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The Claudettes: "I Wash My Hands of This" (independent)

18 August 2020

Songwriter and keyboardist Johnny Iguana lays the foundation for “I Wash My Hands of This,” spilling out his relatable frustration over lockdown and loss of gainful employment. He does so without resorting to the cliches currently in abundance, stooping only so low as to apply a wry twist for the song’s titular decree. The song is propelled by a chugging and robust bass groove paired with Michael Caskey’s comically understated Casiotone rhythm. Combined with a classic pop progression, the song suggests a quixotic skabilly fusion of Big Brother & the Holding Company’s “Piece of My Heart” with the English Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom.” The song is colored by Zach Verdoorn’s clattering rhythm guitar, recalling rockabilly favorites including Duane Eddy and Rockpile. Berit Ulseth’s silky nightclub jazz-pop vocals draw from disparate musical corners as well, including the Sundays’ airy pop, Ella Fitzgerald’s gliding melodicism, and a wisp of Patsy Cline’s rootsy twang. On a happier day when the situation is behind us all, Claudettes fans can again gather at a currently-cobwebbed nightclub to sing along and bond over the memory of how much this entire covid-19 experience has stunk.

Photo by Timothy Hiatt.