That Handsome Devil
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That Handsome Devil

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"THAT HANDSOME DEVIL: A City Dressed In Dynamite"

THAT HANDSOME DEVIL: A City Dressed In Dynamite
Aug 12, 2008
By Tiffany Kilfeather

It starts with his voice. That Handsome Devil's GodForbid has a rich voice with a deep timbre that frantically wails in writhing drama—oddly similar to Oogie Boogie from A Nightmare Before Christmas—and molds around music that constantly shift from hip-hop to rock to lounge to jazz to funk. A City Dressed In Dynamite begins with the song "Damn Door," a lounge-tinged hip-hop track that establishes the artist as a unique and unclassifiable force in music. In "Gonna Rob The Prez-O-Dent," a jitterbug beat mixes with revving motorcycles, gunshots and electric buzzing, creating a schizophrenic and fun track that refuses to let you sit still.

The next few songs slow the pace down and have GodForbid delivering some of the best lyrics on the album. On "Pills For Everything," he drawls, "Sleeping on the futon/alligator boots on/waiting for a friend of mine," as the quintessential "oh's" and "hey's" of 90's rap are sung in the background, only it's as if the singers are drugged up on whatever pills GodForbid's been downing. On "Viva Discordia" he raps the gem, "Woke up in a hotel room/her kidney sold in Tokyo;" and the track "Squares" has GodForbid making fun of hipsters, saying "don't bring your circle 'round here/they're all a bunch of squares." A City Dressed In Dynamite has modern content but feels like it's been dipped in sepia tones, with its fuzzy, muffled sound and '50's documentary clips talking about the problems with youth. So when phrases like "a six-pack of Keystone" creep in, it feels like you've been dropped into another era. In reality, there's little new about the bits and pieces of That Handsome Devil's music itself; what's different is the seamless, dramatic blending of genres that sends you on a Fear And Loathing-esque ride and never lets go. - CMJ

"Band of the Week"

That Handsome Devil

"The blinking of a billion lights/a city dressed in dynamite"

If the city is dressed in dynamite, Godforbid and That Handsome Devil just light the fuse. And as the night's sky is lit up by the explosion all of the dirt, neglect, pain, injected chemicals, abuse, fear, hatred, will be exposed in a flash and then burned. In a blaze of eleven tracks, singer/rapper Godforbid spins bar stool tales of poverty, drug abuse (legal and illegal), and a solid level of pain that is about erupt and kick down the doors of every company in every industrial complex in America. His words are real and biting, covered in grim and booze, a snapshot of the underground crashed and bleeding.

Ok, before I get you too concern, musically A City Dressed in Dynamite is a wonderful mix of Tom Waits, Gogol Bordello, and G. Love (if he decided to grow a pair and stop singing about basketball and lemonade). It is jazzy jive talk, poetry, and rap. Godforbid has seen the darkness of the night, deep and substantial, and moved through it all into the mornings harsh and unforgiving light. He is not only the frontman for That Handsome Devil, he is also member of the rap crew Alaskan Fisherman, and he has managed to blend rap and rock in a way that has never been done before.

Recently, Godforbid was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): The artwork that is included with your new album, A City Dressed in Dynamite, by Neil Parkinson is amazing. How did you come to work with Neil Parkinson, and what are your thoughts of his take on each song?
Godforbid (THD): As far as I know he doesn't exist; we've only communicated in brief conversation through hi-tech devises, but he understood and was down for the movement. It's all puzzle pieces, the skill is knowing when you see the right one. I think it looks perfect.

OA: You have called the music of That Handsome Devil "Fringe Pop". What makes this music fringe pop?
THD: At times it seems out of control; moving frantic, saying things you shouldn't. But wears it well, and knows how to get away with it in public.

OA: The various themes of this album, specifically in songs like "Kiss the Cook" and "Pills", cover some very dark issue. Do you feel this album speaks to a specific generation?
THD: Addiction and emptiness were around long before you and me; the things we treat it with are generational. In that sense; this is for us.

OA: In an interview I read you made the statement, "in control when I lose control". How big of an influence is alcohol on your music and writing?
THD: The music and writing are just the left-over's of life; we eat life and shit art. At the meal I drink.

OA: Is there anything brewing with Alaskan Fishermen?
THD: The new album is dirty and raw, it's got an untamed intelligence that's frightening and dark. We'll put it out when we get around to it.

OA: What's next for That Handsome Devil?
THD: Giant magic tricks. - What To Wear During An Orange Alert

"Le Diamant Brut: That Handsome Devil"


What’s the Deal: If you listen to this band for the first time and don’t go, “what the @%#&!”, then you just must be used to totally bizarre music that scoffs in the face of normalcy. They’re a New York-based outfit with equal parts Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, bizarre electronica, creepy hip hop and in-your-face gonzo rock. It all kind of leaves you scratching your head, but it’s damn hard to put down. The music of That Handsome Devil and the album A City Dressed in Dynamite is a conglomeration of so many different styles that it even includes some surf rock and soul at times.

“Rob the Prez O Dent” off A City Dressed in Dynamite is one of the more prevalent songs on the album, and it’s pulled in so many different directions that it almost needs its own genre. Surf guitar and devilish vocals in the beginning give it a spooky vibe. Actually, the singer’s voice here is a lot like that talking plant from Little Shop of Horrors. There’s also plenty of bass, a little organ and numerous siren and explosion sound effects.

Something Interesting: They were featured on Guitar Hero 2.

