Now then, there are a number of reasons that I find this original demo cassette to be more satisfying than the debut album on which most of the songs appear. (a) There are only nine tracks total, so you don't have to sit through shit like "Love Is A Fickle Thing" and "Mad Dogs On A Bone." (b) There is more care taken to separate the guitar lines stereowise, so you can hear more of the lead guitar than you can hear on Alive. (d) The song order is better. (r) It includes the classic "Lisa's Father (Waka Baby), the funky rock version of "Demonologist" and a pretty enough cover of the Rolling Stones' "Child Of The Moon," which, as far as I know, isn't available any place else! (r) After years of listening to the final versions of these songs, it's neat to hear them played a bit differently.
For one, Tom flaunts his irritating voice like it's an admirable trait to be able to sound like Fanny Brice sucking helium (oh, you know Fanny Brice. The Zeigfeld Follies???? Come on!!! Where have you been??? "Second Hand Rose???"). Nextly, the production isn't very strong and you can hardly hear the bass, so it all sounds a bit too trebly. Afterthatly, some of the songs just blow chickens clear off the egg. "Mad Dogs On A Bone" is unbelievably ugly, for example; "Love Is A Fickle Thing" is even worse but, thankfully, much shorter.
There also isn't much in the way of creative melody. It's mostly just a fun album. And that's okay. It succeeds in this aspiration. Lots of the lyrics are whimsical (titles like "Diet Cola Syringe" and lines like "There's lots of things in a human head / I hope I never have to touch" are itchin' to bring a smile to your tires), and the music is upbeat and raucous (if amateurish and messy). The CD version is enhanced by a dirge version of "Windshield Of Love" and a funny James Brown parody called "I Want Your Mother."
This time around, the best thing about the band's approach--they were still solidifying their sound, much like a recent batch of Jello--was the lyrics. Yes, the truth is that too often even those are spurious and overworn. But there are some searing political moments in "American Lips"--much like a recent batch of Jello Biafra--and who can't dig a pony across the universe with "Great Big Big Big Head?" However, in prescient anticipation of Mr. Joey Ramone's "Censorshit," Antona proves it's impossible for a rock singer to pen an intelligent anti-Tipper Gore song (and I know; I tried far too often in my teen years!)
By the fucking way, you totally omitted mention of "New Jersey Exit," the best song on the album. Talk about dredging scum from middle America the ol' Tomas way: that song is creepy. Too bad they just had no muscle to drive their points home.
This is the record that got me into the band in the first place; I picked up the cassette for four dollars a few months after it came out because I was a huge Dead Kennedys fan and I figured that if Jello liked it, I would like it, too. And hoo! It simply delighted my impressionable young mind with its creative guitar interplay and wacky vocal antics! There's still a sense of youth and wonder, but now they've got incredibly bright melodic ideas to complement their energy and humor, particularly on the high-speed harmonics-driven anti-jock anthem "Testosterone Gone Wild" and the screaming loud anti-life rocker "Egg," two of the best songs they would ever write. The spastically funky "Lydia's Black Lung" is right up there, too, starting off the album with a proud demonstration of Tom's increased awareness of the difference between "yelping" and "vocalizing." Goody album. A little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, a little bit funky and a little bit punky, a little bit experimental and a little bit pop - and more terrific guitar lines than you can shake ass dick at! Nothing but strong instrumental interplay and aggressive energy from beginning to end... until it suddenly peters out with a terrible experimental piece. Still, the rest? Christ, what songs! There's even one about AIDS! ("In bubonic times...." he sings). Even the bass player guy wrote a couple of great ones - the beautiful put-down "Sinead O'Connor On TV" and punky love ballad "Incinerator Heart" are right up there with any of Tom's. At least, I think the bass player guy wrote them. He sings them, anyway. I think....
Loved it. Got my first inkling of the whole huge world of music. Sure sure, I knew that the Ramones and DK weren't exactly first on everyone's mind in this self-indulgent enterprise we call America. But those bands--depsite their very real attempts (and even more real success) to shove away mainstream and pursue an idiosyncratic vision of that far-ranging beast we call rock--those bands, despite all that, are expected. Some leather-jacketed hooligan who churns the guitar like Johnny, or some skinny weirdo in vinyl hiphuggers and surgical gloves like Jello Biafra, are the very type mainstream music predicts. Sure the punks weren't doing it for the image, at least not at first; they were truly doing it for the rush of scrambling out off the edge of acceptability and finding that there's still structure there, out beyond the klieg glare of pop culture's reassuringly familiar meanderings.
