THE EARGOGGLE “Little Black Book”
(Very Special Recordings)

 It’s hard not to notice that The Eargoggle, a duo from Brooklyn, is heavily indebted to Ween, Jonathan Richman, and David Bowie, and that’s even before you press play on the tape, because their press says it, right there! I’m glad it did, actually – those are three of my favorite artists of all time, and anybody who incorporates their aesthetics and/or attitude into their music is OK by me. You don’t even have to sound like those guys – just huff that spirit and press record on your Tascam, which is what The Eargoggle did, if I’m not mistaken. Sweet, sweet inspirational huffing!

That playful attitude is right up front on wobbly opener “Tall,” where singer and songwriter Ezra Gale intones, “It doesn't matter at all when you're 8 feet tall, you can stand anywhere you like.” Yes! A song for people like me. He also says “I'm on fire today, don't think I want to put it out” (“Fire”). Score! Another song for people like me. Gale’s got the market cornered on 8-foot-tall flammable dudes. But he can be serious too, even if he can’t escape a little quirk here and there. So listening to Little Black Book in its entirety is an exercise in being surprised, whether it’s by the skronky stomp of “Continental Drift (For Alfred Wegener)” or the tenderness of the title track immediately following. The tape even ends on faux-disco number “You’re Feeling Like.” A faux-disco number!

You can pretend you’re not having a good time while you’re listening to The Eargoggle, but I’d call you a bald-faced liar as well as a creep and maybe even a menace to society. Every aspiring bedroom pop or weirdo outsider enthusiast with a 4-track should take a listen to this tape, because it’s done right. And you can even hear the Ween inspiration sometimes! More so the Richman influence, but whatever, it’s all good.

--Ryan Masteller