Local Wire

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine

When Bill Murray made glorious lounge-mockery of the Star Wars theme on Saturday Night Live all those years ago, little did he know that the bit would inspire, if not one of the great all-time music acts, then one of the great all-time music shticks. Led by Sinatra-soundalike Richard Cheese (real name: Mark Jonathan Davis), this swing-lounge foursome covers hip-hop, alt-rock, and heavy-metal classics as if Ol' Blue Eyes himself were crooning them. It's not parody the way Weird Al does it; rather, Cheese aspires to high burlesque, delivering jovial, upbeat odes to such profane, misanthropy-laced hits as Dr. Dre's "Gin and Juice," Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," and Slipknot's "People = Shit" with all the boozy smarm he can muster ("Thank you!" he chirps after the "I kiss your open sores" lyric in Nirvana's "Rape Me"). The end result is highly formalized but oddly addictive, not unlike a celebrity roast on Comedy Central. One takes the piss out of Joan Rivers, the other takes the piss out of Radiohead. Both are pretty funny.