Industrial Strength Ear Cleaner
*special introductory paragraph!
*Butterfly Potion EP
*York (First Exit To Brooklyn)
*Slut (with Marc Almond)
*Limb: Minimal Compositions, Instrumentals and Experiments 1980-1983

J.G. Thirlwell is a delightful man from Australia-way (later of Londontown and The Big Apple) who combines noisy industrial music with strip club swing jazz, shouting blues, punk/metal/hardcore, cinematic orchestration and every other musical genre he can foster up in his crazy Australian/London/New York brain. In addition to his work released under a bajillion 'Foetus'-oriented band names (outlined below), he's also been known to call himself 'Clint Ruin' and release projects (either alone or with others) under the names 'Wiseblood,' 'Steroid Maximus,' 'Garage Monsters,' 'Manorexia,' and 'Baby Zizanie.' But screw those, I'm only reviewing Foetus material here.

Deaf (by You've Got Foetus On Your Breath) - Self-Immolation 1981
Rating = 5

Say! Have you ever found yourself in a situation that can only be described as "unspeakably irritating, almost beyond the realm of what a human brain was designed to withstand"? An event so annoying that it made your head feel like everybody in the world was smashing it with a hammer while screaming in your ear through a bullhorn?

If so, congratulations! You've heard an early Foetus album.

You see, early Foetus isn't for everybody. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that early Foetus isn't for anybody. However, there are apparently those who enjoy what basically amounts to Thirlwell throwing kitchen utensils around his recording studio, so I'll try my best to give it a fair and just review, even though I have never once managed to sit through the entire album without getting a splitting headache that literally splits my head open into two halves, each flopping down to rest on opposite shoulders while a geyser of blood shoots upward like a fountain out of my exposed throat. But hey! For you? Anything!

Item One: The Vocals. J.G. Thirlwell began his career by shouting at you through a trebly, reverbed device of some dastardly miscreation. Not just shouting though -- sort of mockingly sing-songingly shouting, as if he's jumped uninvited onto a Las Vegas stage to make fun of a lounge singer while simultaneously urinating all over him.

Item Two: The...Umm..."Melodies." Make no mistake: J.G. Thirlwell was not content with mere noisemaking. 95% noisemaking sure, but that other 5% had to include at least a tiny speck of what could theoretically be called (by less discerning listeners) a 'melody.' However, he insisted that this...umm..."melody" be performed in one of three manners: barroom piano, half-assed synth-funk, or sleazy swing jazz. In other words, the three most popular forms of music among today's young people. Moreover, this record was irreversibly influenced by his apparent decision to follow the unspoken motto "If you come up with a catchy part, make it go away. And replace it with a bunch of noise."

Item Three: The Noise. Dear Sweet Jesus Fucking Christ The Noise. Well, I'll be honest with you. No need to lie at a time like this. It's tinny. Trebly, tinny, high-pitched, loud, volume-tastic, clangy, distorted and way, WAY the hell out of tune with every other aspect of the track. The whole shebang rides atop a handful of the tippy-pippiest pussyassiest fake drumbeats ever released unto a nation, and adorned with a completely unlistenable buzzsaw guitar pumped through a megaphone and the cheapest and most horribly toned keyboards ever sold to Americans, all played deliberately and maddeningly OUT OF TUNE WITH EACH OTHER. From there, add in J.G.'s near-constant sleazy ragged 'guy with a beard' shout, and there's still plenty of room for beeping, smashing, crashing, creaking, wheezing NOISE NOISE RACKETASS TINNY EAR-SPLINTERING NOISE!!! I swear if you turned up the bass on your stereo, the entire CD would disappear.

Item Four: Ha ha! These aren't 'item's at all! What do you think this is, a grocery store? I don't sell meat! I don't sell cheese!

The Good Points:

J.G. clearly put a lot of time into this work, and he did it all by himself. He also displays a musical vision completely unlike any that I've ever heard. Einsturzende Neubaten were into random noise, The Birthday Party were into sick sleazy swing music, and the Residents were into weird (wrong) instrument tunings, but I don't know that ANYBODY had ever combined so many unpleasant elements into a single musical style.

His back-up group vocals are hilarious -- they're all him, but they're never even CLOSE to singing in tune! And it sounds totally and completely 100% intentional. Best example: "Why Can't It Happen To Meeeeeeee?"

He has a real talent for combining so many different collections of racket, tones and voices that it's often difficult to make out which of the noises are instruments, which are samples, which are random noise, and which are him doing something silly with his voice!

As difficult as it is to sit through the entire disc, four of these ten songs are so smart and entertaining that I could listen to them any time, regardless of overtrebliness: "Why Can't It Happen To Me" may be a confusing mess of conflicting keys, but hidden beneath the din is an essentially catchy ascending keyboard riff and hilarious group vocals; "I Am Surrounded By Incompetence" matches keyboard notes to amplifier feedback before adding an uptempo beat, catchy simple piano hook, and an honestly MUSICALLY MEMORABLE chorus(!); "Today I Started Slogging Again" is a Sadean fantasy set to a dumb-as-hell funk parody (incidentally, does he mean "flogging"?); and "Negative Energy" contains the most pleasingly nonsensical and least intuitive piano riffs I will ever hear (but it IS a riff! Listen closely! It repeats after four lines!).

Plus, most of the other songs have at least one moment of genius too (aside from "New York Or Bust" and "Flashback," which can take their noisy tuneless caveman yelling and shove 'em up my grandmother's ass if there's any money in it for me): the cuckoo clock/squeaky door/rocket noise 'melodic elements' of "Thank Heaven For Push Button Phones"; the wonderfully bouncy Old West saloon piano line that begins "Is That A Line"; the way J.G. screams the lyrics at the absolute top of his lungs over the impenetrable collage of hissy noise that is "What Have You Been Doing?"; the industrial bubblegum factory noises that permeate the otherwise ugly, forgettable "Harold McMillan"; and.... ooof. That's all there is and there ain't no more.

Hellnation's what they teach us! Profiting from greed!

If you're a fan of rhymes, you'll enjoy J.G.'s way with a memorable one. Here, enjoy some moments of this crazy Australian doing what he does best, 25 years ago:

"No pain/No gain/Migraine/You came!"

"One spreads ones spit around too much/Bye bye saliva, keep in touch"

"Other people bring their drink packages to quench their thirst/Pink dimples are cute when blood vessels burst"

"Castration/Masturbation/Flagellation/Come on, use your imagination!"

"Whoa FLASHBACK/It's a futile exercize/Congratulate me on my repartee/I'll give you more cash than Stevie Wonder's got eyes"

So that's the deal with the first Foetus album, specially formatted for maximum listener irritation. Deaf? More like ACHE!

Reader Comments
You're right, of course - the album is tinny, but put it alongside Depeche Mode's "Speak & Spell" which came out the same year and that kinda puts things in perspective. I've never been a massive fan of Thirlwell's "wild", "crazy" Vegas vocals but when the production's not giving me an ear-splitting headache, the dissonant synths and silly high pitched melodies are my favourite aspects. Songs like "Thank Heaven For Push Button Phones", "Why Can't It Happen To Me", "I Am Surrounded By Incompetence" and "New York Or Bust". You gotta take the album for what it is - some kind of cartoony predecessor to Ministry. Love or hate, I guess, but a 5? It's better than Linkin Park, surely?

That said, I'm partial to that annoying hip hop song "Today I Started Slogging Again" and he didn't need to stick like nine minutes of repetitive noise on the album's end . That space could have been used to fit two or three good songs on, or both sides of the the OKFM single perhaps. But nooooo, we had to wait until Sink for that. Thanks, Jim! Cheapskate.

Add your thoughts?

Ache (by You've Got Foetus On Your Breath) - Self-Immolation 1982
Rating = 5


Well, it's another appropriate album title for the Foetus Brothers. Once again Mr. Thirlwell horsewhips our skulls with poorly-tuned instruments, disagreeable yelling, and a clanging banging bedlam of abrasive industrial clitter-clatter. He again sings every song like a limited parody of a Vegas showman, again ensures that no two musical instruments are in tune with each other, and again limits his muse to the genres of amateur swing jazz, jokey funk and chain gang shout blues. The beats are too trebly, the songs each have a hundred different parts of which only one or two resonate, and the overall result is an album that is more interesting in theory than enjoyable in practice.

However, his strong points remain! Again, he takes care to fill the mix with everything but the kitchen sink (left out only because that's what he's throwing everything into). He also again builds up crazy multi-multiple background vocals that sound like he has a whole group of screw-loose bumpkins in his basement with him. And I can't remember whether he did this on the first CD (and NO FUCKING WAY am I listening to it again to check), but J.G. does a fantastic job taking advantage of the possibilities of stereo. The beats almost always jerk madly from speaker to speaker, and the assorted noises swirl around your head too, if you let them get that close. However, no matter how many theoretical positives I can think of, the music of You've Got Foetus On Your Breath still sounds absolutely fuckin' retarded!

And by 'fuckin' retarded,' I of course mean 'making love to the developmentally disabled,' so it's actually a very positive thing I'm trying to do here, and it would be nice if you could make a donation. (Paypal address = tardfuckin'

Let me pull out a few key phrases from my notes, to give you a better feel for exactly how this music sounds when one is actually (foolishly) listening to it:

"Preacher sample into crazy Jack-in-the-Box twisty noises atop. A few piano notes. Great use of stereo. Chorus has that ugly distorted trebly guitar again. 'Cool' delivery, only a few notes. Terrible!"

"Swing music like Nick Cave. Horns, high-pitched synths, drums in each speaker Noisy, Ugly, Damn Near Tuneless. Yech!"

"Funk! Silly funky bass! Horns! Turns into noisy atonal racket almost immediately."

Also, every single entry seems to include the note "Sings the same way AGAIN!" And this is strange: for some reason, a full 3 out of these 10 songs make repeated references to the theme from Rawhide. So I guess there's some sort of American West concept running through the work. Or not. Whatever.

Like the first album, Ache's lyrics consist chiefly of fast-talkin' gonzo hoobie-joobie that's more concerned with attitude and wordplay than making any sense at all. Here, while you've got that dick in your mouth, take a look at these examples:

"Another nail in the coffin/Another kidney stone to hurl"

"Not because he's mean but because he's a martyr/He makes Jackie Collins look like Jean Paul Sartre"

"I feel like I'm stuck in a maze...ment"

"I'll demolish that building when I come to it/We're going to lose the erection"

"I'm going to grind myself into the ground/And ground myself into the grind/Keep turning the key to wind up/And KILL YOURSELF to unwind"

"I tried to cook up some privacy/But the doorbell tore up the recipe"

"One man's fish is another man's poisson"

I still wouldn't recommend listening to much of it though, unless you're absolutely positive that you will be able to resist the haunting siren call of a bunch of fucking annoying racket. Acidic clanging, confrontational arrangements and limited vocal ideas -- thy name is Larry Hagman's smelly ass!

Hmm. There's something wrong with that last paragraph, but I can't put my finger up what it is.

Oh now I see! The first sentence should read "...of a bunch of fucking annoying TENNIS racket."

In conclusion, if you're looking for a control frame with above averge power and consistent touch and feel, you can't beat the Dunlop 1000G I.C.E. tennis racket. I mean, the fuckin' beam width is 30-25 mm! How do you fuckin' beat THAT shit?

Oh, and don't even get me STARTED on the Stiffness/Flex of 68, or the balls that'll be churning out gallons of semen won't be tennis balls at all!!!

Add your thoughts?

Hole (by Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel) - Self-Immolation 1984
Rating = 8

Finally we're past Foetus' deafening headache years and into the work for which he's most loved: the merging of hard, clanging industrial beats; multilayered samples of musical elements, sound effects and dialogue; cinematic orchestration (not much so far, but there's definitely a bit of it on here); raw, untrained vocals; and memorable, hooky riffs into songs that traverse and mix-and-match any number of different musical genres. On here alone, you'll find everything from swing to hard rock to industrial hardcore to experimental polyrhythmic electronic weirdness to an a capella death march - combined into strong compositions with standard verse/chorus arrangements that nevertheless contain lots of neat, unexpected flourishes, percussive elements and multi-layered background vocals floating in and out of the mix the whole time.

I urge you not to misunderstand me: Hole is still much, much noisier than any song you will ever hear on a commercial radio station. But the noise feels much less random and stabbingly strident than before. J.G. apparently finally bought himself a decent drum machine and listenable keyboard too! In other news, the beats are faster (even when they start slow, they seem to always wind up fast by the end), all of the instruments are actually in tune for once, and some of the effort previously expended solely on piling piercing noises on top of each other has evidently been devoted to writing actual *HOOKS*! He still sings every song the same exact yelly lounge way as before, but you can't have everything. Where would you put it?

That was an old Steven Wright joke. Remember that guy? He was good. How come he only put out one album? That's a real kick in the ass. Say, what do you think about today's comedians? I enjoy a handful of the 'hipper' ones -- Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Todd Barry, David Cross, Eugene Mirman, Neil Hamburger -- but really, nobody compares to Margaret Cho. You just can't compete with genius like that. Have you ever heard her bit about how Republicans don't like lesbians? Oh, I never thought I'd laugh like that! And when she out of nowhere starts talking like a black person? God, I mean - God! So funny! Best of all, when she curses in every sentence, it never feels forced. The fact that she's an idiot and none of her jokes are funny doesn't matter; Margaret Cho is hilarious. Just ask all her fans! Who'd know better than THEY how hilarious she is??

Hole features such describable highlights as:

- an industrial-punk rock song with exactly two lines ("I like the way you wear your clothes/I wanna stick my head under your hose!") that's essentially the blueprint for Ministry's entire post-Twitch career

- two great swingin' sleazy spy-mood jazzers full of musical samples from old horror movies and TV serieseses

- a song about Hitler's rise to power, driven by clomping boots, sirens and vocally-produced chord changes

- a slap at American Southerners featuring what I swear must be a Billy Gibbons vocal impression, complete with "Huh huh huh!" laughter

- a lyrical attack on Nick Cave set to music that speeds up with nearly every line before closing with a parody of the Batman theme

- a surf music send-up with a Beach Boysy chorus, "Wipe Out" drum solo (and vocal sample - listen for it!), and great catchy beach melody

- an excitingly confusing song built upon polyrhythmic not-quite-matching drumbeats, sampled industrial noises treated as musical notes, a low droning hum, and seemingly unrelated passages of sampled music and dialogue

- a terrific, mesmerizing piano motif that builds stronger and more epic by the second as string section samples are brought in to increase the drama

- a song with a bunch of drums that I can never remember how it goes

As you can see, it's a very interesting album! As you can also see, I want this review to be over so I can get drunk and watch Country Hooker!

Reader Comments
I endured several years of not knowing who performed the bizarre Beach Boys ripoff I happened to tape off a college radio broadcast one night - the tape ran out before the end of the usual 45 minute set at which point, had I been listening along, I might have learned from the D.J. of the Foetus brand name. Yes, I cherished this anonymous performance for years, yearning for the day when I might learn WHODUNNIT.

As for Margaret Cho... right on the money man! I saw a concert film of her's in which she repeated, probably 25 times in a row, the line (supposedly originally spoken by a nurse with a HEE-larious southern accent) "I need to WARSH your vagina" Because, of course, Cho had located THE ACTUAL comedy motherload!! And with every repetition it became funnier and funnier, not only to Maggie Cho, but to all of us in the audience! Ha-hoo!

(As I stomped out of the theater, I made sure to let the tittering twits around me know: "You are all idiots.")

Another priceless moment from the same film: a testimonial from two fans, filmed before showtime, in which they declared that they only liked two things: butt-f###ing and M######t Cho!!!
I love Steven Wright, he's great! He's actually released a DVD of his HBO special (you can get it through his website, you can have 3 guesses as to what it is). Love Todd Barry and Patton Oswalt as well. Thanks for knocking Cho down a peg, god I hate her.

As for Foetus, I've never listened to them. Maybe I will.

Add your thoughts?

Nail (by Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel) - Self-Immolation/Some Bizarre 1985
Rating = 8

Still advancing artistically, particularly in terms of cinematic melodrama and actually trying a few different vocal approaches, but there's almost not enough teeth to sink your meat into on this one. The ablum cover claims that there are ten songs (just as there were on each of the last three albums) but that's just a fool's paradise waiting to explode. In actualness, the album features two cinematic strings-and-keyboard instrumentals, a three-second orchestral blast called "!", some scrapy noises that are really just a lengthy intro to the next song, and a mere SIX fully composed Foetus-style mix-em-up song presentations. I know what you're thinking, possibly. You're thinking, "Hey shithole, a cinematic instrumental is still a fully composed song presentation. What are you, not a fan of the great John Williams?" Shockingly, I don't find cinematic music (or 'the modern classical') to be all that heterosexual.

Unsurprisingly, however, five of the six 'actual songs' are absolutely sublime. HERE ARE SOME SPECIFICS TO ENTICE THE SPECIFIC-MINDED; PLEASE SKIP THIS SECTION IF YOU ARE GENERAL-MINDED.

- "The Throne Of Agony" finds JG using an Iggy Poppy vocaly delivery to detail the drugs-and-depression life, as a surprisingly unembellished, catchy-as-hell spy guitar riff cruises its way down Intrigue Boulevard

- "Enter The Exterminator" mixes whispered vocals with shuddersome scraping, scratching, cluttering noises to paint an aural photograph of a Concentration Camp prisoner's grim existence

- "Pigswill" follows a serial killing couple as they traverse miles of industrial clanging and helpless thrash-metal chords unnaturally elongated into a kickass riff

- "DI-1-9026" is an anxiety-driven, ever-twisting Charles Manson ode that combines about six thousand genres in four minutes

- "Anything" uses bent-all-out-of-creation guitar notes and 'dragging-machine-gun-parts-across-the-floor' FX to build up a tale about telling suicide to eat a dick and Doing Anything You Want To (D.A.Y.W.T.).

Actually "Descent Into The Inferno" is a pretty decent swing/scat number about life in L.A. too, but hey! These are songs to hear, not to read about! So go out and get yourself a whatever.

HAY GENERAL-MINDED START READING AGAIN HERE. These are very well-put-together collections of manipulated musical samples and beats (the way he pitch manipulates distorted guitar chords to traverse entire octaves is almost SICKENING!) that are surprisingly more attuned to melody than noise. And not only has he brought more cinematic elements into his melodies; he actually treats each of the six 'actual songs' like an individual film with a plot, players and himself as director. Seriously! And it's exciting to watch the screen through your mind's ear as each track slowly transforms from scrawny voice-and-beat emptiness into fearsome, pissed-off, nightmarish and monstrously sample-full works of industrial art. Once again, he uses the stereo space as a mindblowing tool -- and that's an important point, by the way: if you haven't sat down between your speakers to listen to Foetus, you haven't heard Foetus. This is not background music - it doesn't WORK as background music. Its brilliance is cluttered and piled and layered and spread out, and demands your full attention if you actually want to hear everything that's going on. Ministry has never once put as much effort or skill into a song as Foetus puts into 75% of his. Listen to everything that's going on! Where does he FIND all those samples? What the hell is beating against his walls and pipes to create all those clangy rhythmic noises that sound so darn threatening? And how long does it take him to immaculately piece together one of these ludicrously over-busy Frankenstein's Monster creations?

And yes, his voice is extremely amateurish, raw, bearded, raspy and goofy, but that's JG Thirlwell. Take him or leave him.

No, don't take him! I want him! And if nothing else, that dopey shouting lounge guy vocal style of his keeps even his darkest tunes from coming across all humorless like Nine Inch Nails or KMFDM.

However, you need to understand something if you've never heard Foetus before. Yes, he was an Industrial Music pioneer - and yes, he clearly influenced Ministry and by extension probably pretty much every Industrial artist out there today - but if you're looking for straightforward industrial dance music a la Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy, etc etc, you're looking in the WAY wrong place. The 'industrial' elements of Foetus' music are not akin to the synth-goth dance beats and punk-metal riffs that most young people associate with the genre: his music is industrial in the traditional sense, i.e. ACTUALLY THROWING SHIT AT METAL AND RECORDING IT. Not only that, but Foetus hardly ever sticks to even THAT genre, rendering the majority of his work describable only as "industrial-meets-...." Could be "meets chain gang shouting blues," could be "meets movie soundtracks," could be "meets surf music," could be "meets swing jazz," could be "meets surf-spy," could be "meets hard rock," could be "meets disco," could be "meets novelty music," could be "meets hardcore punk" -- but it is never, ever, EVER simply 'industrial dance music.' So if you're some girl all dressed in black, please keep this in mind before you lay down the green.

And I'm talking about paying money, not fucking a golf course.

I may not love every song or album that Foetus has done, but that's mainly because he incorporates so many different influences into his music that some of them are bound to not meet my own personal tastes. I respect the daylights out of the guy though, and honestly feel that he has created some of the most incredibly interesting pieces of music that I've ever heard. And half the time, I can't even tell whether he's using a sampler, a keyboard, a guitar, an actual orchestra, real drums, a drum machine, metal pipes, glasses, Bob Costas, a roman numeral, a fish with three arms, toads, George Kennedy, a dog, telephones, Intellivision Baseball, intestinal gas, Hank Williams IV, a business card, a musty old calendar, magazines, Trident gum, a eucalyptus tree, boats, Charles Schulz's decaying maggot-infested corpse, a guy dancing, fifteen partially-chewed cocktail napkins, a flaming dirigible, the Beatles, an 'outie' belly button, a Thrift Store that only sells urine, roses made of paint, a tuxedo covered in insect repellent, clarinets, horns, trumpets, a horn, a Betamax copy of House By The Lake, a defective Scratch-and-Sniff book where everything smells like mayonnaise, The Belgian Ramones, smelly eyeglasses, turpentine wine, a hornets' nest removed from a vagina, Vice-President Wenceslaus, a sweaty yard sale, Dave's new patootie, Graham Master Japs' 'What's In A Diaper' breakfast cereal, or a microphone connected to a distortion pedal.

Add your thoughts?

Thaw (by Foetus Interruptus) - Self-Immolation/Some Bizarre 1988
Rating = 7


Yes it's true. Below please find the script of a romantic dinner with Award(TM)-Winning Online Record Reviewer Mark Prindle. Just fill in your lines, print it up, and show it to your friends as indelible proof that you shared a passionate evening with thirtyeenage dreamboat Mark Prindle, and had a stenographer there.

Mark: Your eyes look beautiful tonight.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Umm.... well, 7 inches fully erect but -

You: __________________________________

Mark: Well, okay. But can we eat first?

You: __________________________________

Mark: Sure, if you must. Suck away.

You: __________________________________

Mark: So... how about that Foetus album Thaw?

You: __________________________________

Mark: I don't know. It's good, but it seems even more sorta 'half-assed' than Nail. If you're talking strictly about complete compositions with lyrics and melodies that sound like he spent time on them, really only four of these songs qualify.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Well, there's the total Ministry-thon industrial metal groove "Don't Hide It Provide It" (based on the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth, incidentally!); the hilarious snappy violent racist chain gang blues stomp "Hauss-On-Fah"; the detective movie piano/mean guitar rock/orchestral melodrama hybrid "The Dipsomaniac Kiss"; and the HOLY SHIT HERE COMES THE SQUIRT! (pause) and the stupendous driving industrial-rocker "A Prayer For My Death." But aside from that, what do you got?

You: __________________________________

Mark: Exactly, JACK SHIT. Well, that's overstating it I guess, but the other six songs are at best experimental and at worst just silly. Also, your hair looks beautiful tonight.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Is that a new perfume you're wearing?

You: __________________________________

Mark: Well, it really suits you. I guess we should take a look at our menus now. What are you in the mood for tonight?

You: __________________________________

Mark: Well, I'm not sure I'm getting meat and even if I was, I don't know why you'd want it up your -- oh, you mean -

You: __________________________________

Mark: Well, I guess we could skip straight to dessert, if you're in that much of a hurry. This place has a fantastic collection of Italian cakes and frescos.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Yes, that's a very lovely...umm... "hair pie." Please remove it from the table.

You: __________________________________

Mark: The other six? Well, they run the gamut, don't they? Everything from a bunch of out-of-tune violins screeching their way up and down the scale, to a 36-second death metal parody, to an abrasive unpleasant homophobic blast of nothing; to another bunch of violins screeching their way up and down the scale; to a mix of scary music and generic soundtrack orchestration; to a bizarre merging of Spanish profanity and Indian music. Sure, use my finger. It's not that I don't enjoy most of these experiments; I do. The violin pieces are particularly unnerving, if a bit overlong. I just think it's unfortunate that, given what an effective songwriter he is when he really puts his mind to it, he chose to only do so a handful of times on this full-length LP.

You: __________________________________

Mark: No, I know "English Faggot" isn't actually homophobic, but it's a terrible song. One sec.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Hmm. Say, are you 'getting your monthly visit from Aunt Flo'?

You: __________________________________

Mark: Oof. Hmm. I guess I should have cut my fingernails earlier.

You: __________________________________

Mark: No, it's really pouring out now. I'm sorry; I didn't realize you were going to be so forceful.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Damn, that waiter across the room just slipped on it. Could you shove a roll up there or something? Here.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Excellent! So that's really my only complaint. The arrangements and production still sound great, his voice is taking on even more of a raggedy Tom Waits sound, and he's still piling on tons of sound effects, machine gun fire and orchestral/cinematic samples. And baby, that's the Foetus I know and love.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Your laughter is intoxicating.

You: __________________________________

Mark: The blues of your eyes are like the stars hovering high above the sea.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Wait - did you just crap on the floor?

You: __________________________________

Mark: Why!? The bathroom is only six feet away!

You: __________________________________

Mark: No. And even if I DID say that, I meant 'scat singing.'

You: __________________________________

Mark: No, I don't hate it. It's just - like I said - I get the feeling he put all of his effort into four songs and then spent the rest of the studio time just messing around to see what would come out. It's to his credit that most of the pieces are actually quite effective, at least for a minute or so before they wear out their welcome.

You: __________________________________

Mark: I know. Apparently the lyrics translate to "This is one for the girls. Suck this! Fuck! Scrape it down to the bone! Fuck! If you're looking for a dove, watch in the park. I am the red threat and I am at your door. Suck this! Fuck! Give your dog a bone. Mommy mommy - Look at me! Look at me! Fuck! Hurry up, hurry up - amoeba amoeba! (that's a joke on 'arriba arriba') Fuck! The fucking devil! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"

You: __________________________________

Mark: And with that, I must bid you adieu.

You: __________________________________

Mark: No.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Because your pussy is soaked in blood and liquid shit.

You: __________________________________

Mark: Well, if Ryan Phillipe jumped off a cliff, do you think I would do that?

Reader Comments
Thanks for your Foetus reviews, I'm enjoying them. You put some elbow grease into this and it shows - are you a professional humorist ( writer, et al )? If not, you may want to consider it, very funny stuff here.

Nail and Thaw are my favorite albums of his. I purchased Nail when it was first released back in 1985. I was blown away by it. I love Clint Ruin's vocals. In my humble opinion, I couldn't imagine anyone else doing them for his music, or performed in any other fashion - they fit the music perfectly.

His musical and technical capabilities are enormous. That matched with what appears to be an incredible work ethic ( and I don't say this lightly ) may make him the greatest musical mind of our age. Can you imagine how filthy, rotten rich he would be if he composed pop music? But instead he's created a legacy that fewer will know, but that's ok. The work is more important than the lifestyle ( and I'm not necessarily saying living rich is the way to go ).

