Puss-Coital Dirty Pop-Rappers Menya Play CMJ, Still Work That Christgau Professor Connection
Menya play the Lit Lounge tonight, Tuesday, October 21 and Crash Mansion this Thursday, October 23.
When these girls talk about sushi, they don't mean unagi.
"We were heavily influenced by the Pussycat Dolls on this one," says Richard Rusincovitch, a side-hatted NYU sophomore who’d prefer that you call him Good Goose. Is he joking? He's talking about his band Menya's upcoming EP, their second this year, and after you've seen a set opener at Vox Pop where he threatened to eat all Philly girls' “cheesesteaks,” it's not too far-fetched to say no. In fact, if you've heard his band's previous frappes of Miami bass and teen-movie pop, you'll find his love for the Magnetic Fields much stranger.
Mr. Goose provides ProTools and occasionally takes the mic for Menya, a dirty, danceable pop-rap duo-turned-trio of NYU music industry majors. They've emerged out from suburban-now-urban dormlife with such untouched, pure vision that even big-rock press has weighed in on their promising, self-released first EP The Ol' Reach-around. That vision is as follows: “Suck my dick/ Girl you're mine.” And then one of the ladies, Coco Dame (Nicky DeMauro), takes it up: “Lick my clit, concubine.” Hearing Coco chant this sassy filth (or is it filthy sass?) excitedly over a throbbing electro-pulse, it's hard to believe they don't really know Fannypack or L'Trimm. Their limited knowledge of pornographic peers is ultimately for the better—if this stuff didn't come original to them, they wouldn't have made it. “But oh, we love our 2 Live Crew,” admits Good Goose.
Started as a goof (don't they all), Rusincovitch and DeMauro returned from an M.I.A. show at Terminal 5 pumped and inspired to make a “little fun project.” They wrote the record as they recorded it, and eventually named the group after “you pick”: 1) a Smiths B-side that actually doesn't exist; 2) a play on Enya in the tradition of Gnarls Barkley and Flosstrodamus. Solo singer-songwriter Angie Ripe (née Stipe) came aboard later. Then their manager gave a copy of the six-song demo to Robert Christgau—a professor of all three Menya members at one point, who endorsed them in his Consumer Guide column with the stipulation that he “hopes to remain responsibly objective.” (He's also not shy to print that Stipe's paper on Jefferson Airplane sucked.) Other plaudits followed and Reach-around saw official release on iTunes in May.
As it happens, building buzz around the NYU campus is hard, with few electro/hip hop groups to play with, so the band resorts to busking head-on in Washington Square, playing gorgeous acoustic versions of their two poppiest tunes, “Oh!” and “Lonely Lonely” while friends hand out flyers. I try and pass some out, too, which turns out to be no easier for the Blender-blurbed than it was during my college days. They start playing an unfamiliar, incredible-sounding song threatening a girl named Diana, with a catchy, clappy chorus (“Bitch, come and get it! [clap clap clapclapclap]”) that rivals anything on their first EP. I'm told that it's from an upcoming second EP—no need to rush an album—that’s currently in the mixing and mastering stages. If this song is any indication, these underblogged-abouts have written their “You! Me! Dancing!” Now all they have to do is get rid of all these flyers.