Other Tracks Worth Checking Out: “Squares” and “Elephant Bones” - The Austinist

"That Handsome Devil: S/T EP Review"

That Handsome Devil’s self-aggrandizing moniker starts to make sense once you give a first listen to this Boston band’s rambunctious debut EP, an over-the-top collision of rock, funk, jazz and jive. Then again, when you have a lead singer who’s dubbed himself Godforbid, the bravado is obviously part of the group’s MO. Think Outkast meeting Tom Waits and Prince in a neighborhood dive after a few too many shots of 100 proof whiskey. Godforbid’s slurred hipster vocals put a sly, sarcastic spin on the proceedings, fighting for dominance in a wash of samples, trumpets, loping rhythms and slick posturing (“Casinos, pornos, talk shows where White Trash go to die/ Bums push carts, crack head squirrels and birds too drunk to fly…”). Opening track “Standing Room In Heaven” intones the voice of an answering machine welcoming its callers to the hereafter. “Dating Tips” offers some slick advice on romancing the opposite sex. “Sleep It Off” and “Elephant Bones” get down in a groove with soulful shuffles. Credit That Handsome Devil with concocting a madcap musical frenzy that’s as dazzling as it is dizzying.

~ Lee Zimmerman

Release date: October 24, 2006 - Amplifier Magazine

"That Handsome Devil"

Imagine the perfect variety show. They may not make them anymore, but you can try to be creative: fill it with comics, a great mix of eclectic guest bands, and a gregarious host that makes his scintillating guests feel at home, while with a wink at the audience, he gently shreds them to bits. That in a musical nutshell describes That Handsome Devil, as well as their eponymous EP. The quintet of musicians have obviously had professional training, and a wealth of experiences in a variety of other settings, for they bring to this set sounds from across the musical spectrum. Big-band swing, blues, surf, jazz -- both traditional and modern -- funk, R&B, hard rock, even a touch of reggae, not even Parliament Funkadelic were this far-ranging, but THD meld it all into a sound even more distinctive than Grandmaster Flash's. Even better, the arrangements are so creative and deft that the music never sounds eclectic just for the sake of it, it's not even showy, so subtle is the stitching linking the genres, so flawless the musicianship. That's reason enough to champion THD, but wait, you haven't met frontman Godforbid yet -- a consummate performer, one of the best white blues singers around, and one heck of a lyricist.

Whether languorously consigning listeners to hell on "Standing Room in Heaven," helpfully and hilariously offering up "Dating Tips," recommending that angels carry guns while celebrating the end of the world on "Elephant Bones," showing life through the eyes of a derelict drunk on "Sleep It Off," or bemoaning inequality in "James Dean," Godforbid demands attention, and who could refuse? Like nothing you've ever heard before, THD is an entire musical revue in one small package, a fabulous night out's entertainment; you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp in amazement at all they have to offer. - Allmusic

"That Handsome Devil: S/T EP Review"

That Handsome Devil – S/T / 2006 Stardust / 7 Tracks / /

This album may only be half an hour long, but That Handsome Devil is able to add enough to each track on this EP to make the experience into something that is quite fulfilling. The jazzy opening to “Standing Room
In Heaven”, regardless of how old the track sounds, is something that is vibrant and can connect with anyone that is listening in. This is much of the same approach that That Handsome Devil does with “Yada Yada”, which is a track that relies heavily on a rockabilly style and an almost Mick Jagger type of vocals to achieve success during this track.

When the guitar opens up and starts shredding alongside That Handsome Devil’s vocals, one knows that the number of styles that That Handsome Devil can do is not limited in any way. The tracks are all long enough (without being too long) for radio play; hopefully in the next year, DJs across the world can find the fun and hard-hitting style of That Handsome Devil. The only thing that I could conceivably chalk up as a negative on this album is that there are so many different styles that That Handsome Devil attempts to use on this disc that individuals may not exactly know where That Handsoem Devil comes from.

This means that a track like “Sleep It Off” sounds like a theme from a late seventies cop show, why it simultaneously tries to approach the sound of a Frank Zappa while still keeping the vocals of a young Mick Jagger. This problem is ameliorated by the fact that That Handsome Devil’s ability is so much higher than practically anyone else trying to imprint their name on music in this current era. Each of the songs are professional as hell, and one would not be too off base to assume that tracks on this EP could have had a prior life on the classic radio stations. There is usually a question of whether an artist can move from the EP to the full length CD, but the level of output on this EP - Associated Content


2004 Dating Tips (Single)
2006 That Handsome Devil (EP)
Elephant Bones (Single, Guitar Hero 2)
2008 A City Dressed In Dynamite (LP)
Rob the Prez-O-Dent (Single, Rock Band 2)
2009 Enlightenments for Suckers (EP)
Disco City (Single)
2011 The Heart Goes to Heaven, The Head Goes to Hell (LP)



Take a ride with That Handsome Devil to the other side of town: a neighborhood where Charles Bukowski hung his hat at a juke joint; where the bartender knew Hunter Thompson’s single malt of choice and kept plenty in stock. This is the place where That Handsome Devil’s front man/songwriter Godforbid calls home, where Jeremy Page (producer/songwriter) bangs on a bullet-riddled piano, its beaten keys howling from a smoky corner. Their cracked-out, whiskey-cabaret punk jazz, echoing Outkast, Gogol Bordello and early Tom Waits, is the soundtrack to this bizarre scene.
Formed in late 2004, the inspiration for this Brooklyn-based group was the lack of meaningful music that makes it into the realm of pop. THD’s solution is what Godfobid calls “Fringe Pop.” And for the past half-decade, That Handsome Devil has received scores of positive reviews, being praised as "profoundly entertaining", "bizarre in a beautiful way" and "a madcap musical frenzy as dizzying as it is dazzling". THD has increased their national visibility with placement of the track "Mexico" in the Showtime network hit, Weeds, as well as the playable bonus tracks "Elephant Bones" in Guitar Hero II and "Rob the Prez-O-Dent" in Rock Band 2.
This summer, That Handsome Devil will hit the road with stops in cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh.