“Claude The Armadillo” is Lou Hazel’s Tale of the Senselessness of the Arms Race

Lou Hazel, photo courtesy the artist

For his story song “Claude The Armadillo” Lou Hazel has crafted an Americana pop song that seems to tap into similar realms of creativity and imagination drawn upon by Marty Robbins and Harry Nilsson circa The Point. The animated music video adds another dimension of poignancy and loss to a song whose gentle acoustic guitar melody, countrified vocals and touches of pedal steel flow over a steady, simply beat seemingly established by hand percussion like bongos and shakers. The whole lends the song an air of the folkloric in the story of a man and his friendship with an armadillo who has seen his share of the dark side of the American war machine and the destructive aspects of human civilization on the natural world. And yet our narrator regrets these trespasses even as he isn’t sure how to convey those misgivings to the armadillo in a way that would have any meaning without seeming like a patronizing jerk. The song ends with Claude, the titular armadillo, and presumably Lou mysteriously parting ways but with Lou saying how he misses not having the rightfully jaded Claude to talk to for a spell on their journey through this fraught world. Though we’re told they’re still friends and presumably there are more Claude stories in Hazel’s repertoire in the past and to come. It’s an odd song in a way but one that has the earnest charm of a childhood storybook for adults. Watch the video for “Claude The Armadillo” on YouTube and follow Lou Hazel aka Chris Frisina at the links below.

Lou Hazel on Instagram

Lou Hazel on Sleepy Cat Records

VIETNAMINGO$ Splice Cowboy and Outlaw Urban Culture With Swagger and Humor on “Khmer Krom Kowboyz”

VIETNAMINGO$, image courtesy the artists

VIETNAMINGO$ display plenty of swagger on “Khmer Krom Kowboyz” splicing cultural references with a sly disregard for time frames and geography. Bookending the track with samples from Marty Robbins’ “Prairie Fire,” the the duo names the song by transforming the spelling of “cowboys” and imbue that with the kind of rebel/outlaw attitude of the present and giving it an alliteration using the term for the part of Vietnam that was once part of the southeastern part of the Khmer empire. The lyrics are about authenticity and hustling how you must to get by when no matter where you are your cultural status might be in question even as you’re making music in a country where there isn’t nearly enough Asian public representation in the arts. You know, a country where Joel Grey played a Korean in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, for starters. In adopting the gangster stance VIETNAMINGO$ is calling bullshit on all of that and asserting the ability of people of Asian extraction to draw on the stories and mythology both ancestral and urban American culture to create music that is informed fully by both.