New York-based Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse are an eight-piece rock/pop/punk/folk/metal/cabaret band. Likened to B-52s meets X-Ray Spex meets Weezer meets Blood Sweat and Tears, the JHC "difference" is horny, thinking-person's, emotionally-bare lyrics protectively cloaked in hard candy pop. All original, stylishly diverse, stick-in-your-head songs about being bicoastal, stealing your boyfriends' Kenneth Anger and Balzac references, compassion fatigue, boobs, Old Lyme, and widower-lust, with roaring guitars and celestial horns. Poignant, laughable, awash in sound and fury, signifying nothing, but saying everything that no one usually dares to say, JHC&TFHotA are really just eager to be held and loved. At which point they'll become distant and forget to buy toilet paper.
This self-produced, self-released CD was ranked #249 in the 2006 Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll, KICKING the shocked ASSES of the likes of Ben Kweller, Peeping Tom, Black Keys, Sparklehorse, Calexico, Billy Idol, Pink, Willie Nelson, Joan Jett, Peaches, Snoop Dogg, Eagles of Death Metal, Amy Millan, Lloyd Cole, Red Krayola, and, yes, even Johnny Cash. (!!!!)
It also made many critics' and bloggers' top 10 lists for 2006 including critics from the Baltimore City Paper, No Depression and The News Observer and was listed in the NEW YORKER MAGAZINE 2006 year end issue as ONE OF TEN ALBUMS worth checking out. We were voted #8 song of the year on Sirius Alt Nation. #6 album of the year on KPFK Los Angeles. And in the new Idolator Pazz and Jop poll, we were #285.
#4 CD of the year (Phoenix New Times- Nikki Andrea)
#6 CD of the year (Seattle Times/Village Voice- Brian Block)
#16 CD of the year (F5 Witchitaw KS- Tom Hull)
#4 CD of the year (Village Voice George Smith)
#6 CD of the year KPFK Los Angeles
#8 song of the year (Sirius Alt Nation)
#1 most requested song for more weeks than any song in the history of Sirius Alt Nation
#1 song of the year CJIQ- Kitcheners
Playing on legendary KROQ-LA by legendary Rodney on the Roq, and on glorious WFMU, beautiful CJIQ, Sirius Alt Nation, the great KPFK Los Angeles, KSFR Santa Fe,...and a whole bunch of other stations- We can't find the list right now...
Hey- we're excited to announce that you can GET JHC&TFHotA RINGTONES at http://www.groupietunes.com/artists/jesushchristandthefourhornsmenoftheapocalypse
THE NEW YORKER
"This lovable local band transcends the novelty of its name with wry, thundering power-pop songs about such previously underexplored subjects as the boredom of living in the Constitution State (“Connecticut Is for Fucking”), the appeal of the recently widowed (“Do Me”), and how pharmaceuticals can help love (“Happy Me”)."
Top 10 CDs of 2006
"In a perfect world, this would be the Saturday Night Live house band, and reason enough to start watching Saturday Night Live again."
NO DEPRESSION (David Menconi): "Picture NRBQ with a metallic pop edge and an expanded horn section, fronted by a singer who looks a bit like Julia Louis Dreyfus, sounds a bit like Sarah Vowell and writes a bit like Amy Rigby only much nastier. There you have this wonderful New York band, who will completely rock your world. Risa Mickenberg and Joel Sheltons songs are side-splittingly funny, starting with Connecticuts For Fucking (because its a place where thats all there is to do) and its turn-on-a-dime shifts between metallic snarl and acoustic jingle-jangle. Happy Me cops the Beatles Nowhere Man guitar riff for a bridge. Vampire Girls rollcalls the slyest geek-culture hall of fame this side of High Fidelity. And weve had great fun in my social circle debating which acquaintance is most like the shrewish hellion in Obviously. Best of all, the music holds up after the laughter subsides."
