The only reason Coolzey isn’t the most productive Iowa musician is that Sam Locke Ward has whatever’s the pop songwriting equivalent of Tourette Syndrome. Still, I think he may have the edge on Sam for stylistic range. One moment he’s an indie rocker, the next he’s a soul singer and then he’s some sort of goofy corn field Kanye West.
On Hit Factory he’s all those things and more. “Life Without You” features his almost Bowie-esque crooning about lost love. Then he samples the slow jams for some hyperactive verbal gymnastics (“It takes all personalities to make humanity, even idiots like Glen Beck and Sean Hannity”) and a smooth hook he sing himself. “Glasses” is based on a raw sawtooth wave bass with a filthy drum loop: “I can’t believe I got this far with these glasses falling off the end of my nose.”
And THEN “Yr Gonna Get Us Killed” sounds a bit like Dinosaur Jr. (after all he name-checked J Mascis in the last song). The variety of different sorts of music on Hit Factory can rather give a listener whiplash. “Pay Me Slow” is redolent of anthemic urges recalling The Pixies. He has so many verses under his belt between all his various guises over the past 15 odd years that he must dream in rhymed lines; it shows on this record with an unselfconscious hyperactive fluency, as though having a half-sung, half-chanted conversation with his audience is as natural as breathing.
Full disclosure: In addition to his musical accomplishments, Coolzey sanded and stained our back porch. But that only reinforces how I feel about his relentless creative output—if he’s awake he’s working on something. Coolzey is a lot like the weather in Iowa—if you don’t like what he’s doing right now, wait a minute.
Kent Williams aspires to be the Rush Limbaugh of experimental electronic music.