate mightily. Rimbaud follows it with Dance with a Mermaid, a noir garage rock song packed with loaded metaphors, the mermaid dancing on the Titanic since the ocean’s full of oil and global warming has brought the mix to a boil, so to speak.

With its clever Like a Rolling Stone allusions, Don’t You Love This City keeps the sarcasm at boiling point. The next track, Everybody Needs a Daddy sounds suspiciously sarcastic as well, especially with the Simpsons and Darth Vader references – could it be a jab at the Bloomberg nanny-state patriarchy?

Got to Sell Yourself is just plain great, an anthem for anyone who’d like to take the world’s oldest profession to the next level: “You’re a failure when nobody’s buying, you’re something else when you’re sold out; you’re a loser ’cause you only own yourself,” Rimbaud snarls over the song’s casually biting, insistent hook. Here Comes the Subway Sun could be a tribute to the joys of tripping on the train; Mamma Say Something Nice follows in a brooding blue-eyed soul vein, like something Parker might have done in the late 70s.

The album really heats up at this point. Puppet Man, with its soul organ groove, is packed with more politically-charged sarcasm. “Like Pinocchio, go to Tokyo,” is one recurrent motif: a Fukushima reference, maybe? The album’s funniest, and probably most timely track is Put Your Facebook on the Shelf:

Don’t let it get in your head
Slavery’s not dead…
Your password’s not a secret
Eyes wander on the page
Your tongue hangs out like a hungry dog
How many friends can you count on?

Rimbaud rasps over a catchy groove that’s part Elvis C., part Bob Marley.

Saving to Go Bankrupt – an anthem for the Occupy movement, with some very insightful and useful background from Rimbaud here – offers both a succinct condemnation of the one percenters’ bankrupt system as well as hope for the future: “Wake up from your American dream!” Rimbaud follows that one with Tears for the Rich and Famous, a searing, guitar-fueled condemnation of celebrity shallowness capped by a sweet, vengefully swinging guitar solo. The last track, Unicorn, is the most retro 80s of all the songs here – with its goth tinges and synthesizer, it sounds like an outtake from a previous session that might have been tacked on here to end the album on a more upbeat note. Rimbaud also has a killer new album just out, Can’t Judge a Song by Its Cover, which imaginatively reinvents an impressively diverse mix of classics and standards by Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Dave Brubeck, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, Tom Jobim, the Beatl - New York Music Daily


“There’s Passover and there’s true spirituality,” Small Beast impresario and Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch reassured the assembled multitudes at Monday’s episode of his weekly residency/salon/talentfest. Whatever your feelings about missing a big holiday might be, there was a lot of soul on this particular bill. It seems that Wallfisch’s early 90s pal Mike Rimbaud was ill-fated to be coming up right when Graham Parker and Elvis Costello were at the peak of their popularity. Twenty years later, just like those songwriting icons, Rimbaud remains an equally vital force. Throughout his 45-minute set, Rimbaud particularly evoked Parker with his catchy, soul-influenced tunes, sardonically aware, pun-laden, aphoristic lyrics and rakish delivery. “Stimulate me, baby,” he railed, sarcastically referencing Obama’s trickle-down economics while the percussionist behind him rattled a museum’s worth of bangable objects from around the globe. His guitar running through a dense fog of reverb, Rimbaud shuffled his way through a couple of catchy new wave soul numbers possibly titled Dirty Little Bomb and Pretty Green Baby, the latter a sendup of “fashion fascists.” Diva in a Dive Bar was pretty self-explanatory; Mother Was a Punk was bracing, to say the least: “She had a mouth like a peanut and an ass like a rattlesnake.” One Way Ticket to a Vicious Circle might well have been an allusion to his career on a major label. By now, Rimbaud’s guitar had gone just enough out of tune to add a menacing edge. The rest of the set ran from bitterly hostile – a chronicle about somebody who’s “famous in Japan” – to doggedly persistent – the most Parkeresque number of the night, I’ll Follow Your Sidewalks – to unabashedly romantic. - Lucid Culture


Lower East Side vet Mike Rimbaud took the name of his new band from a set of cute cartoon signs that reminded ’50s commuters not to smoke or spit. But it’s that dingy, subterranean, through-the-grate kind of glow that informs his scruffy-voiced rock songs, invoking ’70s Costello and Springsteen along with an improbable hint of Brazil—the Baiana guitar (a surfy-sounding electrified acoustic).
(Kamenetz) –The Village Voice - The Village Voice


Mike Rimbaud's guitars don't look down on either electricity or percussion and even less on organ and crawling synthesizers. All that to draw, with a charcoal pencil or oil, whole vignettes of urban American life like a roof troubadour, an image that first burst out with his first album, in the 90's, "Mutiny In the Subway" on which you could see him walk by the water tanks that top the buildings of the Big Apple. His art is anchored in a reality that recalls Bruce Springsteen, the storyteller of everyday life ("Losing is a Victory"), as much as the Marc Bolan of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, ("Searching for Yourself"). Rimbaud who navigates between painting and music, slays you with all this in a slightly broken voice, the voice of asphalt, the voice of cobble stones and if he wins it all, it is because of his authenticity. Rare and valuable, Mike is the man-on -the-street of New York.

By Jean-Pierre Simard
ROLLING STONE (French Edition)February, 2011 " - Rolling Stone


Discography


Coney Island Wave, 2011
Can't Judge a Song By It's Cover, 2011 (Mike covers other songwriters)
Soundtrack For a Human Being, 2011 (an 18 song compilation, includes the brand new track, "One Percent Feeling Lonely")
What Was I Thinking, 2010
Beast of Broadway , 2003
Graffiti Trees , 1997
DawnTown Project , 1995
Red Light , 1993
Funeral Lover , 1991
Mutiny in the Subway , 1990

Photos

Bio

Mike Rimbaud is an American singer-songwriter and painter who lives in New York City. He has recorded 8 album’s, the first, “Mutiny in the Subway” was recorded in a minimalist style with guitar, bass and percussion. His latest is "Coney Island Wave" 12 original compositions recorded in Manhattan in 2011.
He started his career by performing in the bars and rock clubs in New York, but it was with record labels in Paris that he released his first 3 CD’s. Mike has been compared to Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Gene Vincent among others, but his songwriting style and voice have always been unique. Although his career has remained in the underground, he has continued to be a prolific songwriter sometimes commenting on current events with his songs such as; “Stimulus Baby”, “Katrina Comes Again”, “7-11 on September 11th” and “Mother Nature’s Nervous Breakdown.” He also speaks about New York life, “King of Staten Island,” and relationships, “You Make Love Like War,” “Girlfriend Lost and Found.” As a performer, he has toured Europe and the US with his band as well as a solo artist.
Mike Rimbaud is also a painter who regularly exhibits his artwork. His subject mater includes subway scenes, cityscapes, dinosaurs, portraits of revolutionaries, burlesque and belly dancers.
For more info please visit his site; www.mikerimbaud.com