THE VILLAGE VOICE (Robert Christgau) A MINUS
Risa Mickenberg writes and sings satirical theater songs accompanied by g-b-d-and-sometimes-k, two trumpets, and two trombones. All assume the p.o.v. of a neurotic young professional woman—loan officer, publicist, social planner, perhaps even actress—who may be Risa Mickenberg. Some of these songs are funny, the rest very funny. "Connecticut's for F*cking" seems self-explanatory, "Ellen's Bicoastal" cl*se enough; "Happy Me" is about falling in love on meds, "Vampire Girls" about sucking knowledge from your boyfriends. The jewel is the jealous fit "Obviously"—"I don't care. I mean I think she's a skank, but whatever, I don't care. I just don't see why you're denying it when it's obvious you two slept together . . . "
TROUSER PRESS (Ira Robbins): "Sardonic adult humor in music is amply illustrated by this entertaining New York octet (half of it being the Four Hornsmen, who add to, without ever overwhelming, the simple rock music with brass). Delivered in Risa Mickenberg's winning matter-of-fact voice, "Connecticut's for F*cking" is hysterical, a deadly putdown of the Nutmeg State as a nadir of middle-class tedium that proffers copulation as the only entertaining alternative. And "Vampire Girls," which passingly sounds like the Replacements' "I Don't Know," explodes the little-known problem of women "who seem like they're really cool until you realize that everything that's cool about them is something they sucked out of their ex-boyfriends" with a laundry list of modern-trendy Henry Higgins acquisitions, from Balzac to Karen Black, Iggy Pop to Photoshop."
THE TUCSON WEEKLY: (Linda Ray) "If you read and loved A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES or A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, this record is for you.... A collection of intelligently observant and wryly amusing pop/rock/punk takes on gender politics (read: sex and its complications), the state of the United States (especially Connecticut) and certain everyday characters and their quirks. All are set in fine musicianship, with Brian Wilson-worthy harmonies and imaginative arrangements."
POP MATTERS (Jason MacNeil)
"JHC&TFHotA are an odd blend of Sixpence None the Richer, Arcade Fire, and New Pornographers if they were all fronted by Amy Sedaris. “Connecticut’s for Fucking” is a hard-the-soft-then-hard power pop tune that talks about the Nutmeg State with sweet, sugary harmonies in the chorus as she simulates what Robin Williams once described as “the bone dance”.. Mickenburg nails the conversational and brassy rocker “Obviously” with a Lou Reed-like charm. A lot of the songs would be great on Desperate Housewives, particularly the opportunistic and cheery “Do Me”. .. The summer-sounding pop of “Vicki Is a Pro” is great, resembling a cross between the Cars and the Go-Gos. Ditto for the fabulous “It’s OK in the USA”. “Vampire Girls” name-drops Syd Barrett, Tiny Tim, Malcolm X, and others while the punk riffs blend with horns. Another highlight is the rather mainstream bubblegum pop of “Ellen’s Bi Coastal”. “Steve Baylor” has to be one of the oddest, Zappa-like tracks of the year, and “Nipples” is a modern day hit the Turtles failed to get around to."
THE VILLAGE VOICE- GEORGE SMITH: "An eight-person horn-fired local group making glorious hard pop!" “Hammering punkarama, namechecking Saul Bellow, Philip K. Dick, and Jerry Lewis.” “Horns and guitar drive a tank made of suntanned California riff right out of the speakers.”
TUCSON WEEKLY- LINDA RAY: "If you read and loved A Confederacy of Dunces or A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, this record is for you. This is not loud, mad music, though, nor is it as frivolously confrontational as the band name, or the equally stupid cover art. Rather, it's a collection of intelligently observant and wryly amusing pop/rock/punk takes on gender politics (read: sex and its complications), the state of the United States (especially Connecticut) and certain everyday characters and their quirks. All are set in fine musicianship, with Brian Wilson-worthy harmonies and imaginative arrangements. (The timely entry of horns on "Do Me" made me laugh out loud.) Lead singer Risa Mickenberg's voice is peculiar in a way that's perfectly suited to the lyrics, all written by Mickenberg with guitarist/vocalist Joel Shelton. Favorite track: "Vampire Girls"--fascinating women who only know what ex-boyfriends taught them about."