What I'm trying to say, and I will finally say it right here, is: this Alice Donut album showed me that it doesn't have to be assault on decency or the politics of the bourgeoisie to be outside the pale. Sure, the songs here are pumped, tempo-wise. But this is not "murder rape kill" or even "smash the state" or more even "let's sniff glue and have fun." This is just a different kind of rock. The solipsist mumblings of "My Life's a Mediocre Piece of Shit," the self-congratulatory sickness of "Lydia's Black Lung," the terrified introversion of "Egg"--those are all thematic of 50s rock, just with the straitjacket of evolved structure ripped away. Richie Valens might've identified with "Rednecks in pickup trucks make a right on red / and smash a two by four across my skull." Only he wasn't allowed to say it.
I don't want anybody to think that just because I can talk about it in such abstruse, theoretical terms that this album is some dry exercise in individuality like, say, Elvis Costello. Rather, they let the energy carry them. This produces some serious mis-steps like the overt proselytizing of "Sky of Bones," but it also gets you humdingers like the wonderful, more-Led- than-Led Zeppelin slideriff of "Bucket, Forks, Pock."
Add to that a wonderful synergy between the singing styles of the two vocalists and you've got indie rock power. Real indie rock, not that crap that even MTV will play. I give this album the same rating you do--in fact, looking ahead I appear to pretty much agree with you on these guys.
And the music? Even more creative and catchy than on teh last one ("teh" is one of my all-time favorite typos, so I think I'll leave it in just this once), what you have here is a guitar-heavy collection of classic uptempo Donut hyperactivity ("Mother Of Christ," "Burlesque"), hypnotic Fall-esque repetition ("Roadkill" and "J Train Downtown: A Nest Of Murder"), emotionally affecting and innovative melodicism ("Bottom Of The Chain" and aforementioned "Cow's Placenta To Armageddon") and a few loud gruffy grungers that point the way towards Donut future ("Crawlpappy" and "Big Ass," the latter of which sounds suspiciously like The Doors's "Wild Child," but let's ignore that for now). Yeah, the guy's voice might drive a stake through your temper, but if you can't get past that, what kind of rock and roll fan are you? This is creative hard rock! A rare thing in recent years, one might suggest! Appreciate it.... or perish.
The last song I feel like mentioning is "Mrs. Hayes" because it makes me think about when I die. Like maybe I should just get myself cremated so I won't ever be rotting in a hole at some cemetery. It's a good song. Mule is cool!
It's no Mule, but this new sound is fuller, louder, heavier, and more mature. Bands gots to change some time, you know. That original formula wasn't gonna take 'em to levels higher than Mule; it was time to move on. An admirable and enjoyable effort. Huzzahs to the band.
Mind you yet again, trying as they are to completely rediscover their strengths, too many of their weak aspects slip to the fore. But anything would've been weak after Mule, and man they try hard. See if you don't want to sing along in glee after a few minutes of "Dead River." Antona's wavering bleat doesn't sound like it's gloating over "Bodies bodies, butchered bodies, / bodies strewn against the river." But that jangly distortion makes you want to view his twisted world as normalcy. Not unadulterated genius, but exactly that mysterious play with emotion that makes music so darn interesting.
The problem more than anything is that the album has a lot of great parts, but not a lot of great songs. "Hang The Dog," for example, has a fuckin' FANTASTIC recurring weirdly-rhythmed chord break that fucks my head right on up my ass every time I hear it -- but it's surrounded by a really, really boring song. Likewise, "The Tingler" has a superfun punk rock chorus, but the verse is the exact same melody slowed down and made boring. They're definitely experimenting and a lot of times it works great (the creepy stutter-picking of "The Son Of A Disgruntled...." is topnotch, for example -- and for straight-up depressing rock, "Medication" is a terrific composition), but other times, as I said, it seems to just fall apart into bad funk rock or slow nothing-music.
Although not perfect, Untidy Suicides is a must-own for any Alice Donut fan. There are just too many interesting musical and lyrical ideas on here to miss out on. (One of the songs is called "She Loves You, She Wants You, It's Amazing How Much Head Wounds Bleed," for heaven's sake!). Apparently, it's a rock opera, too, although I'll be goddarned if'n I can tell you what the plot is.
