Published Sep 08, 2015Multi-talented surreal absurdist Dave Hill is a low-key dude who messes with stand-up conventions for his thoroughly entertaining new record. With its mix of live jokes performed at Union Hall in Brooklyn and monologues set to space-y guitar-led music, Let Me Turn You On is about as dynamic as it can be, and Hill's material and vaguely stoner-y presence are charmingly refreshing.
After he's introduced, hits the stage, and takes a long pause, Hill's first sentence is "How'm I doing for time?" These kinds of inversions come across thoughtfully, as he mixes personal stories with silly, observational bits. "Y'know, I'll buy it that some people were kung-fu fighting," he says, early on. "But if you expect me to believe that everybody was kung-fu fighting, just get the fuck over yourself!"
On "My Life as Woman," he deals with his own androgynous presence by recalling the time a homeless person randomly told him, "your pussy stinks," and the neurosis this exchange conjured within him, as a man.
The music-based, pre-recorded journal pieces, like the disturbingly whimsical story "Osama the Elephant" or nonsensical "Shattered Dreams," mostly are scored by the same, tranquil R.E.M.-like guitar figure. It's the record's theme. By the live show track "I Am Danzig" though, Hill actually breaks out his guitar and shows off considerable skill melting people's faces off, deconstructing rock clichés within waves of distortion, and jokingly taking requests.
Then there's the 10-minute guitar looping jam, "Erotic Short Stories," where the line between comedy and legit music proficiency is blurred. That unsettling, off-kilter feeling that reality is being fucked with is prevalent throughout Hill's record and his is a strange, cool world to live in. (A Special Thing)