I read somewhere that he wants to show people “what the music of a post-Vietnam War orphan would be like.” But Michael Nhat’s debut LP sounds more Angelino than Vietnamese, with humorous non-sequiturs, pent-up hostilities, portraits of hipster chicks, and admonitions about werewolves rapped and sung over tracks that sound like they were sampled right out of the air in Filipinotown or the less gentrified parts of Echo Park. Featuring catchy lo-fi looping keyboards, Nhat’s minimal beats propel his brutal, barking cadence towards something that is alternately poppy (”Everybody Knows Werewolves Kill”) and disconcerting (”Death by Bells”). Yet his charm has much to do with his unparalleled charisma in a live setting. A musical movement unto himself, he’s got this “I don’t give a fuck” attitude that is only foiled by the obvious care and commitment that he puts into his performances. It seems a bit empty, honestly, to hear his detached voice on a slab of vinyl, because part of the fun is watching him emote while getting bounced around by drunk girls in their early twenties who are worshiping at the alter of Nhat and having the time of their lives. Fuck it, though – this record is a good training manual for the show. The songs sound just like they do live, so memorize them and muscle your way into the front row sing-a-long next time this dude plays your living room. You’ll have a lot of fun if you do.
-Geoff Geis (LA RECORD)
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