It's definitely a rock opera. What happens is: the narrator falls into a relationship with this woman. It's sort of sick and codependent, but hey, this is an Alice Donut album anyway. Part of their relationship is auto-erotic asphyxiation (beginning of "Untidy Suicides"). "The TIngler," though unassociated plot-wise, nevertheless picks up this sxe-obsessed theme. They treat each other badly in almost every other way, though, resulting in "Things Have Never Looked Better" and "Everybody Is On Sale." Later, the girl catches him with another woman and smacks him in the head with a VCR ("Wire Mother" and "She Loves You She Wants You It's Amazing How Much Head Wounds Bleed"). He goes to the hospital where he gets strange painkillers ("Medication") and when he goes home--or sometime later--the girl has committed suicide (end of "Untidy Suicides"). "Annie's Empty" is related only thematically with its suicide. The subtlest thing is how during the lines in "Medication" about "You may hear voices; if you do, ignore them" a background babble comes up. This is the same (or incredibly similar) background babble from "In My Head" so presumably that's how it links. "Magdalene" and "Son of an Ex-Postal Worker..." are plot-unrelated tales of other losers.
All this is very difficult to tell from the songs themselves since the events are presented way out of order. I'm basing this mostly on the prose story in the CD booklet--I don't know if the album has that or not. Still and all, the cool thing here is that they manage such a feat while still also maintaining the songs as independent entities. Perhaps too independent--a little too much of it smells of forced association.
But one other good thing is Kramer's production. He sacrifices hard rock for mood (except in the lovingly Metallicized "Ex-Postal Worker"), but some of those moody sounds are great--the whistling in "Medication," the harmonics in the uber-short "Annie's Empty," and the delay scrapings of "In My Head." The album does fail to cohere as much as it should, but the complex structure, and especially the willingness to adventure forth and at least boldly flounder where no band has gone before, mark it as an intelligent attempt.
One last thing: the song "Wire Mother" is far from my favorite on here. But that title, unexplained in the lyrics, is really brainy. See, it refers to experiments with monkeys to determine how parental care affects psychology. Researchers placed eensy baby monkeys--you know, the cute kind, before they get older and angry and throw HIV feces in your eyes--in a cage with two "mothers." One was a terry cloth and plastic approximation with a big Gumby smile on its face. The other was a cold, uninviting wire mesh only vaguely shaped like a mama monkey. But the wire mother had apparatus whereby milk was pumped to the runty simian. So food was uncomfortable, but the fun mommy didn't provide anything.
Now, monkeys are pretty dumb, stupider even than Matt Pinfield or Billy Corgan. But no monkey in his right, albeit tiny, mind would spend his otherwise empty days being cold and scratchy on a wire mesh. So predictably--but if you're gonna be a scientist you have to test even the most seemingly obvious things, because who knows? someday that rat might start fucking talking to the goddamn food instead of eating it as soon as rattily possible--the little monkeys fed at the wire mother and spent all the rest of their time holding on to the cuddly one. Some even contrived to stay embroiled in terry cloth and just stretch over to the milk-dispensing nipples whenever hungry. And at the end of the song "Wire Mother" which we are finally back around to discussing, Antona talks about how the two people in the opera's relationship are "clinging to a wire mother." If you know the back story--and now you do--that's an amazingly succinct and powerful image of sick interdependence.
And that's all I have to say.
It sounds like Taxi Driver looks and has been on my playlist since 92. There's not many bands from back then I still get excited about, but AD are certainly one of those bands I'm going to share with my kids...
That time I talked to their drummer that time, he told me he always considered the band to be a live experience - and that the albums were just...you know...albums. No big deal. This one certainly supports that suggestion. The songs groove and book with power and clarity, and it sounds like it musta been funner than crud to have been there. I personally got to see them play live twice, and they were pretty dang good.
Luckily there exists the second half! More specifically, the last five songs, which are astonishing, wonderful, fantastic, fuzzed-out, heartwarming, great as good god alt-rock songs. Where the hell did THIS calibre of songwriting go when they were playing three-chord monte and calling it "The Senator & The Cabin Boy" just a few minutes earlier?