Foetus' music asks a question of the listener - Are you a pile of shit? Its an important question, not one asked very often ( er, at least often enough ). Do you have the balls to look at yourself in the mirror and "know" that you suck - and this isn't some cock-and-bull about how you have to know yourself before improving or whatever crap - most people are shit, if not all of us. Do you have the mental toughness to allow yourself to see it without an agenda or goal ... simply see who you really are, behavior and activities and all. Do you get it ( are you happy ) or are you a chicken hopping around being a spoiled brat.
I was bored.

Mark: Your eyes look beautiful tonight.

You: Thanks. Are you still selling that extendable broom on eBay?

Mark: Umm.... well, 7 inches fully erect but -

You: Whip out your laptop and rig the bid for me, would you?

Mark: Well, okay. But can we eat first?

You: It'll be a while before the waiter comes back. This memory stick looks a bit dusty though. Mind if I clean it?

Mark: Sure, if you must. Suck away.

You: *inhales dust and gives memory stick back to Mark*

Mark: So... how about that Foetus album Thaw?

You: I dunno. Besides that you stole it from me 15 years ago right after I'd bought it and I never got a chance to listen. You're probably going to write a silly review for it on that site of yours.

Mark: I don't know. It's good, but it seems even more sorta 'half-assed' than Nail. If you're talking strictly about complete compositions with lyrics and melodies that sound like he spent time on them, really only four of these songs qualify.

You: Well, we've been over this before and I'm pretty sure you're never going to give it me back. So how about you tell me which songs are decent and I'll dub them onto cassette next time I come round?

Mark: Well, there's the total Ministry-thon industrial metal groove "Don't Hide It Provide It" (based on the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth, incidentally!); the hilarious snappy violent racist chain gang blues stomp "Hauss-On-Fah"; the detective movie piano/mean guitar rock/orchestral melodrama hybrid "The Dipsomaniac Kiss"; and the HOLY SHIT HERE COMES THE SQUIRT! (pause) and the stupendous driving industrial-rocker "A Prayer For My Death." But aside from that, what do you got?

You: That water gun routine... Nothing approaching the majesty of Genesis's "And Then There Were Three", I'd imagine. You're always listening to that album, normally in the midst of undergoing tantic exercise. Is that Jack's turd in your hand?

Mark: Exactly, JACK SHIT. Well, that's overstating it I guess, but the other six songs are at best experimental and at worst just silly. Also, your hair looks beautiful tonight.

You: Eh? That Jack, though. What a whore. He let me be the bottom last week, for some reason.

Mark: Is that a new perfume you're wearing?

You: I haven't washed since my night with Jack. I didn't even have to get out of his bed until you asked me to dinner. What a guy, he kept me occupied each and every day.

Mark: Well, it really suits you. I guess we should take a look at our menus now. What are you in the mood for tonight?

You: I'm not really hungry. But here's an idea - we could buy a steak, coat it with ketchup, stick it up my shirt-

Mark: Well, I'm not sure I'm getting meat and even if I was, I don't know why you'd want it up your -- oh, you mean -

You: Yep. We can convince everyone that I'm pregnant until somebody calls an ambulance! That'd be funny, because I'm a man. But let's save that until just before we leave. Which better be soon, this restaurant sucks.

Mark: Well, I guess we could skip straight to dessert, if you're in that much of a hurry. This place has a fantastic collection of Italian cakes and frescos.

You: Hehe. Mark, close your eyes for 5 seconds.... okay, now open your eyes.

Mark: Yes, that's a very lovely...umm... "hair pie." Please remove it from the table.

You: What? It's a vintage Treblinkan Jew! The one missing from your collection, remember? You were in the process of composing a series of fantastic sonatas in tribute to each and every one of them. There were some, though, that you kind of disowned. They couldn't have been that bad, surely?

Mark: The other six? Well, they run the gamut, don't they? Everything from a bunch of out-of-tune violins screeching their way up and down the scale, to a 36-second death metal parody, to an abrasive unpleasant homophobic blast of nothing; to another bunch of violins screeching their way up and down the scale; to a mix of scary music and generic soundtrack orchestration; to a bizarre merging of Spanish profanity and Indian music. Sure, use my finger. It's not that I don't enjoy most of these experiments; I do. The violin pieces are particularly unnerving, if a bit overlong. I just think it's unfortunate that, given what an effective songwriter he is when he really puts his mind to it, he chose to only do so a handful of times on this full-length LP.

You: Totally. We need to kick him out the band. Do you think we should really be doing all these avantgarde experiments in a public restaurant, though? I mean, me playing prepared violin with your hand - that's the kind of thing we should be recording at home in your $1,000,000,000 studio and releasing on Tzadik. Oh, and you really ought to fix your Yes page. Some of the comments you made regarding Jon Anderson were a little brutally inclined, I thought, although somewhat misguided. You realise-

Mark: No, I know "English Faggot" isn't actually homophobic, but it's a terrible song. One sec.

You: Teakbois gets a bad rap, but I think it's probably the best song Yes have done in compositional and conceptual terms, so your review really offended me.

Mark: Hmm. Say, are you 'getting your monthly visit from Aunt Flo'?

You: Mark! That's exactly the sort of childish reaction I would've expected from a Yes hater. Well, I'll show you! *pinches Mark's arm forcefully*

Mark: Oof. Hmm. I guess I should have cut my fingernails earlier.

You: Oh, you're Mister Tough now, huh? Come on then, Mr Tough! I'm ready to represent the world's "connYesseurs", as we fondly term ourselves, in this great battle. May it equal the grandiosity of my favourite Yes album, 9012Live!

Mark: No, it's really pouring out now. I'm sorry; I didn't realize you were going to be so forceful.

You: Hah! My opponent falls! Is Jon Anderson an "English Faggot" now!??!?

Mark: Damn, that waiter across the room just slipped on it. Could you shove a roll up there or something? Here.

You: I can't believe I did this all by myself! *bandages wound* Let that serve as a warning, fool.

Mark: Excellent! So that's really my only complaint. The arrangements and production still sound great, his voice is taking on even more of a raggedy Tom Waits sound, and he's still piling on tons of sound effects, machine gun fire and orchestral/cinematic samples. And baby, that's the Foetus I know and love.

You: Okay, that's it. You can call Jon an "English Faggot", but calling him a foetus is diving off a cliff without a bungee rope fastening you to the cliff's great protrusions! May you face the wrath of our world's Yes fans in their billions, channelled through my deceptively diminutive form and multiplied telekinetically by all the energy in the known and unknown galaxies of all times!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Mark: Your laughter is intoxicating.

You: May you fall to the susceptibility and weakness of personal bigotry! It is not our doing, but your own unearthly prejudices that have caused this physical wringing!

Mark: The blues of your eyes are like the stars hovering high above the sea.

You: They burn with the conviction and loyalty of Yes's fanbase, resembling the grace-filled ocular pools of our deity Howe, the technicolor clarity of Rick Wakeman's musicianship and the wholesome love and idealism that burns so naturally in the confident vocalisations of Mr Joe A!

Mark: Wait - did you just crap on the floor?

You: ...huh?!?

Mark: Why!? The bathroom is only six feet away!

You: ...c-c-crapped?

Mark: No. And even if I DID say that, I meant 'scat singing.'

You: I- oh god... I-guess.... oh my.. but FOETUS!??... Jon...-eww, man... you hate him!- oh god-

Mark: No, I don't hate it. It's just - like I said - I get the feeling he put all of his effort into four songs and then spent the rest of the studio time just messing around to see what would come out. It's to his credit that most of the pieces are actually quite effective, at least for a minute or so before they wear out their welcome.

You: Mark, this isn't convenient-

Mark: I know. Apparently the lyrics translate to "This is one for the girls. Suck this! Fuck! Scrape it down to the bone! Fuck! If you're looking for a dove, watch in the park. I am the red threat and I am at your door. Suck this! Fuck! Give your dog a bone. Mommy mommy - Look at me! Look at me! Fuck! Hurry up, hurry up - amoeba amoeba! (that's a joke on 'arriba arriba') Fuck! The fucking devil! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"

You: I've got to go home and change.

Mark: And with that, I must bid you adieu.

You: Can I pleeeeeease have that Foetus album back? I mean, it IS mine!

Mark: No.

You: Oh god. I can't do anything right. You're the only person I have any real kind of acquaintance with anymore.

Mark: Because your pussy is soaked in blood and liquid shit.

You: You fucking homophobe!

Mark: Well, if Ryan Phillipe jumped off a cliff, do you think I would do that?

Add your thoughts?

Sink (by Foetus Inc.) - Self-Immolation/Some Bizarre 1989
Rating = 8

So I'm in prison for five years the other day and I says to the guard, "Hay man, what about conjugal visits?" And he says, "Sure, conjugate all the verbs you want!"

So then I starts fuckin' all the verbs I can think of, starting with the most obvious -- 'do' has a couple of nice holes, and obviously no verb knows ballin' as well as 'fuck' (or 'ball'). But then I makes a big old dumb mistake, thinking to myself "Whoa, 'poop''s got itself four holes, no waitin'!" Next thing you know I'm knee-high in more stinky brown human shit than the last Puerto Rican Day parade. Pardon my French, but "Jeez Louise!"

I'm sorry I brought up Louise. Also, on the topic of ribaldry, I have this great idea that I don't think's been done yet. If it has, do it again and credit it to me. Picture this: a XXX parody of Cool Hand Luke that revolves around the key line "What we have here... is a failure to cummonmyface." I haven't actually seen Cool Hand Luke so somebody else will have to write the script, but I think that's a pretty good line to start with, and I demand 85% of the profits.

