There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
With Cibo Matto’s full-length debut, Viva! La Woman, the duo has earned the dubious title of “next big thing.” Veteran producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake actually asked if they could work on the record, and contributions by name musicians, whether actual (P-Funk’s Bernie Worrell and Lounge Lizard Dougie Bowne) or sampled (Paul Weller and Duke Ellington), are found throughout. All the hype could take its toll, but singer Miho Hatori and sampler virtuoso Yuka Honda have a magical innocence that goes beyond celebrity status. They’re what the Beastie Boys would be if they took Valium—and also happened to be Japanese girls. True to the band’s name—it’s Italian for “food madness”—all of Viva!’s songs are food-centric, with titles like “Sugar Water,” “Beef Jerky,” and “Le Pain Perdu.” Hatori’s mystical aura and darling accent (she sings not of white pepper but “peyh-p-her” on “White Pepper Ice Cream”) allow her to sing completely nonsensical lyrics, and she takes full advantage. There’s not many a chanteuse who could chant “Spare the rod and spoil the chick—before you go and shit a brick—I know my chicken” (from “Know Your Chicken”) and get away with it. Honda’s hooks are perfected versions of the original samples, the kind of loops Madonna usually hires high-profile DJs to mix for her (collaborations with the likes of John Zorn and Brooklyn Funk Essentials have obviously developed Honda’s kleptomaniacal ear), only these girls know how to go and do it themselves. CP