Incidentally, the cover art and title are any indication, they're trying to come across as druggy and psychedelic, but don't fall for it. For christ's sake, DON'T FALL FOR IT!!!! This is nothing more than '90s alternative rock.
The only reason I heard about this thingy was because a great guy named Matt Robesch bought it and dubbed me a CD copy -- but he had to pay FORTY dollars for his copy, so be careful of snipers and diapers.
Tunes that seem a little disappointing on singles (because you expect perfection from something as short as a single) really come to life as part of this larger picture called "the career of a really great, underappreciated indie band." As Matt mentioned to me in an e-mail, it would greatly behoove Alternative Tentacles to gather these tunes together and issue the release themselves. It's completely awesome -- man, you gotta be a great band when your leftovers sound THIS good. I'm not sure why "Green Meat Stew" is on here, seeing as how it is pulled directly from the band's OFFICIAL live album that all their fans already own anyway, but aside from that, the song list is impeccable.
My name is Moses. I live in Lexington, Kentucky. I really enjoyed your Alice Donut reviews. I ran across them while surfing for some Alice Donut info. Oh the late great rock daddies they were!! I used to be the frontman for a band called Gnarly Love. Back in '89 we were listening to Donut Comes Alive. The band had been to town 3 times and everybody LOVED them. They were a freakin' blast...beautiful and Twisted!! We decided that GNARLY LOVE would be a great band name!! We got it from Tom Antona's lyrics in Green Pea Soup. That whole record had us laughing back then. It was a typical stupid band name but we liked it and it stuck. One of our Glory shows out of a seven year existance was opening for Alice Donut in 1990. They got a big kick out of our name and dug our live trip. I'm a man who was known to get weird on stage. At the end of their set that night, the band invited us up on stage for a spendid rendition of "My Boyfriend's Back"!! It's a great memory.
It's really nice to know that there are people out there that truly loved this band. They were fuckin' great. It's too bad that they didn't do as well as say,someone like the Flaming Lips, another fine band that has changed over the years.
Thanks for your writings. Buckets and Mule both rule. I gotta agree with Micheal Jung too : Untidy Suicides was not weak....that album also rules. Fucking "Hang the Dog"!!
Long live the Donut...a least their unique records. I've got nothing but GREAT memories!!
Just a four-piece now, Tom, Sissi, Mike, and Steve, but they rock out just as hard.
Maybe you already know all of this, but just in case I couldn't not write:)
The main problem from the getgo is that there's only four goddamned people in the band now, which completely eliminates the possibility of any great guitar interplay a la "Testosterone Gone Wild," others. Not only that, but the one remaining guitarist appears to not be a terribly innovative player. His riffs are rudimentary -- generic punk chords or simple-to-play-and-learn note combinations. The second problem is singer Tomas. Not only does he sound bored, stuffed-nosed and off-key much of the time, but (assuming that as the singer, he is also the songwriter) his songwriting has taken a total nosedive for the dull. "When every place is a time/When every movement is a sign/When every thought is a sound/Up is down." "Have you thought of the cost? Is the thought of it pissing you off? Has it kept you at night thinking of the price? Have you thought of the cost?" "Did you miss me? Did you miss me? I think you missed me. I haven't thought of you at all." Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-RING! Oh hang on! That's the phone.
(* 45 minutes later *)
Oh, I see. It wasn't the phone at all. It was just me typing "RING!" into -- oh hang on, that's the phone again.
(*repeats "joke" seven more times*)
Ha ha! Yes, that was quite funny for all indeed. But what happened to the interesting lyrics? What happened to the tartar for a corded steak and the bleeding head wounds and murderous housewives and gross sex? Is he trying to be a mature adult songwriter like the talented Don Henley of "Ooo-whee-ooo" fame?
The third culprit in this crime against art is the production. It's raw and ready, with distorted guitars and none of that slickery trickery of Jurassic Park, but it's TOO empty, capturing the sounds of a band playing their instruments but adding nothing at all to it. No energy or interesting overdubs, no masking of the weaker vocals or embellishment of the duller riffs. They recorded it onto a computer, for the passion of Christ. A COMPUTER! I would NEVER use a computer for ANYTHING, and nobody else should either.