I realize that all this erotic literature I'm sharing may be getting you a little hot and horticultural (boner), and all you seXXXee girls are feeling your jogging pants 'busting lose' as your clitoris springs to its full 9" rigidity, and all you manLLLee guys are feeling that warm moist sensation as the inside of your penis lubes up for a good hard pounding, but this is a record review site not an elementary school cafeteria so stop jurking off all over yourself.

Sink is a spectacular compilation of Foetus singles, EPs and rarities spanning January 1981 through March 1989 (JG Thirlwell's 21st through 29th year on this, the great Planet Earth). Some of the pieces are edited down or remixed, but it's more or less 4 songs from the Bedrock mini-LP, 1 from the 1985 Finely Honed Machine EP, 1 from his first single, 2 from a 1984 single, 1 from a 1985 single, 3 from a 1987 EP, 2.5 from multi-artist compilations, 2 from Dutch Radio, and 3.5 that were specially created just for you. That's 20 songs, my man! Not only that, but they're credited to such timeless artists as Foetus Under Glass, Foetus Uber Frisco, Foetus Art Terrorism, The Foetus All Nude Revue, Foetus Eruptus, Foetus Interruptus, and Foetus In Your Bed. Apparently he also released a single under the name Phillip And His Foetus Vibrations, but chose not to include either of its tracks herein. We all really appreciate that, thanks pal.

In most suggestible ways and for all available reasons, this is the ultimate Foetus release. By including key tracks from every era of his young career while not spoiling the studio albums for anybody who might want to buy them later, he has crafted a double-album that perfectly encapsulates every single thing he does well. It shows his sleazy swing jazz side, his industrial-hardcore side, his hard rock side, his genius industrial-noise-collage side, his theatrical side, his creepy side, his humorous side, and even (unfortunately) his lame electronic pop side.

Side A introduces the basic Foetus aesthetic with a terrific swing jazz number, a singalong hard rocker, and an intense hardcore speedclanger - all filled with interesting, not-quite-placeable noises. Side B showcases the more experimental side of his maddeningness, with its 8 instrumental tracks running the gamut (dammit) from monastic chanting/gothic horror and Church-banned 'Satanic chords' to bouncy piano lines, hilariously over-crunchy rhythmic constructions, and a sick twist on traditional Oriental music. Side C presents four more of his vocally-driven masterpieces of sight and sound, including the anti-religious double-shot (or 'twofer,' depending on which classic rock station you listen to) "The Only Good Christian Is A Dead Christian" and "Halo Flaming Lead" (with its enchanting refrain "I wouldn't confess to Father Masturbator!"), as well as his very first single, a surprisingly pounding piece of work called "OKFM" ("Okay, freeze mother!"). Yes indeed, Sink is a near-perfect three-sided industrial/experimental/rock record album.

Unfortunately, somebody thought it might be fun to rub a big stinky cabbage on the ears of my life by including a fourth side full of crap like the boneheaded 'straight funk' take on "Today I Started Slogging Again" and both sides of the wretched mainstream "Calamity Crush/Catastrophe Crunch" single, which sounds straight out of Miami Vice and bears little relation to any other Foetus tracks I've ever heard (thank GOD, and his father, JESUS).

However, if you have the lack of OCD necessary to turn off the record upon completion of its third side (or to listen only to the joyous disco rocker "Wash It All Off" on the fourth side), you may want to make Sink your first Foetus purchase. The care he put into constructing each of these tracks is astounding, and will make you reconsider whether Trent Reznor was ever actually any good at all.

(Hint: The answer is no)

Caveat: Generally, I don't preface my opinions with the statement "In my opinion..." This is not to imply that they should be mistaken for facts.

Luckily for both of us, it's a scientific fact that Trent Reznor stinks and always has stunk, and that if he ever stopped stinking, the resulting shift in atmospheric aroma would knock the Earth off its axis and hurl it towards the sun.

And for that, we owe a debt of gratitude to the great humanitarian Trent Reznor, who works hard every day to ensure the long-term security of our planet. Viva Mr. Stinksalot!

Add your thoughts?

Butterfly Potion EP (by Foetus Inc.) - Wax Trax 1990
Rating = 8

"Foetus EP"
Artist: The Coasters
Peak Billboard Position: #7 in 1959
Words and Music by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller

You're gonna need an ocean
Of Butterfly Potion
You'll be listenin' like a hound
The minute the CD starts spinnin' 'round

Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Late at night while you're sleepin'
Foetus EP comes a-creepin' all arou-ou-ou-ou-ound

"Your Salvation"'s got the slows
And its 80s keyboard blows
But the strings'll scare you much
One creeps up while one falls down - as if on crutch! (?)

Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Late at night while you're date rapin'
Foetus EP brings painstakin' reverbed sou-ou-ou-ou-ound

Nail'll make you happy
York is pretty crappy
Ache and Deaf'll make you scream and twitch
But "Your Salvation"'s haunting
"Free James Brown" I'm vaunting
And title track is catchy son-of-bitch

"Free James Brown" starts lazy
But look out man it's crazy
The riff is dumb as shin
But backwards solos, horns and stardust all come in

Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Late at night while you suck balls
Foetus EP steals Mick Hucknall's favorite gow-ow-ow-ow-own

Love is like a movie
Gash is really groovy
Null/Void? If you ask me, more like Gas/Turd!
But "Your Salvation"'s spooky
"Free James Brown" is kooky
And title track is catchy son-of-bastard

There's an industrial-metal notion
to "Butterfly Potion"
But the horn notes go to town
And the chorus vocals make your wife go down

Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Foetus EP-eee-ee-ee-ee
Late at night while you wet bed
Foetus EP helps me get head from your wife.

Song Review by Richie Unterberger/All-Music Guide
"Foetus EP" might not be the most profound lyric that producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller supplied for the Coasters, but it might have the catchiest tune of all the Coasters hits. "Foetus EP" is something of a novelty song, the lyrics entirely about the asskickery of the Foetus EP Butterfly Potion, albeit relayed pretty comically and wittily. What propelled the record into the Top Ten, though, was the catchy, calypso-like riff, which ended on five particularly compulsive notes that alternate between two emphatic guitar chords. The Coasters delivered the lyric with habitually good cheer, the instruments dropping out to leave the vocals unaccompanied for a line before the end of the verse. That was the cue for a particularly zany low, wavering guitar twang, which introduced the more ominous, lower-key chorus. The bridge was also catchy and amplified the comic aspect - not all that funny on paper, perhaps, but funny enough when wedded to a catchy rock tune - by comparing this "Foetus EP" to all manner of other Foetus releases, ending with a dramatic unaccompanied vocal declaring that the "Foetus EP" helps him to be the king of the listener's wife's hill. The "Foetus EP" in the song could subtly be referring to a wife who causes trouble, but really most of the lyrical references are overtly about the EP itself. "Foetus EP" was covered by numerous British Invasion bands, including Manfred Mann, the Hollies, and the Paramounts (who evolved into Procol Harum). The most well known of those covers, though, was by the Rolling Stones, who actually did a couple of different versions. One of those was intended to be their second single in 1963, but was canceled, later showing up on a compilation album; the other was used on an early 1964 British EP; and neither was released in the States during the 1960s. The Stones' versions are fair, one of them sticking pretty faithfully to the original arrangement, the other changing the rhythm to a more standard straight-ahead R&B-rock one and adding the lyric, "I don't need no girl smell/Just gimme some JG Thirlwell".

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Male (by Foetus In Excelsis Corruptus) - Big Cat 1992
Rating = 5

As I recently wrote to my Foetus-loving Serbian friend in Belgium, "Very interesting track listing! It has 2 from Thaw, 1 from Nail, 2 from Hole, all 3 songs from the Butterfly Potion EP, 3 songs from the Wiseblood album, an Alex Harvey cover, a Tad cover, a reworking of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ as ‘Puppet Dude’ in tribute to Jim Henson, and a song called “Honey I’m Home” that is also on the live album Rife but was never recorded for a studio release.

Whee! "

Unfortunately, as I wrote to this same exact man (a Mensa member who owns a dog) a few days later, "Every song just drags on forever and ever and ever.

Hey, how’s my latest batch of movies coming along!?!?!??!"

However, on the bright side, as I recently wrote to Feral House owner Adam Parfrey while forwarding my Prisoner Of X shipping confirmation to him, "Wouldn't it be awesome if EVERYBODY who ordered one of your books forwarded their shipping confirmation to you? You could compile an awesome e-scrapbook!

And it would be INTERESTING!"

But then again, as I recently wrote to a guy on ebay I bought Alice In Acidland from, "Hi! I just paid via PayPal for “Curious Dr. Humpp,” then went back and bid on this. Can I get a shipping rebate since I won two items? If so, please let me know what shipping amount to pay you for this one. Thanks!"

But you know what they say - as I recently wrote to fellow online record reviewer Chris Willie "Disclaimer" Williams - "How are things with you? Did you see that I reviewed Sigur Ros!!?! Imagine, me reviewing a band that’s actually kinda somewhat ‘relevant’!"

Yes, it's wonderful the way that email and the Internet allow us to keep in touch with our friends, favorite publishers and people we buy things from on ebay, but technological advancements are of no use whatsoever when the time comes to review the double-live CD Male, recorded by vocalist Clint Ruin, Swans/Of Cabbages And Kings bassist Algis Kizys, Cop Shoot Cop/Motherhead Bug sampler/trombonist David Ouimet, Swans/Heroine Sheiks guitarist Norman Westberg, Hugo Largo violinist/guitarist and Unsane drummer Vinnie Signorelli at NYC's CBGB club on November 3rd, 1990 (just one day after my father's 45th birthday! Happy 45th, Ol' Pops!).