IDOALTOR.COM -Brian Block- #3 BEST ALBUM of 2006
"Jesus H. Christ and the Four Horsemen (sic) of the Apocalypse, who make sure to title their first song "Connecticut's for Fucking" lest anyone mistake them for Christian rock, have learned their trade from Revolver, garage-rock, jangle-pop, synth-pop, performance art, and apparently "Girl from Ipanema". Because all of their songs are funny, and because the two funniest have over-the-top spoken-word vocals that I'd feel nervous about putting on a mixtape for frequent replay, it took me awhile to recognize their debut album as truly brilliant. But if suburban ennui can be art in the hands of the Stooges or the Replacements, if relationship dysfunction is a good enough topic for Bob Dylan or Big Star, if Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones are allowed to complain about weird girls and Talking Heads to celebrate the quirks of American culture, I see no reason why JHC&4HotA can't win awe for doing all the above while being just as emotionally on-target _and_, at the same time, as ridiculous as we know (in our wiser moments) the emotions themselves are."
BOSTON HERALD: "Hilarious!" "Deadpan!" "Love!" "Nervy and mighty amusing!"
PHOENIX NEW TIMES- Nikki D'Andrea: EDITOR'S PICK "Once you've heard "Connecticut's for Fucking," the leadoff track to JHC&tFHotA's debut album, there's no denying this band's snarky brilliance. The song's ridiculously catchy pop beat; dorky, nasal punk vocals (courtesy of the surprisingly sexy Risa Mickenberg); and lampooning of noodling '80s metal guitar solos is like a bubblegum enema flushing pop punk out of mainstream music's bloated colon."
LEICESTERBANGS (U.K.): "Like asparagus, olives, Zappa and cum, Jesus H Christ are an acquired taste."
HARTFORD COURANT (COURANT.COM)
"The lyrics and subject matter are off-kilter, but they're mostly smart and, to my ears, pretty funny, and the musicians have serious chops. And, as the band's name implies, there's plenty of dizzying horn work on the album, mixed with pounding bass and snarling punk guitar riffs. (The album) also features songs about anti-depressants, seducing the bereaved and psychic vampires: "Girls who seem like they're really cool until you realize everything that's cool about them is something they sucked out of their ex-boyfriends," be it how to fix cars or appreciating the music of Syd Barrett.”
THE NEWS OBSERVER (Raleigh, Chapel Hill, NC)
“The comedy record of the year, with side-splitting musings on life, love and the pursuit of happiness set to razor-sharp bar-band pop-rock. It's smart, it's catchy, the music is great.”
NEW YORK MAGAZINE: "Smart, catchy power pop!"
F5 WICHITA Tom Hull- : "Anyone who fondly remembers the Waitresses will have a leg up on this smart, funny, and exuberantly horny band. Not sure whether the difference is a generation of progress in spite of backlash or just that lead singer Risa Mickenberg writes her own lines. Her critique of "Vampire Girls" is spot on, like she's been one and graduated to being interesting in her own right."
Delivering uneasy laughs at the expense of strip-mall culture alongside power chords and pop hooks, "Connecticut's for Fucking", by the New York outfit JHC&tFHotA could easily have been a hipster insider's mean-spirited and elitist satire of yokel outsiders. Instead it comes across as something much more complicated than simply making fun of people who aren't from New York. Sounding a little like Amy Sedaris fronting Fountains of Wayne, Risa Mickenberg (who's the Jesus H. Christ part of the name, although there seem to be more than four others in the band, not all on horns) sings from the perspective of one of many teenagers whose only pastime in such a dull state is recreational sex. She delivers lines like "I love to listen to classic rock and have sex with you" with a mix of playfulness and resignation, and introduces a little gravity into the band's humor: all those adolescents, she observes, are "waitin' to turn into the people we are bound to turn into." There's a healthy dose of incisive class commentary as well: "If we can't afford to buy antiques," she sings, "then we just copulate." "Connecticut's for Fucking" sounds more substantial than a novelty track, but with all the catchy fun that label implies.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: “The most raunchy fun!”
THE CAPE CODDER- Don Wilder: "Like Zappa, they'll shock a certain percentage of the population - and absolutely delight the rest of it."
TIME OUT NEW YORK: (STARRED REVIEW) “Not just a carpenter and a compassionate religious icon, Jesus H Christ is also a novelty-pop band fronted by the delightfully baby-voiced Risa Mickenberg who sings in sugar-sweet tones about being courted by the crazy guy down the street. Consider it the musical equivalent to Strangers With Candy.”