On the bright side, just as with Pure Acid Park, five of the last six songs are better than six of the first six songs. Not sure why they're all into this 'put the good songs at the end' thing, but that's as may be. "Up Is Down" has a beautiful chorus, "Helsinnki" is a piece of really cool aggro-funk-metal, "Wired" is an excellent headbanging garage rock stomper, "Farmer's Almanac" has an extremely well-written guitar line - hopeful, herky-jerky and interesting: Probably the finest song on this collection. And "Setting Sun" is Funky Ugly, but Fun! The rest of the songs? Basic chords and notes. I suppose the punk rock song that leads off the collection is okay, but it's totally the same riff that Maggot Sandwich used in their legendary "Termination" hardcore classic. Are you telling me that all of us Maggot Sandwich fans out here are just supposed to ignore such an obvious copyright breach? Well, you might be able to convince Steve, but me and Larry will NEVER agree to it.
Here's the bottom line:
HEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Did you get my hilarious joke?!?!?!? Oh FUCK!!! NOW IT'S NOT AT THE BOTTOM ANYMORE!!! GODDAMN MY INABILITY TO TELL A JOKE WITHOUT ALERTING EVERYBODY TO THE FACT THAT I'VE TOLD A JOKE!!!
Is Three Sisters as good as Untidy Suicides...? or Mule? No, of course not. Those two albums came during the peak of Donut's brilliant creative moment. Is Three Sisters the logical (tho belated) sequel to Pure Acid Park? I would have to say yes. It makes sense to me that way. Listen to those two records back to back. The humor is still there on Three Sisters as is Tomas' strange world view and, musically, the band's psychedelic punk arrangements are explored further. Off the top of my head, 'Up is Down' ... 'Cost' ... 'Running Arms in the Phillipines' ... and 'Helsinki'are all fantastic Donut tracks.
BTW/FYI/NRBQ: Donut is touring as a five piece. I just caught them in Seattle 5/22 and they rocked like they'd never broken up to settle down and have kids of their own. It was truly cool. They even did a trombone version of Fugazi's "Waiting Room". Fucking A!!
1) Kiss Me: Well as I said this one as song one is passing strange yet the lyrics are really well done and I suspect the typically abstract message the song seems to deliver is somehow important to the band or maybe Tom hence its spot at number one.
2) Mister Pinkus: Brilliance. I love this song. The lyrics are interesting and Tom delivers it well. Original and intense.
3) Wired: Cant get my head around this one but there are songs like that on every album.
4) She Tells Me Things: This one is growing on me quickly. Like the lyrics and the song is catchy. Tom carries this one well too.
5) Running Arms in the Philippines: All right this one really takes me there. I rate it up there with Magdalene.
6) Cost: Simple lyrics with an applicable and perceptive take on the rat race. Shades of Consumer Decency? Great Song
7) Problems: Not the best on the album but still good. Lyrics are good and the song is compelling.
8) Up is Down: Nonsensical but there is traditionally one such song on most AD albums. Heaps better than the Sunbeam song on Pure Acid Park.
9) Helsinki: Now this one is special. I love this song. Nothing like bouncing from one end of the house to the other shrieking “I’ve got a hole like a woman” as the in laws walk in behind you. Now only AD could deliver that experience J
10) Kcick: I enjoyed this song immensely as well. Lyrics are up there and a good AD slow song.
11) Farmers Almanac: Enjoyable and easy to listen too.
12) Setting Sun: Best last song I have heard on a CD for a while
This album is awesome. On a twelve track album only 3 songs fail to impress. The others range from good to brilliant. I don’t know any band that can have such a varied combination of sound and deliver 9 tracks out of twelve. Tom can put a lament a dirge and a testament to the insane all in one song and to my mind is a wickedly intense musician and is in many ways unequaled. His arrival back in the music scene is to me what Lazarus was to the Christians.
Now first of all, this was clearly a hyperbolic enquiry; I clearly recall giving a rave review to You're Under Arrest, particularly the Cyndi Lauper cover. But secondly, and more importantly, the history of rock and roll is the history of the rebel -- the proverbial "loose gun" (M)animal that by its mere symbolism succeeds in upsetting the status quo and those who would uphold it. This expressive "rogue" characteristic can be found in the private emotional make-up and public marketing image of rockers from Chuck Berry to Elvis, Mick Jagger to Iggy, and Sid Vicious to Kurt. But nobody has ever taken the "outlaw" aspect of r'n'r further than Kevin "G.G." Allin. He is, bar none, the ultimate expression of the Dionysian psycho-sexual 'superman' as envisioned by Nietzsche and actualized by Jim "The Lizard King" Morrison and his spiritual successors. In short, rock and roll rebels don't come any more "animalistic" than GG Allin.
