MARK SULTAN: Whatever I Want & Whenever I Want: LPs

Here we have two new Mark Sultan records, released simultaneously. Mark Sultan—this generation’s Billy Childish? There are some obvious concerns about releasing two albums simultaneously. Maybe some can’t afford to buy both, maybe some can’t handle that many songs from one artist at once. I was excited about being able to get both albums at once, but as someone who has been a fan of Sultan’s music since his Spaceshits days, I had a hard time paying as much attention to the individual albums as they deserved. I find myself listening to them back-to-back but I really should break up the flow with another band. There are differences in the songs, sometimes subtle, but enough to warrant two different albums. Neither Whatever nor Whenever are straight ahead rock’n’roll—I’ve learned to expect the unexpected with Sultan, whether he’s one-man-banding it or sharing with friends. You get good time party jams (“Livin’ My Life,”) ‘50s Buddy Holly-isms (“I Turned Them All Down,”) ‘60s psych/fuzz (“See Them Wave Goodbye”) and wild jazz skronk (“For Those Who Don’t Exist”). Some of the drumming is a little timid but I can look past that because Sultan’s voice and knack for simple, yet beautiful hooks have always been the driving force of any of songs. My favorites: “Pancakes” (Apparently a cover. I gotta find the original!) and “Party Crasher” (with its eerie “Paint It, Black”-ish riff) off Whenever; “Livin’ My Life” off Whatever. Mark Sultan’s manifesto is both of these albums.

 –Sal Lucci (In The Red)