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NUTLEY BRASS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Ramones Songbook as Played by the Nutley Brass EP7 (Vital Music) 1995
The Nutley Brass Plays the Greatest Hits of Shimmy-Disc! (Shimmy-Boot) 1995
Beat on the Brass (UK Nectar Masters) 1996

The loungecore happy hour — truly one of the most pointless form-over-function musical affectations in recent memory — is largely the refuge of those with one simple, silly idea. Led by Sam Elwitt (also of the Sea Monkeys), the Nutley Brass — New Jersey's own goofy easy-listening marching band — at least pours some conceptual imagination into the cocktail mix. The Nutley Brass Plays the Greatest Hits of Shimmy-Disc!, true to its title, contains deadpan loopy instrumental renditions of tunes by Fly Ashtray, Uncle Wiggly, Daniel Johnston, King Missile, Lida Husik and seven other bands from the roster; that few listeners are likely to recognize the original songs only makes the joke funnier. Elevator goooooing....sideways!

Likewise, the Ramones Songbook 7-inch offers jaunty strike-up-the-band/'60s sitcom renditions of "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment," "Beat on the Brat," "Havana Affair" and, with wonderfully ludicrous "ooh!" "aah!" contributions by the David Abramson Singers, "Chinese Rocks." Taking a broader view, the band turns its unwanted attentions on a stack of punk and new wave classics on Beat on the Brass.

[Ira Robbins]