Dan Faughnder isn’t really averse to writing songs which bridge gaps. After all, this is the same brain that delivered the line, “I’m not punk enough for punk and I’m not folk enough for folk.” So when this big-bearded Californian delivered on a tweeted promise to reimagine the plot of Space Jam complete with film samples and a string section, it didn’t really revamp the mission of his Sledding with Tigers project. This is the same person that wrote a track about high-waisted shorts. Who says he wouldn’t have written about basketball shorts next had this idea not been beamed into cyberspace?
Regardless of that hypothesis, locking the songwriting process into a concept album of sorts almost justifies SWT’s silliness. Given the overexaggerated Technicolor plot of its source material, songs like “Aliens Exist 2 (Swackhammer’s Lament)” and “Mon-tage” bounce with signature folk-punk buoyancy, but the latter literalizes (and truncates) the speed of an on-screen sports training sequence. The inventiveness on display here elevates Faughnder’s chord-saturated arrangements to smart half-parodies, like the “Barenaked Ladies vs. Randy Newman” cagematch orchestrated on “Short People by Newman from Seinfield.” The best example of the “new” Sledding with Tigers charges full steam ahead on the radio-ready “Take it from Me, Michael Jordan,” which explodes a cameo from Bill Murray into an uptempo duel between banjo and of course, Faughnder’s steady guitar hands.
All in all, this release promises more fodder for a scene which (for some reason) has given this 1996 family film a new lease on life. But unlike a Philadelphia show house or a bad marijuana pun, Michael Jordan’s cinematic legacy is retold in a way which doesn’t seem to poke fun at the fact it ever existed in the first place.
Come on and Slam has received a cassette pressing via Antique Records. The first pressing, limited to three colorways and 50 copies, has sold out. A second pressing, limited to 100 copies, is still available, with shells sporting Space Jam-inspired names: Tunesquad white (limited to 20 copies), Tunesquad blue (limited to 30 copies) and Monstar green (limited to 50 copies).
You can pre-order the physical release here. Orders will ship by the first week of August.