Mark Sultan is an accomplished, unique songwriter, so it may seem wrong to reduce him to the more outrageous aspects of his persona. Unfortunately, we can't help it. The man (who travels under such aliases as Von Needles and Blortz) wears both a turban and dashiki onstage; he has gone on record as finding dubstep capitalistically unrighteous. Extracurricular weirdness aside, Sultan is a relative traditionalist. He plays hulking, honking garage-rock that melds a sequence of retro influences — jukebox blues, doo-wop, space-surf psychedelia — into something utterly timely. Sultan found his voice playing in the Spaceshits, a group of demented Montreal punks, and achieved indie rock star status after that group self-imploded in typically violent fashion in 1999 and Sultan teamed with King Khan for The King Khan & BBQ Show. His 2011 releases, Whatever I Want and Whenever I Want, are terrific encapsulations of Sultan's strengths —raucous rock with surprising twists. Whereas his older work was fitted with poppy, hooky song structures, Sulan's later work is given to acrylic swirls of neo-psychedelic noise. The results are as dumbfounding as they are beautiful.
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