This live double-CD feautures a murky bootleggy mix, good rough mean vocals and great intense drumming, but Foetus material just sounds too simple and malformed without all the cool production and sampling tricks that make him such a special cut creator. Plus, having played in many a band in my youthier years, I understand how good it feels to just rock and rock and rock on a single groove for hours on end, but that kinda crap gets boring as shit if you're sitting at home listening to a crapass muffled recording of it. If they'd cut all of these songs off three minutes earlier, it'd be a heck of an album. Instead, we get what - 7 songs in FIFTY-FIVE minutes on disc 2!? That's like 8 minutes apiece! Nobody wants to hear the three generic chords of "Puppet Dude" (which by the way bears NO musical resemblance to "Rocket Man" - only the words are similar) for 8 MINUTES! Plus - now granted, I haven't heard the studio version of "Someone Drowned In My Pool," but if it's anywhere near as drab as it sounds on here, it should never have been written in the first place, let alone performed in front of a live studio audience at the worst fucking shithole club I've ever entered in my entire life, CBGB (the club so bad it single-handedly drove me to leave a Polvo 'gig' before the band even took the stage).

On the urp side, "English Faggot" somehow winds up sick and ass-kicking all over town on here - MILES better than the empty studio version. You hear me? MILES better! And if it were driving in a car, it would be LOTS ahead of you! The Judas Priesty Alex Harvey cover is also excellent and makes me want to hear this Alex Harvey fellow to see what he's all about. Have you heard him? What's he all aboot, eh?

A few other lesser-known (to me) tracks are surprisingly hoTTT as well - particularly the mesmerizing two-chord epic "Your Salvation," which uses length and repetition to its hypnotic advantage rather than just loping along purposelessly like the Tad cover that precedes it. How does one accomplish such a deed? Well, an emotionally affecting chord sequence certainly helps!

So basically it's live, it's murky and its song list features only five songs from Foetus studio albums (and one of those is the teeny blurp "Fin"!). Though this last feature is intriguing, the disc ultimately doesn't live up to its promise, as such. I wouldn't buy it if I were you, but then I did buy it when I was me, so who the hell am I to judge?

An Actual Judge
c/o An Actual Courthouse

P.S. Order in the court! (*bangs actual gavel against actual judge thingy desk*)

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Gash - Sony 1995
Rating = 8

What kind of Timbuktu gets a major label deal and then calls his album Gash? What, was Twat already taken!?

I know what you're thinking: "Yes, Jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko released an album of that title in April 1974." But you're WRONG - that album was called TWET, not TWAT so FUCK YOU.

I'm sorry. I didn't really mean "Fuck you." It's just been a stressful day. Not only is my left wrist still hurting from a massive bone bruise I got last month by failing (TWICE) to execute a proper speed break with a front-hand strike (wooden boards are HARD!), but last night I gave the middle knuckle of my right hand an enormous puffy amount of swelling by successfully (YAY!) executing a power break through two boards with a back-hand punch. You hear me? I PUNCHED through two thick wooden boards! So don't come around fuckin' with ME, a-hole!!!

Actually, you're probably pretty safe fuckin' with me for the next few weeks since I can't even turn a doorknob with either hand, let alone make a fist. But once all the pain, stiffness and swelling go away, don't come around fuckin' with ME, a-hole!! Particularly if your torso is composed of two wooden boards.

So yes, in 1995, Sony decided to sign Foetus to a record contract. Presumably they heard his last album and thought, "Say! That song about setting blacks and Jews on fire would sound GREAT on American Bandstand!" So Foetus played right into their hands and rejiggeryed his approach to sound more like Ministry, White Zombie and Nine Inch Nails -- loud heavy guitars in almost every song, very basic industrial-metal riffs, growly Iggy Pop-sounding vocals, an alternative-radio-friendly mix mostly free of chain-smashing racket and stereo-sound hijinks, guest musicians aglore (from Railroad Jerk, Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, Klezmatics, Lounge Lizards, Ballin' The Jack and even the fictional Mambo Kings band!) and even a few song titles playing off of pop culture ("Take It Outside Godboy" is a Simpsons reference, and "Verklemmt" is likely a reference to Saturday Night Live's undeservedly recurring "Coffee Talk" sketch). So it sucks dick, right? It's just an absolutely terrible record?

Yep! That's why I gave it an 8! You know my rating scale, right?

1-7 = pretty good
8 = really awful, can't listen to it without vomiting
9-10 = pretty good

No, we've all had some laughs but it's time to get serious. What differentiates Foetus' generic industrial-metal album from everybody else's is that the more you listen to it, you realize that regardless of its heavy guitar "trappings" (as we say here in the business), it's much smarter and more diverse than the works of even such legendary industrial-metal acts as Filter. In fact, listen past those everpresent chug-chug-chuggles and you'll hear such dynamic contemplations as:

- "Mortage" as a hypnotic, phased, pulsating synth drone

- A horn section solo in "Mighty Whity"

- "Friend Or Foe" as a Railroad Jerky oldtime/blues/country/rock jalopy

- "Hammer Falls" as a mystical Indian/Eastern raga

- "Downfall" as a monstrously destructive industrial percussion violation

- "Take It Outside Godboy" as a cinematic synth/violin work with accompanying dialogue

- AC/DC's "Guns For Hire" riff sampled for use during the second verse of "Verklemmt" (!)

- "They Are Not So True" as a cheap church organ hymn

- "Slung" as 11 and a half minutes of uptempo, super-optimistic jump jivin' swing music a la Brian Setzer

- The "Iron Man" intro in "Steal Your Life Away"

- "Mutapump" as a big melodramatic work of epic soundtrack genius

- "See Ya Later" as a Suicide ripoff. Hmm, it now strikes me that this might be a fine use of irony on Thirlwell's part.

See? Now that doesn't look like any industrial-metal album you've ever heard, does it? See, if you choose to concentrate solely on the loud guitars, Thaw does seem awfully streamlined and commercial for a Foetus album. And perhaps this WAS a calculated attempt on J.G.'s part to finally make the money he had deserved to be making for more than a decade already. But this is by no means ALL he was doing, because there are far too many neat ideas in here to write it off as a sell-out. And I don't mean one or two tracks to convince the old fans that he's 'the same old underground Foetus'; he literally infiltrates every single track on here - no matter HOW loud the guitars and how obvious the industrial beat - with an unexpected influence, genre or instrument combination. So basically, if you're in it for the industrial-metal, you win. And if you're in it for the old clever Foetus you've always loved, you double-win because not only does he give you (in smaller, less clear doses) the same track-construction insight he always has, but he does so in a complete TWELVE fully-furnished voice-and-music compositions. That's right - 12, not 10, and NO DICKING AROUND AT ALL.

I hesitate to say "Make this your first Foetus purchase" only because I think it gives an inaccurate impression of his unique vision. No other Foetus studio album before or since has featured such a huge number of guest musicians, for one thing; a mere 4 of these 12 songs feature Thirlwell all by his lonesome. And the whole 'industrial-metal' angle is really played up in a way that might make new listeners think he's less innovative than he actually is. But once you've heard even ONE other Foetus album, you gotta get this one. The songs are too good to miss!

Also there's lots of horns. And who doesn't like a nice horny Foetus?

Incidentally, that's what I'm going to ask the judge at my civil trial next month, so don't steal it or post it on the Internet or anything.

Add your thoughts?

Boil - Cleopatra 1996
Rating = 7

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have an album. It is an album deeply rooted in industrial metal.

I have an album that one day this nation will rise up and listen to, perhaps after some Helios Creed: Boil by Foetus. I have an album that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former Foetus fans and the sons of former Foetus playa haters will be able to listen to as they sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have an album that one day will cause even the state of Mississippi, a delta blues state, sweltering with the beat of Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt, to be transformed into an oasis of heavy metal and industrial beats. I have an album that will allow my dog to one day live in a nation where he will not be judged by the fur on his skin but on the content of his character. I have an album today.

I have an album that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the sperm of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and The Temptations, will blah blah blah the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, if you steal it off the Internet, this album is free at last!"

Yes, it's great fun to make fun of important Black Person speeches. However, give it a try and you'll see that it's nearly impossible to work in any comments about what the album actually sounds like. For example, I'd like to get something in there about how this is a live album by a full band performing industrial-metal versions of five Gash songs, three Hole songs and four covers, but it would be ridiculous to say something like "This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, 'My album, 'tis of thee, sweet album of industrial-metal versions of five Gash songs, three Hole songs and four covers, of thee I sing. Album where a full band played, album where electronics were waylaid, from every rollerblade, let Foetus sing.'" Actually that was the best one yet. Dammit!

If you like Ministry, you'll probably at least somewhat like this record as it's the same heavy distorted industrial-metal sound, all stripped down, lugubrious and free of such stifling impediments as 'anything going on at all.' It's interesting to hear Foetus in this sort of 'live rock'n roll band' context, but the muddy monophonic recording makes it feel even more one-dimensional than it already is, so it gets tiresome pretty quickly.

