“OH MY GOD, IT’S A SHARK PARTY!” If you’re Sam Mulligan, this is a sentence you’ve been singing a lot over the years. If you’re not Sam Mulligan but like his work, you’ll be shouting this today because ‘Shark Party’ is the name of his new album containing a number of tracks he’s sung live over the years but never recorded along with a few new gems. I’m so happy to get to yammer on about this album on this, its release day (and on the second day Sam is playing live shows to show it off, AND ON HIS BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!).
If I had to define Sam Mulligan in a single sentence, I’d say that he’s the most lovable goofball who ever learned to play guitar. He cites bands like Flight of the Conchords and Weezer as bands that inspire him and it really shows – he’s sung about everything from bigfoot to getting stuck in a time bubble for all eternity in a vaugely pop-punky 90’s rock way without doing that thing all the pop punk folks do where they try to imitate that particular California accent while they sing. He’s also a goof who cares – he’s using proceeds from the release of ‘Shark Party’ to help actual sharks. From his press release: “$1 of every pre-order purchase of the digital version of “Shark Party”, and $2 of every pre-order of the tape cassette will be donated to Project AWARE. Project AWARE is a global movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet – one dive at a time. Focused on the critical issues of Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, Project AWARE empowers thousands to work together for a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet. Project AWARE Foundation is a registered non-profit organization. Learn more at www.projectaware.org.” Speaking of that cassette, take a gander at it below!
So let’s talk about my favorites from this album:
The eponymous track for the album is an absolute crowd pleaser. I’ve never been to a show where he plays this that doesn’t have the whole crowd yelling “oh my god, it’s a shark party!” This song is basically a perfect example of Sam’s style – a goofy premise (a guy trying to go to a party hosted by some sharks) presented in a matter of fact way with a brief spoken portion.
Sam performed this live with solarbear and his former Hype$quad Chip-Hop collaborator Janx at MAGFest a few years back and blew everyone away. Sam’s not known for heavy tracks like this, so not only was it a rare treat to hear him writing out of his normal genre, it still manages to be extremely sil- I MEAN, VERY SERIOUS. The destruction of donuts is extremely serious business. Seriously.
This is literally an advertisement for a sandwich at Bloc Cafe in Somerville, MA where Sam lives. It’s still ridiculous. Also effective, because I’m going to go get one when I’m in town.
This song is all over the place – this guy gets a ninja sword to prove to folks he’s definitely a samurai, but also runs around robbing people, killing people and then having a change of heart and becoming a pacifist? Honestly, it does basically sound like the kind of person who would go get a ninja sword, which is to say exactly the kind of person who should not have one. Musically, this song is one of the biggest fakeouts on the album, starting off as a polka-ish jaunty tune, then immediately changing to a heavier song like ‘Donut Slayer’ and then slowing down to a this very calm half-spoken half-sung jam.
This is the most saccharine chiptune song I’ve ever heard. My teeth literally rotted out of my head from how sweet this love song is. I’m serious, I now need to have expensive emergency dental surgery because Sam Mulligan thought it would be a cool idea to write a bunch of hypotheticals about “if we were [insert animal here]” and then some cutesy phrase about it.
I realize I said I’d talk about my favorite tracks from the album, but that’s literally almost every song on the album. I’ll leave a few untouched so that you’ve got something to look forward to when you buy it – and if you’re interested in getting one of those cassettes, you ought to act fast since it’s a limited run. And hey, if this album sells well, maybe we can get Sam to release an album more than once every five years.
IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU’RE AT PAX EAST, COME SEE SAM MULLIGAN PERFORM LIVE AT THE MAGFEST JAMSPSACE TODAY, APRIL 6TH, 2018. He’s performing alongside some other great folks, and you can come see myself, Bory of Boston-local geekbeatradio, and a whole slew of other nerds. More event info here.
For more Sam, see the links below!