Alternately, Miles Davis makes fart noises through a tin pipe.
Please understand: I'm addressing this topic purely on an objective level. I am well aware that every individual has his or her own unique tastes, biases and cultural "baggage" that are inevitably brought to bear on a work of art that forces its way into the collective social conscious and, by extension, our unique mind/souls. So it's easy to forgive Miles Davis apologists for being duped by the marketers. Lord knows it's hard to maintain a truly neutral critical perspective after being spoonfed, almost from birth, a pop culture doctrine presupposing that Miles Davis was an artistic genius who singlehandedly created four new schools of jazz and influenced millions of listeners and fellow musicians, and GG Allin was a malodorous illiterate who used his own mouth as a toilet. But the 'mainstream' wasn't right when it refused blacks the right to drink from their water fountains, and it sure isn't right today. Propaganda does not equal truth; truth equals that knowledge which comes to each of us only through unceasing determination and honest introspection. Under these guidelines, is it no wonder that the music of G.G. Allin continues to excite the world's top researchers and scholars to this day, while the only people who listen to Miles Davis suffer from sexual impotence? These are sad times indeed, but a remarkable era indeed.
Now then, Alice Donut. If you're like me, you found Three Sisters poorly recorded and underwhelming, Pure Acid Park underwritten and overprocessed, and The Untidy Suicides Of Your Degenerate Children highlighted by several moments of undeniable genius but irritatingly inconsistent compared to their three previous masterpieces. Alternately, if you're not like me, you didn't feel this way at all. In truth, nobody seems to agree with me on any of those points so let's move on.
Fuzz. Fuzz is "Forget that Three Sisters and Pure Acid Park ever happened." Fuzz is the classic five-piece Alice Donut line-up not only playing in the classic Alice Donut style, but injecting the songs with wonderfully clever twists, turns, guernsies and whistlewells, expressing their brainpower through innovative guitar interplay and a vast mellufluosity of interesting instrumental tones and playing styles. And don't you be AXIN' for no 'single style' because "The Donut" (as many call them, due to their popularity among law enforcement) are all over rock styling creation here, busting out a smorgasbord of Revengey distorted-bass sludge/grunge, Muley psycho-rock, hardcore punk, melodic pop-rock, and melancholy strummers. The creative juices were flowing like nutsy-mad too; where Three Sisters' 12 tracks flip-flapped by in a mere 38 minutes, these 12 numbers drag your ear out for almost an hour! And that's not an hour of repetition either; almost all of these songs feature multiple intriguing musical sections. Both the opener and the closer are in fact 7-minute multi-part epics! "Stairway To Heaven"? Yeah, more like "Stairway To HEAVEN" if you a - oh.
Fuzz is full of loud electric guitars doing interesting things (novel chord and note sequences, two- or three-part interplay, ringing harmonics, sicko tremelo warbles, blankets of rumbling noise, KICKING ASS), has the same recording sound as their classic late 80s/early 90s albums, features rich, practiced arrangements and tight playing, and will keep you guessing from beginning to end with such lovely and unexpected entre's as trombones, banjo, piano, a funeral song for a friend that builds over time from a sorrowful eulogy into a drinking jig celebration of life, and other things too, like bow ties.
Personally, I'd dump three songs ("The Unnoticed Fall" is a thumbs-down rewrite of the "Batman Theme"; "The Better Me" is a basic happy three-note bass line and atonal guitar squiggles for five longgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg minutes; and "Johnny's In The Basement" seems to be a collection of disconnected, not-too-interesting chord sequences), but that leaves nine that are just absolutely fantastic. They're more and more rewarding on each listen too, because even when you think you've got the riff pinned down, a closer earhear usually reveals that one of the guitars is playing something entirely different than the 'main' riff. Plus there's all the extra instruments and back-up vocals they throw in, and the lyrics are probably interesting too. I wish they'd put the mothers online somewhere, because I'm a reading learner not a hearing one. I could never pay attention during StoryTime in school either. My mind drifts. Hey, let's talk about me some more.