However! The cover songs are great! They play The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus," Alice Cooper's "Elected," the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" and Cheap Trick's "Hello There"! But does that make up for it being just a gritty motorcyle loud bearded tough guy band? With "Take It Outside Godboy" missing the entire cinematic intro? And only three songs actually sounding all that different from studio Foetus because the rest were either on the industrial-metal album Gash or are just cover tunes? Perhaps it is. I wouldn't argue with that point. The cover songs are quite entertaining no matter where you stand on the issue.

Punctuation fans will notice that the previous paragraph was comprised of three exclamations followed by three questions followed by three statements. Interesting yes, but even more so, it points out the gravely limited nature of the U.S. punctuation system. What if I have something to say that isn't a question, isn't quite exciting enough to be an exclamation, but is definitely a bit more than just a statement? And how many times have you found yourself answering out loud while reading because there's no way to punctually differentiate between a real question and a mere rhetorical one? Probably thousands, when you consider how many books Americans read every year. Somebody needs to do something, and now.

That sentence was a perfect example! It clearly doesn't deserve to be shouted from the hills on high, but with that shittyass period after it, it looks like I could give two rats' asses whether anybody actually does something!?! And don't think I don't appreciate the "!?!" option because I do. However, it only makes the lack of a similar ".!." (or even "?.?") all the more pronounced. Fuckin' punctuation. "Oh, look at me! I'm gonna use an apostrophe not only to signify a contraction but also to signify a quote inside another quote!" That's certainly not confusing. And what a hassle it would be to come up with two different symbols rather than using ' for both. How about '''? I like it, and so do my shoes! (*tappity tappity tappity*)

The boootom lime is that most Foetus songs are great not because of the "hot guitar riffs," but because of all the neat production and instrumentation shit that he mixes into them. As such, when they're performed as straight-up metal songs (and recorded on a Walkman lying upside down in a garbage can), many of them come across as underwritten midtempo chord blasters that drag on too long. Still, if you're already a Foetus fan and know of that which he's capable, you'll likely enjoy this as a one-off dumbed-down experiment. It's certainly fun, even at the worst of moments!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to spank the monkey.

Hey, he shouldn't have stolen all my bananas!

The Reverend Mark'n 'Toother' Pring, Jr.

(*is shot*)

Augh! James Earl Jones!

James Earl Jones: "Where could the B2B be?"

Luke Skywalker: "I don't know, Pop. Say, you know why Han Solo calls me and Princess Leia a 'tuxedo'?"

James Earl Jones: "Can't say as I do."

Luke Skywalker: "Because I cummed her bun! (cummerbund)"

James Earl Jones: (*urinates in a glass*) "Here, have some 7-Up."

Luke Skywalker: "That was Geoffrey Holder."

James Earl Jones: "FUCK!"

Add your thoughts?

Null/Void - Cleopatra 1997
Rating = 5

Tis is basically a pair of extended CD-singles for the Gash songs "Verklemmt" and "Friend Or Foe," though they've been ruthlessly disguised as actual EPs by corrupt businessman J.G. Thirlwell & Co. The length is there (65 minutes of music!), but 5 of the 12 tracks are just various mixes of the two album tracks, and the 7 new ones have 'Gash outtake' implied all over them. Let's begin by discussing in detail the multiple remixes of "Verklemmt".

They're boring.

Now let's discuss the "Unhugged Mix" of "Friend Or Foe," which deletes the overdubbed distorted guitars from the album version so you just get a straight-up clop-clop jugband slide guitar good time.


And now onto the real cow trachea (or 'Moo Tube' as it is cleverly called by a leading dog treat company) of the record: the 7 previously unavailable tracks. Though only one of them seems completely useless for home listening (a nine-and-a-half-minute dance beat called "Iris Evergreen"), there is an overriding aroma of 'lost opportunity' wafting from this bab grag of industrial metal, eerie horror movie soundtracks, quirky noise constructions, and jazz/noise. The main problem is that nearly all of the songs begin by absolutely blowing my mind away, and then Jim (that's his first name incidentally) will inevitably say "Okay, enough of the good part" and replace it with either a dull metal riff or a brapping orchestra that won't shut up. Watch helplessly as the scary-as-shit macrabe "Into The Light" turns into a bunch of boring vwipping, breating and Mommie Dearest samples. Scream "Noooooo!" in vain as "Flux" finds its awesome Jesus Lizard bass line and tremeloed spaghetti Western guitar replaced over and over again by an ugly, herky-jerky trumpet line. Give up on the whole endeavour as the intellectually stimulating noise/feedback/beep construction "See Dick Run" devolves into a SINGLE sample of Turkish music repeated over and over and goddamned OVER again before a bunch of tuneless guitar distortion and screaming covers it up. These are things nobody wants to endure, so why must they happen?


"Butter" kicks some serious Ministry-style ass all the way through though, as well as featuring not one but TWO pop cultural references -- the whimsically-named 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!' food product and - AGAIN - that stupid fucking Mike Myers "Coffee Talk" sketch ("It's like buttah!")! Unless he's quoting A Tribe Called Quest there, but COME ON.

Also of note are the lyrics to "Incesticide," which somehow manage to be more offensive than anything he's ever written, including the one about setting a black person on fire! Here, let's enjoy some of its fine verses together, as we hold hands:

Come on sonny, don't be scared
Gotta act like a Boy Scout, be prepared
I ain't breaking any laws
Just dressing up like Santa Claus
Whiskers tickling open sores
It's a kindergarten smorgasboard
They're catnip to every tom in town
And Pogo is their favorite clown
They call me butcher... I call them cow
Cousins kissing canvas now

So make like Pogo- get on down
Make like Pogo - get on down
Fratricide - Patricide - Matricide - Incesticide
Fratricide - Patricide - Matricide - Incesticide

No Daddy no! No Daddy no no no!!!!!

It's past your bedtime, getting late
Don't want you turning into gatorbait
All I want for Christmas is a chicken delight
And a tasty little morsel to hold on tight
I like to swing and I like to slide
And I carry a can of incesticide
Y'know my son you're just my type
Gotta pick that fruit before it's ripe

No Daddy no! No Daddy no no no!!!!!

Staring down the barrel of a loaded gun
Here it comes - somnambulumdrum's ten o'clock.........
Do you know where your kids are?

Sixteen boys on Pogo's chest
Here's your jammies... get undressed
In like a lion out like a lamb
Big fist... small hole... sugar ham
Look like a Jill and smell like a John
Shooting a wad from my loaded gun
I'm in a Bellevue state of mind
To err is human but it feels divine

There you have it -- JG Thirlwell admitting that he is a child molester. Why hasn't he been prosecuted for this yet? Haven't we learned anything from the Great Jello Biafra Child Killing Spree of 1980?

Add your thoughts?

York (First Exit To Brooklyn) (by The Foetus Symphony Orchestra Featuring Lydia Lunch) - Thirsty Ear 1997
Rating = 2

Alright let's get something straight while I'm drunk and you can't stop me -- I FUCKING HATE RELIGIONS. All religions. Christianity, Satanism, Moslem, Judaism -- you name it, it's made-up superstitious bullshit. And it affects my everyday life every single day. George Bush and all his fans. Bunch of Christian pricks. Look, NONE OF IT HAPPENED, ASSHOLE. It's a MYTH. Just like all the stupid myths that the Romans and Greeks believed in. It's shit that's made up by assholes to try to explain things they don't understand. It is the anti-science, the anti-rational and the anti-sense. Look at how many billions and jillions of different insect species are discovered every day. Do you honestly think a God would GIVE A SHIT about creating all those fuckers? And even if he did, why would you think that anybody at all - ever in the history of mankind - would know the nature of the God that did it!?!? There is evidence that Jesus never existed, there is a HELL of a lot of evidence that a good deal of the Bible was just a ripoff of older myths, and most importantly of all, IT'S 2006 FOR FUCKS' SAKE!!! STOP BELIEVING IN MADE-UP BULLSHIT! Especially you Moslem pricks. You pieces of shit can suck the brown off my ass dildo, you pricks. Every single one of you repressive closed-minded cunts. Christians too. Jews. Everybody fighting and killing each other to defend their imaginary friend in the sky. I hope you all BURN IN HELL, even though it doesn't exist. So never mind. But if it DID, by gum. The bottom line is - STOP REPRESSING OTHER PEOPLE BECAUSE OF YOUR ASSHOLISH SUPERSTITIONS. Leave gays alone, leave women alone, leave everybody alone. Stop legislating LESS freedom. Why on Earth would you want LESS freedom!? Enough with your laws! Let's just legislate that people can't steal from or physically harm each other and leave the rest alone! Who gives a shit if my dog goes in a tennis court? FUCK YOU if you care! Just let it go! It's not important! Stop trying to make life worse than it should be! And why does the president have so goddamned much money in his bank account when the country is ass-broke? Somebody should write a letter.

On a related note, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard.

(*the next day*)

That was insightful.

Also, this isn't actually one of the worst albums I've ever heard; if it were, I would have given it a 1. It's only really, really, really close to being one of the worst albums I've ever heard, which isn't so bad at all!

The idea was a fertile one: JG and his lil' darlin' Lydia Lunch would draft a series of narratives and lyrics about the sick drugged underbelly of NYC's DUMBO area (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), bring them to life through a series of improvised musical pieces (based on "emotive cues and descriptions of form, format and tempo along with pre-composed music themes") performed by a group of NYC musicians, and record the performance live in DUMBO itself. Unfortunately, the clever idea stumbled somewhere along the line and wound up sounding like Courtney Love fronting the Kids of Widney High.

