Tyrants Record Reviews

Immedia Wire Service

CD Reviews by Scott G Combining pop music with surrealism can be instantly appealing but it’s a fine line between “trippy fun” and “comedy album.” Fortunately, the Tyrants in Therapy (or TIT, as they often refer to themselves) never cross that line. The musical content remains high even as things go completely loopy on about a quarter of the tracks. Comprised of an ever-changing number of musicians, but centered around Michael Jaye and Abbe Kanter, TIT is thoroughly delightful. Sex is Back, Om Shanti Om and Down in Flames Together are the immediate standouts on a quirky, peppy album.

Billboard Magazine

Om Shanti Om JDC maxi single L.A.-based duo fires up the sequencers for this song, from the “Meet The Tyrants in Therapy” set. Together since 1984, beatsmith Tyrant Michael J and vocalist Abbe “Abbe/Abbe” Kanter put together a deep house cut with the real, almost-trancey synths, Kanter’s vocals and lyrics with religious and pagan imagery, while the DJ Genius mix drops in a cool piano sample from a 60s jazz-sounding track. The NYC mix adds some extra percussion to the mix. It comes with an a cappella too a rare find on a dance record so you can become a Tyrant yourself and create your own track. Depending on your crowd, that might be the right answer.

Pirate Jenny’s Review

London, UK

Featured CD Meet the Tyrants in Therapy An intriguing album that cuts up sound effects and some great songs like the faux-naive “Shadow of Hitler” and the striking “Down in Flames” as well as more disco/pop efforts. The Tyrants’ sense of humour and satire is to the fore on their hilarious gourmand’s re-working of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Je T’aime” and the dig at New-Agers in “Om Shantih Om.” An unusual and successful fusion of the flavour of Euro-cabaret and the more interesting side of Anglophone pop music hails from across the Atlantic. Tyrants in Therapy are a Los Angeles-based duo perfecting their own notion of ‘punk cabaret’ which evokes both the arty pop of bands like Devo and the B-52s and a quirky vision of ‘the old country’ at a distance. Detroit born and LA-raised former journalist Michael J and actor-singer Abbe Kanter met in Hollywood, moving from local rock clubs to the dance scene with disco pastiche “Too Tuff to Cry.” Their current work combines cabaret-esque style and wordplay with rock and a surrealism inspired by Federico Fellini. They are currently gigging regularly on the West Coast, playing songs from their long-awaited debut album “Meet the Tyrants in Therapy,” which among other contributions features the bass work of former Bay City Roller Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood. A maxi single of the New Agey mantra “Om Shanti Om, ” with remixes by the co-writer Pascal Languirand (of Trans-X fame), local house DJ Miguel Plascencia, and new-to-the-scene (“there is no avant-garde in Los Angeles”) German remixer/performance artist Frank Rothkamm, was released by Los Angeles-based indie, JDC Records in Summer 2000.

DMA Magazine

“Boy” Tyrants in Therapy Sheik Records (CD5) Delivered in a similar flood-of-consciousness style most recently explored in Ajax’s “Ex-Junkie,” except the Tyrants here employ drum programming and basslines that sound as if they could have easily appeared on an 80s Arthur Baker 12″. Through Chicago-styled papery snares, Abbe Kanter rapidly delivers an East-coast accented, no-nonsense rap for the “Boy” to wake up and grow up, while sinking her teeth into delicious lines along the way like talking in my face, but staring at my chest. A bonus track, the eerily atmospheric “In the Shadow of Hitler” fits a stylized vocal by The Tyrant Michael around a calliope/ soundtrack melody. 122 BPM ***John Hrabar

Metro Spirit

“High Class Trash” BY Dino Lull

AUGUSTA, GA – Los Angeles-based duo The Tyrants in Therapy may not be known to everybody yet, but they’ve been around earning their way for years. The culmination of all the hard work is their recent release “High Class Trash,” a 21-song salute to classic punk, dance and everything experimental in between.

Beginning in the mid-’80s with their EP “3 People Nude Below the Waist/ In the Shadow of Hitler,” the combination of the Tyrant Michael and AbbeAbbe indulge in multi-media mayhem, forming their own indie label in 2000, releasing their debut “Meet the Tyrants in Therapy,” and finally delving into video with their sketch comedy show and videos on the Web. This has given the Tyrants in Therapy a huge cult following, even winning them awards. Following on the heels of that success, T.I.T. have now released High Class Trash.

With AbbeAbbe’s wild vocals that sounds a heck of a lot like the B-52’s and some of the most infectious, catchy, dance-punk ever invented, the Tyrants in Therapy channel the male-female duality of fellow Angelino’s X. But, it is the genre name they have earned that really best sums up the band: punk cabaret.

On the haunting opener “The Truth Hurts,” AbbeAbbe launches across the starting line with a very Patti Smith-style track. “Ain’t Over Yet” has more of an ’80s Go-Go’s feel while the Tyrant Michael’s vocals and electro-pop sound reminds the listener of Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

And if that’s not strange enough, “The System” goes into a country-rockabilly-Dylan funky blues breakdown. Other awesome, quirky songs include the tropical “Apocalypso,” the old timey country “Zodiac,” and the song “BS Hollywood” that has a little bit of everything thrown in to make it probably the most excellent track on the album.

“High Class Trash” is unique, wild, silly, and yet still beautifully crafted. What all this amounts to for the Tyrants in Therapy is that this old school duo have released one of the most eclectic, weird, fun albums of dance-electronic-punk-folk-blues-show tunes albums to grace the long, sordid history of rock ‘n’ roll. Fans of the “Repo! The Genetic Opera” soundtrack, old-school punk and ’80s dance music will bask in the glory of this most intense and awesomely weird album.

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