"Tucheses and Nenes," a nod to a Lenny Bruce routine about obscenity, is an amusing look at the language barriers between recent immigrants and more settled Americans. I find second vocalist Aaron Diskin a little too theatrical—imagine Mandy Patinkin in the body of Eugene Hutz—but the music itself is smoking hot, a recklessly giddy amalgam of eastern European styles spiked with especially bracing work from trombonist Curtis Hasselbring and violinist Alicia Jo Rabins.
“Thankfully, for the past few decades there's been a movement afoot among young American Jews to recapture and update the music, language, and other folkways of their grandparents and great-grandparents, and Brooklyn's Golem play an important role as one of the best current practictioners of Yiddish folk-punk. Their latest album, 2009's Citizen Boris (JDub), is their first written largely in English, and though it takes an outsiders' view on some songs (such as the vaguely sinister "Train Across Ukraine"), it reverts to hilarious type with, the, er, bounciness of "Tucheses and Nenes."”
“Golem are a New York City band who take klezmer and Eastern European folk strains and bash them out with a punky fervor, which aligns them philosophically with Gogol Bordello and such JDub labelmates as Balkan Beat Box and Matisyahu.”
“Their fifth disc's originals, based loosely on Ukrainian immigrant songs collected by singer Annette Ezekiel-Kogan, are in English and just about every tongue spoken East of the Danube, with rock and reggae underpinning whirling dervishes and Old World lovers' laments.”
“Last Thursday at the Knitting Factory, Golem, New York's acclaimed hipster Klezmer-rock band, presented a gender-bending yet traditional Jewish Wedding Ceremony followed by a wild party. Following a Catskills tradition in which a mock wedding was held in the big hotels to celebrate the end of the season, Golem played a mix of their own wild kelzmer and Yiddish theater hits, interspersed with wacky versions of Motown, rock, and soul wedding covers. Complete with condom wedding favors, the event also included a cross-dressing bride and groom, Kosher deli, and a homemade wedding cake. L'Chaim!”
“But for five hours on Thursday night, 200 ticket-buying revelers seemed not to notice anything amiss in the club's subterranean Tap Room, where they nibbled on deli meats beneath garlands of fake flowers as Golem, the klezmer rock band, gave itself a wedding in a "Manhattan 2005" version of an old Catskills tradition.”
“The third album from this Brooklyn outfit presents Gypsy punk folk, complete with klezmer jams, Yiddish singing and jokes. With Phish's Mike Gordon on bass and Lenny Kaye on guitar Boat is full of contagious energy and virtuoso playing"”
“Not that anyone from the Old Country will necessarily recognize much in Golem, whose latest album "Fresh Off Boat" (J-Dub) puts their myriad influences through the style processor until it comes out as something unique.”
“While fiery playing influenced by some of the newer (and older) Eastern European gypsy bands has taken over some of the sounds, the vocals often remain where they've always been. Add some anger and love courtesy of Aaron Diskin and Annette Ezekiel (who also plays a mean accordion here), along with a fine violin from Alicia Jo Rabins, and you've got a nice piece of modern, avant-garde klezmer. Just wait for their hora.”
“The hybrid DNA of last year’s Citizen Boris erupts into zesty party anthems (“Meat Street”) and comic vistas (“Train Across the Ukraine”), while sometimes mashing forms together in dramatic fashion (“Balkan Espanol”). The effort involved is quite serious, yet the musicians don’t act as if they want any of it over-intellectualized. They indulge enough low humor and bawdy, robust rhythms to distract anyone’s attention from such silly things.”
"Stellar! A wild edgy approach with a reverance for Old World tradition."
“'A lot of today's klezmer music takes itself way too seriously,' says Annette Ezekiel, 32, the founder of, and songwriter for, the six-piece Yiddish crossover band Golem. 'Traditionalists study it like a dead museum piece—or else make it schmaltzy and embarrassing.' Not Golem, which updates convention by infusing conventional klezmer with punk, folk and rock.”
"Ushti Baba," "Fresh Off Boat's" opening track, kicks off with an accordion and trombone intro, followed by Yiddish singing. But the drums offer a hyper-quick, club-style pulse. That bass is pretty funky, and the violin's wail is so high and reedy that it sounds like that horror-flick staple, the theremin. And the manic gargle/warble of Aaron Diskin will stir deep feelings of nostalgia in anyone who has attended a Pere Ubu concert.
“Golem, a New York City-based folk collective, have funneled their sound through Eastern Europe on their label debut, Fresh Off Boat (out Aug. 22), and "Warsaw Is Khelm" is that album's accordion-fueled, gypsy-punk gem. The eccentric sextet recruited Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer to sing the elaborate Yiddish folk tale with vocalist/tambourine player Aaron Diskin. "The song is about a guy who leaves a town called Khelm in Poland where everyone is known to be stupid," bandleader/accordion player Annette Ezekiel told SPIN.com. "He leaves to go to Warsaw but gets lost and ends up back in Khelm. He's so stupid that he thinks he's actually in Warsaw. The moral is any place can be any place else -- it doesn't matter where you are."”