THE NEW YORK PRESS: "Jesus H Christ mock all things sacred!”
THE BOSTON METRO "Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse are hilarious!"
THE BOSH: "It's time to open your hearts to Jesus. Jesus H Christ, the totally awesome band...really does rock."
BOSTON PHOENIX: "Amy Sedaris!" "Upscale!" "Sequined!" “Plenty of laughs!” “Bald!”
I GUESS I'M FLOATING:
"The happy spirited band from New York take humorous, albeit true, lyrics and weld them together with music that can only be classified as power pop. With a lead singer that may remind some of an adolescent Jenny Lewis, the band claim to be "bald, horny, thundering, glorious, deadly, lovable and sardonic!" The eight-person ensemble sings about leaching shallow girlfriends, the snags of living in Connecticut, synthetic feelings via prescription drugs, and the sex drives of widowhood. Go on, start your weekend off with a smile."
SOME BLOG SOMEWHERE: "The most delightfully salacious female vocalist since Sippie Wallace."
This is not your grandma and grandpa's apocalypse. It’s no fire and brimstone, no seventh seal, no swaths of unholy agony punctuated by blessed souls surfing pillars of light "up there." This is pure power-pop apocalypse (say that five times fast, but we’re not accountable if you pull a muscle in your tongue). Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse write catchy, fun songs with plenty of trumpets. The most obvious comparison they invite is to They Might Be Giants but they also make me think of a Beulah and Nerf Herder hybrid running on unleaded petroleum goofiness. The bands real strength is in their lyrics, which deal with topics you'd never hear on the radio. (Though lets not forget trumpets, who doesn't love trumpets?) “Connecticut Is for Fucking” is an anthem for people in Dullsville, Anywhere and “Nipples,” in addition to being a great summery song, makes me think of the novelty classic “Boobs a Lot.” Check out the band's MySpace, and at your earliest convenience, start loving them.
TIMES OF ACADIANA
CHOICE CUTS "Admittedly, Risa Mickenberg's and Joel Shelton's funny, sardonic, catchy songs cover a narrow terrain -- call it the romantic complications of the Ritalin generation, a demographic cut loose from traditional moorings and for whom psychotropic opiates are the religion of the people -- but, Jesus H. Christ, do they understand their characters! Whether speaking for or at beer-leech women (Vampire Girls, Crazy Guy, Vicki Is a Pro) or a man who's lowering his standards (She's a Six), Mickenberg/Shelton's lyrics are detailed enough for accuracy while stopping just short of the "compassion fatigue" they sympathize with in It's OK in the USA. Some Days is even sweet, with the songs accompanied by brass suggesting musical affinities from three or four decades before lyrics like these would've ever been imagined let alone tolerated."
PAPER THIN WALLS: "You’ll be hearing (Connecticut's For F*cking) for the next 50 years on various Demento and Son Of Demento compilations and podcasts; but not only is it funny funny funny, the band takes care of the music, too: a great rattletrap of a guitar doing fast Ramones chords and then laying a big wet tuneful Johnny Thunders solo atop it all. Tracks.. twist the comedy from funniness to genuine emotion and rage. Most moving is "Obviously," Risa bitching out a lover—“You guys obviously slept together, not that I care; I mean, I think she’s a skank; but whatever"—which leads to a general smorgasbord of bitching: "Why do you have to drive like an asshole? You have to drive, like, right up on the person in front of you’s ass; they slam on their brakes, you’re dead!" She lets loose with the disappointment and fury that’s the undertone of this humor, when life doesn't live up to its billing."
"I was actually less hesitant about getting my nipples pierced the first time, I was concerned that the little bit of scar tissue that had formed from the inital piercings would cause the re-piercing to be more painful. However, I soon realized that when you compare pains of extreme levels there's not really much of a difference between "it really fucking hurt" (first time) and "it really, really fucking hurt" (second time). However, the pain is very short-lived; the only drawback is realizing that you have one more nipple to go! (If you're getting both pierced.) I'm just thankful I don't have three nipples."