Song titles include "Madonna's Bombing Sarajevo," "The Puny And Revolting Men Of Advertising Smile" and "Kcick Again," which sets the lyrics of Three Sisters' "Kcick" to a somber, lazy, kinda hopeless guitar strum.
You know how sometimes a band of old people will purposely try to sound like they did when they were little kids, and it comes out sounding awkward and forced because they're not really in that time of their life anymore? I'm sure you can think of some examples. I can't, but Diet Coke causes brain cancer and I drink like 6 cans a day. Well, it's understandable that you might be a bit concerned when you see me or an actual critic saying something like, "Wow! Alice Donut is back to its CLASSIC SOUND!" You might think, "But that's kinda lame, isn't it? Just going retro like that in an attempt to please their fans?" And that would be a fair thing to wonder. I'd wonder about it too if the songwriting weren't so unbelievably confident and idea-full. In all seriousness, this sounds like a collection of unreleased recordings from the Bucketfulls/Mule/Revenge/Untide era. If you're a "The Donut" fan from way back, you GOTS to pick this up right when it comes out. Hell, even when it SUCKS SO MUCH DICK IT DROWNS IN A MAN-MADE LAKE OF SPERM, it's still great!
Also, this may very well be the most diverse Alice Donut CD yet. And longest by a wide margin! And Tomas is singing much more on tune than he was last time out.
Thank you, Alice Donut people, for putting so much effort into your new CD! It shows, and is much appreciated!
(That was a little "shout-out" to the members of Alice Donut, who undoubtedly sit around typing their name into Google all day to see what shitty little asshole web sites are saying about them.)
Note to Howler Records: you have my written approval to use "SUCKS SO MUCH DICK IT DROWNS IN A MAN-MADE LAKE OF SPERM" in any promotional materials you'd like. Hopefully it's not too late to get some stickers printed up for the CD cases. I'm also thinking t-shirts for babies.
I read with great interest your meta-fictive "review" of Alice Doughnuts (What a name! You have a nearly Pynchonian ear for the codes of American subcultures!) and was floored by your innovative deployment of such culture-jamming strategies as the inclusion of superfluous bracketed letters, slashes, and other characters -- the subatomic, subcutaneous symbols of the machine-linguistic operations which in the last fifteen years have embedded themselves within the fabric of our cybernetically "enhanced" cultural environment -- the hidden structures underlying our increasingly alienated, electronified verbal discourse. Your inclusion of these marks, these traces of the molecular structures of our everyday "speech," is a radical step toward denaturalizing the codes of late capitalism; by making their presence visible in the flow of everyday conversation, you problematize our relationship with the very machines that make our communication possible.
As much as I admire your stylistic innovations in this piece, I feel I must remark upon the substance of the speaker's discussion. Let us entertain momentarily the fiction that the speaker of the piece, internet music critic "Mark Prindle," and its putative "author," historical person Mark Prindle, are identical. Prindle exalts the primacy of "the proverbial 'loose gun' [M]animal," the pop-cultural vulgarization of Nietzsche's ubermensch, and identifies singer Kevin "G.G." Allin as its ultimate manifestation in the realm of rock music, to whom he opposes jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, whom he regards as an example of bourgeois sensibility, a fetish of middle-brow consumers which sates that group's desire for "refinement" and "sophistication" (when in fact, Davis's music frequently revels in the bawdier aspects of urban blues music and the imaginary of the ghetto, even as Davis seduces the listener -- bourgeois or otherwise -- with the restraint and elegance of his improvisations; Paris and 125th Street, the Palace des Belles Artes and the brothel, these are the two sides of Davis's aesthetic "coin").
Here, the "author" enacts an ironic distanciation from the speaker of the piece, "Mark Prindle," winking conspiratorily at the reader as he enjoys a chuckle at Prindle's expense; for author and reader know that Davis himself, before his canonization as the central figure of post-war jazz (and his commodification by legion dormitory poster manufacturers), was a divisive figure, a radical who "flipped the Bird" at bebop hegemony by inverting its emphasis on speed, complex chord progressions, and prodigious flurries of notes, instead taking the discoveries of tenor saxophonist Lester Young to their ultimate conclusion, which one might lazily reduce to the simple adage that "less is more" (not to mention Davis's groundbreaking introduction of vulgar rock idioms and electrical amplification to the jazz vocabulary [cf. In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969)], and his later embrace of both Teo Macero's radical collage approach to in-studio composition as well as a demented form of raunchy, street-level funk on such recordings as On the Corner [Columbia, 1972]).
