The Lionel Show- Air America Radio

“The most incredible music I have heard in the longest time…ever since speed metal zydeco has anything had such an effect on me. I want to be the guy who turns you on to something that you say ‘yeah.’ This is the most incredible duo that you will hear in your adult life.”
-Lionel Lipschitz


Maverick (UK) – September 2009
The Tyrants In Therapy – HIGH CLASS TRASH
Emotional Coathanger EC 6303-09

****Wild and witty pop fun

I can’t remember when an album has delivered such an unadulterated good time and indeed as much sheer fun as the new Tyrants In Therapy offering. HIGH CLASS TRASH they call it and high class trash is exactly what it is.

Rooted in electro-pop and the genre that dare not speak its name, disco, Abbe Kanter and Michael J take gleeful delight in ignoring boundaries and taboos both musical and lyrical to cook up seventy-five minutes of musical high jinks.

Mindless fun this isn’t though. Words Like That points up the absurdity of (often self-imposed) censorship, BS Hollywood (you know what it stand for) nails another, admittedly easy, target, the title track is a pop at those with more money than class and My Masculinity (sung by Abbe) challenges expectations of gender and behaviour.

But it’s the fun stuff that lingers in the mind longest though, with songs like Apocalypso (which is, naturally, a calypso about the end of the world) and Zodiac worming their way into the listeners’ subconscious and setting up house. All of this is set to wildly catchy tunes and boasts singalong choruses to die for, with snippets of country, punk, blues and whatever else you care to mention, often all in the same song, delivered at breathtaking speed. It shouldn’t work but it does.

Trashy, ephemeral, serious and not at all serious, Tyrants In Therapy make perfect pop music. Check your ennui at the door and party! JS

Britney Spears They Ain’t- by Nick Bendel/

Britney Spears they ain’t.

If you’re looking for manufactured music straight from the production line, the Tyrants in Therapy aren’t your guy and gal. Instead, what Michael J and AbbeAbbe offer on their second studio record is the sort of irony, originality and quirkiness for which they’re renowned.

Nine years in the making, High Class Trash is an excellent sequel to their wonderful debut, Meet the Tyrants in Therapy. To say it rocks would be to miss the mark, because it also pops, grooves, countrys, cabarets, dances, romances…you get the point. In other words, it’s trademark Tyrants.

One of the joys of listening to the Tyrants is to hear the interplay between Michael J and AbbeAbbe, the Los Angeles-based couple who have been married for almost as long as they’ve been collaborating. Sometimes they will attack a song together, as in the jaunty title track. On other occasions, as in the droll Words Like That, they will attack each other, as deprecating lines get hurled back and forth.

Another of the pleasures provided by the Tyrants is the unapologetic way in which they embrace diversity and creativity. This is not the sort of band content to do the same thing over and over again. Instead, they challenge the listener with an array of sounds and approaches. One notable example is My Masculinity, the ironic groove that is delivered in an intoxicatingly breathy voice by AbbeAbbe, and which is reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ Miss You. It could not be more different from BS Hollywood, the up-tempo expose of the sort of superficiality epitomised by someone like Spears. And that, in turn, could not be further removed from Apocalypso, the playful tune that is part Tex-Mex and part Caribbean. Confused? Well, it all makes as much sense as you want it to.

Perhaps the best take on this band is to explain that while their music doesn’t take itself too seriously, it nevertheless manages to hit artistic heights that most groups would be envious of. In the immortal words of AbbeAbbe: “High, low, high, low/Everybody must get trashy, trashy, trashy!”

Tyrants: please don’t make us wait another decade for your next record.

– Nick Bendel

DJ Times

DJ Times
“Boy” Tyrants in Therapy (Sheik Records)
by Phil Turnipseed

Here’s a kicking new track that oughta turn a few heads and hips. Tyrants drop a serious groove that features a wild vocal that will definitely have your crowd screaming.

There’s a heavy bass that drives the “Boys’ Club” and “Pretty Boy” mixes, and showcases a female “discussing” what boys think they want and who they think they are. It’s actually pumpin’.

But the DJ’s pick will be Boris Granich’s “Boyris Mix,” a 7:28 blast of underground rhythms highlighted by some nice change ups in the bass line. It’s deep and hypnotic and works well into any deep house set.
“Meet the Tyrants in Therapy”
by Nick Bendel

Meet The Tyrants in Therapy (2000) by The Tyrants in Therapy (actually a duo of Michael Jaye and Abbe Kanter) is a fantastic work that takes you, to use the words of someone else, on a magical mystery tour. It is not an album, but a journey. A mixture of rock, pop, dance, punk, blues and cabaret- amongst others- it evokes sounds dating from the 1940s to the present and makes liberal use of samples. The subject matter- amongst others- includes suicide, human rights and cake, not to mention fascism, lesbianism and pedophilia. At 22 tracks long, with constantly changing scenery, it certainly is an ambitious project.

And, like many ambitious projects, it doesn’t always do what it sets out to achieve.

There is so much going on on this album that it was always going to be a difficult task to bring it all together into some sort of coherent unit.

One thing that the Tyrants certainly do demonstrate is an excellent sense of humour. There are many funny moments and the band doesn’t take itself too seriously. A good example is ‘In the Shadow of Hitler’ a cute little number with a mock 1940s sound. The song moves along nicely before suddenly introducing a spoken section, specifically Kanter in a mock German accent giving her account of the war: “ja, it was not the good time for everybody, but for those of us who were lucky enough to be born blond, ooh lah lah, fresh orchids every morning, lots of schnapps for everybody and plenty of shiny brass buttons, oh ja, and lots of heel clicking and goose stepping it was lots of fun, mmn, lots of men in uniform all over the Europe and too bad we didn’t get overseas, ah ha.”

A lot of the songs have such a humorous feel to them. One song that can be admired on its own rights, however, is the outstanding ‘Anna (Go to Him)’, an Arthur Alexander cover dating back some 40 years. It stands on its own as a piece of music, removed from all the gimmickry (both good and bad) which is otherwise pervasive.

Other good moments include the high energy ‘Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing’ and, in a similar vein, a live version of ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’. One gets the feeling that it would probably sound staid as a studio song; as a live performance it has an incredible vitality about it. A humorous reworking of the classic ‘Je T’Aime’ is also a highlight of Meet The Tyrants in Therapy.

Unfortunately, these good moments- and others unmentioned- are negated by quite a few poorer efforts. On an album of 22 tracks, some of them seem quite unnecessary. For instance there are two versions of the mysterious ‘Om Shanti Om’. Another obvious example is ‘Yer No Jack Kennedy’ a weak mixture of samples and synthesized beats that doesn’t work at all. In addition some tracks, when stripped of their novelty value, are not as strong as they could be.

However that is not a criticism whatsoever of the sense of innovation that The Tyrants demonstrate. In a world where so much music sounds so similar they are to be admired for going their own way, even if it doesn’t get them on MTV. This uniqueness makes this an album definitely worth listening to. Even if it isn’t all good, a lot of it is, and even the bad moments have a way of either entertaining you, or quickly evolving into something better.

RATING: 7/10

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