As a result of the recent closing of The Lakeside Lounge, the monthly appearance by Spanking Charlene, a combination party and show, is now on hiatus until the band finds a new club to call home. I’m sure that some club out there would want to book a great band with a large, loyal following. There is a show booked for the end of June up on the Upper West Side, so we’ll see what develops. But for now, we’ll have to be content with the Where Are the Freaks?, the album which Spanking Charlene released earlier this year.
Spanking Charlene is led by the husband and wife team of Charlene McPherson (vocals) and Mo Goldner (guitar), and the band is rounded out with Eric Seftel (drums) and Alison Jones (bass). Eric “Roscoe” Ambel joins the band playing guitar and additional instruments on this record; he also frequently appears with Spanking Charlene when they play live.
The band’s stock in trade is a combination of rock and punk together with intelligent, often feminist lyrics. On this record, lead singer Charlene’s pristine vocals are mixed up front and with clarity and presence. Mo provides both a snarling punk guitar and trades off leads with Eric Ambel.
Where Are the Freaks? contains a generous helping of Spanking Charlene music, 14 tracks worth, clocking in at about 45 minutes. Highlights include opening track Secrets, Rev It Up, The Other Girl, I Like You as a Friend (quite an audience participation number live) and Dismissed with a Kiss. That last song was produced by Steve Van Zandt along with the album’s final song, Canarsie (the prize Spanking Charlene got as the winner of The Underground Garage’s Best Unsigned Band contest). The rest of the album was well produced by Eric Ambel.
I’ve been playing this record since it released. So far this year, I have not heard a better straight ahead rock album than Where Are the Freaks?