Release Date: Feb 28, 2012
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Garage Punk, Indie Rock, Glitter, Neo-Glam
You might think that hairdressers, with their first-rate small talk, nifty way with a feathering razor and licence to talk about ‘dramality’ TV all day, have got it made. Yet it would seem that even the coiffurazzi get the blues.Fresh prince of trash Seth Bogart is more commonly known as San Francisco Bay Area’s notorious Hunx. A dashing hybrid of John Waters and Don Draper, he’s a former member of queercore electro tykes Gravy Train!!!!, frontman of Hunx And His Punx, and the chap who had his manhood used as a microphone in Girls’ NSFW (unless you work in the HR department of a sex dungeon) ‘Lust For Life’ video.
Seth Bogart, better known as Hunx, has been spending the past few years upending the certain heteronormative rock'n'roll clichés, whether through creating a girl-group with himself at the center, or through subverting the machismo of 1950s greaser icons by adding a liberal dose of glammy homoeroticism. Last year's Too Young to Be in Love proved to be a valuable contrast to the heterosexuality of first-wave rock'n'roll, but more importantly, it was an enjoyable garage-pop record. Bogart and his "punkettes" sounded like they had a ball recording it, embracing the kitsch of malt-shop soundtracks.
On Too Young to Fall in Love, the debut long-player from Bay Area glitter garage superstars Hunx & His Punx, the band ripped through a dazzling set of unthinkably catchy songs steeping in equal parts glam, bubblegum, and '70s punk. The combination of great songs and an antics-heavy live show cemented the group in a lineage of flamboyantly fun performers and also centered around frontman Hunx's larger-than-life persona. Hunx (also known as Seth Bogart) returns minus the Punx on Hairdresser Blues, an only slightly less uproarious solo set that manages to retain all the winning elements of the full-band recordings while opening up new emotional territory that didn't quite fit in with the screaming party that raged all night on Too Young to Fall in Love.
Bay area musician Seth Bogart, aka Hunx, would like to let everyone know that Hairdresser Blues is definitely not a Hunx and his Punx album, thanks so much. Despite the solo release distinction, the album still highlights Bogart’s “At the Hop”-style prowess that defines Punx offerings. This effort, however, mixes in death and other dark stuff, adding flecks of depth into the typical milkshake pop batter.
Seth Bogart: saying what I’m about to say is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. For those who’ve hip-swung to Hunx and His Punx’ (presumably) Pacino-inspired “Cruising,” this might not seem like a bad thing. But I’m afraid it is. Having thus wrecked all my chances of ever bedding Bogart on an Antipodean tour (I think I may have also freaked out personal idol Lydia Loveless by telling her on Facebook that I’d cream my jeans if she came to Australia — but not in a stalky way! We’re a weird mob), I may as well begin this review explicating in detail my reservations about Hairdresser Blues.
Bay Area punk pin-up boy and one-time hairstylist Seth Bogart, aka Hunx, gets deep on this solo album recorded without the aid of his all-girl "punkette" backing band. Bogart's early work sometimes felt secondary to his trashy aesthetic and campy gay humour, but with each album his music becomes more personal, the songwriting more refined, his nasal croon more plaintive. While last year's Hunx and His Punx LP, Too Young To Be In Love, nodded to 50s girl groups, Hairdresser Blues courts an equally fun, nostalgic garage pop sound but skips ahead a few decades to incorporate jangly riffs from 80s indie pop.
Musician Seth Bogart has been delivering his brand of queer retro-pop for several years now, but his first solo album does him no special favors. Discarding with the backing vocals of his previous, non-solo, release Too Young to Be In Love, Hairdresser Blues assumes that Bogart’s voice and lyrics can do the heavy lifting. And, frankly, they’re just not quite up to the task.
Without the backing of his female Punx, Seth Bogart– aka Hunx— gives us the first real look at the softer side of his often flamboyant personality. Previous efforts read as sugary, puppy love declarations presented at a glamorous-but-unruly party. But in the after-hours lull of that party, when our extroverted front man is alone, there’s Hairdresser Blues, an album of somber secrets.
One listen to the titular track from Hunx And His Punx frontman Seth Bogart’s Hairdresser Blues is all it takes to dispel a decades-old misconception that the hairstyling industry is all fun, games and beehives. “I don’t want to cut your hair, and I don’t want to go back to school,” Bogart moans over a melancholy jangle-pop jam. You can’t blame Bogart for being down: In the years since we last heard from the genre-bending rocker, he lost a close friend (Jay Reatard), fell in and out of love countless times and grappled with his father’s death.