The Crash Test Dummies are set to release Oooh la la!, their first record in six years, May 11 on Deep Fried Records. Best known for 1993's platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated God Shuffled His Feet and the ubiquitous hit "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," frontman and driving creative force Brad Roberts teams up with co-writer and producer Stewart Lerman (Antony & the Johnsons, The Roches) to write and record 11 tracks conceptualized using `70s-era analog musical toys.
The seeds for Oooh la la! were first planted when Roberts and Lerman became infatuated with vintage analog musical toys, particularly one manufactured by the Mattel company called the Optigan (an acronym for "optical organ"). Using celluloid discs, the Optigan projects the sounds of other instruments with different sets of keys triggering chords and individual notes. The discs, with names like "Nashville," "Swing It!" and "Guitar Boogie," rotate to produce different arrays of sounds. The process is eerily similar to the digital sampling that is so common today, but the antiquated analog system produces quite a different effect. "Because we wrote using these discs, we were inspired to do things that we wouldn't have done," Roberts points out. "I don't write big band style, but all of a sudden I had this big band [on disc], so I'm writing in a genre that I normally wouldn't be writing in. I can't say enough about how great it is to write on these toys."
In addition to ending a six-year hiatus from recording, the band is planning their first tour since 2004 in support of the new album. Rather than try to recreate music that was written with some rather cranky toy instruments never meant for the rigors of a tour, the Crash Test Dummies will perform as a stripped-down acoustic three piece band. The first leg of the band's U.S. tour has been confirmed, please see below for a list of dates. West coast dates will be announced shortly.
May 11 World Café Live Philadelphia, PA
May 13 Showcase Live Foxboro, MA
May 14 Iron Horse Northampton, MA
May 15 City Winery New York, NY
May 16 Jammin' Java Vienna, VA
May 18 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OH
May 19 The Ark Ann Arbor, MI
May 21 The Majestic Madison, WI
May 22 Martyr's Chicago, IL
May 23 Shank Hall Milwaukee, WI