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El Madmo

The frolicking, rollicking threesome—Maddie on guitar and vocals; El on bass and vocals; Mo on drums and 'fro—made its bow on December 22, 2004, at a Manhattan rocketeria; the band was the opening act for BeavHer '80s Dance Party, heh. Then came a 10-song demo in '05 (or not, details remain sketchy) and, in '06, a few more performances—during which keen-eared bloggers realized, um, hey, Maddie sure sounds like that Norah Jones chick. Looks like her too, beneath the blond wig and mask-like mascara. And, uh, it was—as you can't hold a Booker T. grad down—even as she, at the time, sat perched high atop the Starbucks charts, where her light venti jazz-pop had the soccer moms frothing at the wallet.

Only, don't dismiss El Madmo's official release—barely released on May 20, with nary a hint of Jones' involvement—as star-is-bored joke-rock side project. It only sounds like it in places—the class-ass-grass rhyming scheme of "Carlo!," the rinse-repeat chorus of "Rock Yer Balls Off," the fart-rock spoken-word "Attack of the Rock People." The rest would pass almost effortlessly as official NoJo product: She still sings like an angel, even when acting up as horny devil on "Fantasy Guy" (in which she wants to "screw like the bunny" with a married man).

Half the record's catchy as hell—a Motels disc for the oughts, no shit; and half the record's pretty as heck, obviously. Yank the guitar out of her hand and put a piano in front of her, and the soccer moms'll go their usual shade of nuts. As it is, though, this one's got the soccer dads.

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El Madmo

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