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CD Review: Diet Kong 

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Diet Kong Beautiful Blackout
(2010, Patriarch Recordings)

Try as I might, I find it impossible to sit still while this disc is spinning. And I can’t stop spinning it. Yet another of the impressive new alternative bands to emerge from the Hudson Valley, Diet Kong consists of two Brooklyn-to-Catskills transplants­—graphic designer/actor/guitarist Keith Gladysz and his wife, videographer/designer/vocalist Jenn Penn—and drummer and Woodstock Music Shop owner Jeff Harrigfeld. Influenced by Depeche Mode, Digital Underground, New Order, Devo, Jane’s Addiction, Radiohead, and Beck, this trio spews out a high-energy sound that is raw and flailing as it punches you square in the kisser.

Beautiful Blackout is Diet Kong’s third release, an EP of danceable, bulldozing riffs with impressive production. And at five songs it’s a party that’s over far too soon. “Shoot the Freak” starts off with no-apologies, eccentric electro-rock, followed by the infectious art rock of “A Forest” (check out the track’s performance-concept video on YouTube). “Skin Color Crayon” is edgy and driving, while “Open” is straight outta the garage; the title track rounds off the disc with the perfect blend of new wave and dance pop. The band’s shows add a bizarre and unpredictable video element, making it a blast to catch live. Comparable to the likes of Arcade Fire, the Pixies, and Bryan Ferry, Diet Kong has indie gold written all over it.
  • Sharon Nichols reviews Beautiful Blackout, the third album by Diet Kong.


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