The ironic enjoyment is redoubled as Prindle exalts the virtues of Allin's "transgressive" embrace of discursive strategies such as corpophagia and intravenous drug use as tropes for Dyonisian transendence (where both author and reader know that Davis's taste for heroin, if not feces, anticipated Allin by at least three decades, and that Davis was famously an acerbic, violent-tempered asshole [cf. e.g. Davis's autobiography, Miles (Simon & Schuster, rep. ed. 1990)].
In short, I was delighted with this excerpt from "Prindle's" review, and cannot wait to read the text in its entirety. Moreover, I was flattered by the coy, Nabokovian reference to our conversation of 27 August, and by your fictionalization of me as a "top platter-spinner"! To be so included in the groundbreaking adventures of your antihero is a true honor.
Holy shit they are so good it is frightening. Chalk up another few hours of joy to mark prindle’s bad taste in music.
The second half, on the other hand, has got it going ON! Encompassing a gritty Cowboy Western ode to touring ("Shiloh"), a very pretty piano ballad about an esophagus ("Esophagus"), a unique piece of 'pigfuck' roots rock ("Old Dominion"), a multi-part epic that veers from harmonized college rock arpeggios to cheerful bouncy death ruminations to pissed-off John Lennon riffing ("Prog Jenny"), a gorgeous and sorrowful multi-part vocal harmony acoustic strummer ("The Cavalry") and a trombone-driven Pixies cover ("Where Is My Mind?"), this run of six great songs is the true follow-up to 2006's formidable Fuzz.
And look! Alice Donut is back on Alternative Tentacles! Luckily I have a tape of the phone conversation that made this happen:
Biafra, Jello: "Who is THIS?"
Tomas Antona: "Hi, Jello! It's Tomas from Alice Donut!"
Stephen Moses: "And Stephen too. I'm here as well."
B.J.: "What do YOU want!?"
T&A: "Well, we've been back together for a while now, and were wondering if you might be interested in releasing our new CD."
S&M: "Yes, it's a nice mix of fuzzy pop-rock and crazy coconuts called Ten Glorious Animals."
B.J.: "The only ANIMALS I know of are the other members of Dead Kennedys, who sued Alternative Tentacles because I wouldn't let them use "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" in a Denny's commercial."
T&A: "Yes, we heard about that. It's very unfortunate."
B.J.: "No, what's unfortunate is that they decided to stomp on the legacy of Dead Kennedys because I wouldn't let them sell "I Kill Children" to Toys R' Us for a radio ad."
S&M: "I know it must be upsetting. Maybe it will cheer you up to listen to our new album. It has this great song about Larry Craig called 'Wide Stance' that you'll just love."
B.J.: "The only person I know with a 'wide stance' is Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray, whose stance on selling "Stealing Peoples' Mail" to United Parcel Service for a point-of-purchase display is wide enough to incorporate agreeing to do it."
T&A: "Hmm. Would there be a better time for us to call you? You seem preoccupied at the moment."
B.J.: "No no, this is fine! What, Dead Kennedys? Ha ha! That's all in the past. I have a new band now called 'Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School of Medicine.' And between you and me, I think this may be the finest material of my career!"
S&M: "Wow that's great, Jello! Way to get back on that horse and keep riding!"
B.J.: "You should hear some of our new songs! We have one called 'Former Friend Of Flouride' that has a great Iggy Pop feel to it, and a new one called "Peligro! Peligro! Your House of Cards Is Falling Down" that almost has a Dicks-meets-Dickies sound."
T&A: "Hmm. I see. So..... can we send you the new CD to check out?"
B.J.: "Do you think I look like William Shatner now? Somebody told me I look like William Shatner."
S&M: "Wait, did this telephone conversation actually take place?"
B.J.: "No, Mark Prindle's still bitter that Jello Biafra refused to let him interview him a few years back."
S&M: "Man, that Jello Biafra must be a real asshole! I certainly let Mark Prindle interview ME!"
T&A: "Yes, me too! Mark Prindle is truly a Saint."
There you have it! The actual tape of an actual conversation between Nomeansno and Doc Corbin Dart.
Or return your bucketfulls of mule acid to Mark Prindle's Record Store That Doesn't Sell Anything