First things first, I respect JG Thirlwell as much as a fellow is going to respect somebody he's never met. But that doesn't mean that I agree with his choice of friends -- particularly the talentless, smug 50-year-old goth teenager Lydia Lunch and worst filmmaker of all time ever Richard Kern. I like his nudie books of course; who doesn't like a naked girl who looks about 14 years old? A multiple sex offender? Ha ha! Not on your LIFE! But his short films are just laugh-out-loud bad. Oh MAN are they awful! Have you seen them? Yikes! Bad! And Lydia Lunch is right in there -- she can't act, she can't write, she can't sing, she can't think, yet she's been doing whatever it is she's supposedly good at for almost thirty years now. And here she is, doing it all over a Foetus album. "You call this life? I call it the stench of the living dead!" "I'm just getting a hard-on looking at two black boys beat the shit out of each other...." Those are the only two I wrote down. I can't stand her voice enough to listen to her bitch and moan much longer than that.

Unfortunately there's not a heck of a lot more on here to listen to! Feedback drones, a couple of trumpets bleating, some artsy guitar tapping, a bit of sad guitar arpeggiation and banjo picking, dull noise racket, plippity-ploppitying drums, a half-dozen semi-jams failing to ignite -- essentially it's just a bunch of made-up-on-the-spot dicking around. This was an intriguing idea that might have gone well with the right collaborators, but unfortunately when you ask (mostly) rock musicians to perform avant-garde jazz, it's inevitably going to sound like a bunch of 11-year-olds having their first band practice. Worse yet, JG was in HORRIBLE voice on July 18, 1996 (the day after my 23rd birthday); instead of his usual incendiary raw threatening yahoo shout, he somehow sounds like a gigantic dopey mountain man dancing around and singing music for the first time. Was he on ass-drugs? Or all drug-assed up? Whatever the deal is, it seems pretty certain that drugs, and an ass, were somehow involved.

So who was in the band? Members of Unsane, Pussy Galore, Cop Shoot Cop, Elysian Fields, the Lounge Lizards and a couple other bands. So did they ever get around to playing any actual songs? Indeed! Not only does "Egomaniacs With Insecurity Problems" slide around with a bluesy grungey depressed and tired beat, but "Arschficken" is actually a pre-written SONG! Not a very good one, but certainly pre-written! And it's about Pooptube Lovemaking! Apparently a re-worked version of Wiseblood's "The Fudge Punch," "Arschficken" is a sleezy slimy blooze-rock slop of shit that'll soon have you dreaming of your very own trip up Hershey Highway, in Pennsylvania.

In conclusible, you're nuts if you buy this CD and a dick if you like it. Then you're an ass if you memorize it, a pussy if you play it in the car, and a pair of jugs if you sing along.

What's that? You like a few of the songs, but not all of it? Hey, don't stop foreskinning on my account!

And you? You say you like Lydia Lunch's narration but not the other stuff? Step this way, Mr. Fallopian Tube!

And how about you, sir? You bought it for Vinnie Signorelli's drumming and don't care if the rest of it dies and goes to Hell?


A taint maybe?

But the taint of somebody who wipes from front to back so you're not all smelly or anything.

I guess that pretty much sums it up, as far as which sexual organ people are depending on how they feel about this CD go.

No wait! I forgot pubic hair! Somebody out there is a pubic hair and I totally forgot to tell them!

(*commits Harry Carey*)

(*is informed that Mr. Carey is not mentally ill, but rather deceased.*)

I know, but the maggots have been really depressed. Could you at least talk to them?

Reader Comments

Dave Warner
I was at that fucking concert. Or, at least, the first 10 minutes or so. I'd recently seen Boil-era Foetus open for Filth Pig-era Ministry, and it was embarrassing how great Foetus was and how crappy Ministry was, even with Rey Washam on drums -- and I *like* Filth Pig. So I walked out on Ministry after about 15 minutes.

I come from a family of walk-outers. I went to Phantom of the Opera on Broadway with my dad a few weeks after it opened, and we left during intermission. My parents once walked out on one of Bill Murray's many terrible 80s movies, and ran into Bill Murray in the lobby. It's a right. It's a duty.

Anyways, based on that awesome Foetus show, I'd convinced a friend of mine to go with me to see Foetus in the Brooklyn Bridge. Yeah, the gig was inside the Brooklyn Bridge in a huge rock-walled room under the on-ramp. How cool is that: Foetus live inside the Brooklyn Bridge? Well, 'York' answers that question. After about 10 minutes, when we realized that the band wasn't just "warming up" for the concert, but that this actually was "the concert", we left.

When I saw 'York' on a record store shelf a year or so later, I figured there must be a mistake. Perhaps there had been a *different* Foetus concert that summer with Lydia Lunch in the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe at minute 11, right after we'd left, they'd kicked into the 'good' part of the show. I mean, they did *listen* to the tapes before sending them to be mastered, right? Apparently not.

And, speaking of crappy live albums from bands who can do great shows, why release a live album from Ministry's Filth Pig tour? We get a 40-minute CD and a VHS tape of the incredible 'Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste' tour, and we get a full-length CD and DVD of the Filth Pig tour? With Ipecac and Warner fighting over who gets to release it? Again, did they listen to the tapes? It's as if the Melvins only released live albums that were short bootleg-quality CDs, Pink Floyd-like 'play one album in entirety' shit, or an hour of noise. No, it's as if Nine Inch Nails were to release an album of the DAT they Milli Vanilli in front of, mix it with crowd noise, and call it a live album. Yeah, that's what it's like.

Oh, and can you *not* put my email address on the page? I get enough SPAM as it is.

Add your thoughts?

Slut (with Marc Almond) - Thirsty Ear 1998
Rating = 6

How manly are you? Fairly manly? Hairy chest? Chains around your neck? Big ol' muscles? Or are you a fairly wussy little man, with a computer and eyeglasses? Big sci-fi and RPG gaming fan? Afraid of girls? Well sir, no matter which side of the manly fence you're currently resting upon, take heart because there is absolutely no way in Hell that you are as big a girl as Marc Almond.

Don't misunderstand my intentions and bring your bad vibes into my attitude -- I'm neither sexist nor homophobic. I don't mind that Marc "Soft ('Tainted Love') Cell" Almond sounds like he's prancing around in a ballerina's outfit and twirling a little pink umbrella. It's a bit of a shock to hear these sort of vocals on a Foetus album sure, but the music's so darned good I hope you'd at least try to develop a fondness for Mr. Almond's hilariously camp and homogenously gayfer vocal stylings. Although his more loungey moments stray horrifically from the intended musical key, his overblown 'angry' bits are as endearing as Morrissey once you get used to them. Just wait! After two listens, you'll be wanting to chew Almond's nuts just like the rest of us!

Here, let me talk about the music. The first three songs are pulled right off side two of Sink ("Smut," "Diabolus In Musica" and hmm... "Sick Minutes" maybe?) and handed to Marc to bitch and spit over; the next three are driven by dark, twisted, original lounge piano riffs that plant Foetus' feet right in classic Nick Cave territory; and the final one is a humorous baroque classical violin work that sounds EXACTLY like the last couple of Sparks albums! Plus, it features Marc singing a different verse in each speaker at the same time, for maximum annoyance. I am quite fond of these original new tracks and only shudder and shake during the (numerous) moments when Marc's imperfect pitch sends the entire Train of Music careening off the Cliff of Quality into the Valley of Dogwang below.

Jesus Christ -- I just looked over the rest of the notes I took while listening to this album. Is there some specific reason that my handwriting has devolved into what looks like a bunch of little worms taking a dump all over the paper? What the hell is THIS supposed to mean??? ---> "Foot disc cinematic and tongue music with gay vox. Very intense artiihog! Music worth hearing! Fecky sounding more like prime Nick Cave than than himself! The wits interesting, all together pan sorh times off by and GAY!"

Well, whatever I was trying to say there, I think it pretty much sums it up. So if you want to give Slut a whirl, at least be aware of what you're getting into. It's musically quite appealing to the ear, heart and intellect, but the vocals all together pan sorh times off by and GAY!

That's right - times off by and TOTALLY fuckin' GAY!

And did somebody say 'pan sorh'? You bet your hoofed mammal ASS they did!

So don't delay -- sink your entire foot into this Slut and its singing pussy today!

One other thing: Listen closely for a cute musical reference at 1:15 of "A Million Manias." Tee hee! Aren't you EXCITED!?

Add your thoughts?

Flow - Thirsty Ear 2001
Rating = 7

Crawl out of that "Foetal" position everybody, because it's time for another great "Foetus" album! And by 'great,' I mean 'good, but not great'! Maybe I should have just said 'good'.

Flow returns Wally "JG Thirlwell" McDowell to his one-man bandstand, but fills his workman's bag with what sure sounds like a ProTools computer musical editing kit. The edits are all split-second, the samples are clean as fish and pop in and out of the mix like a man pushing a button, and for the first time ever, his whole schtick sounds a little too easy. We're in a fancy digital age now where pretty much any 15-year-old kid can create his own multi-instrument sample-crazy music just by buying some software and tinkering around on the Internet. To rise above the croppy cream on such a level playing field, a Foetus-style artist must either (a) devote more time to songwriting than production, or (b) come up with some crazy instrument and percussion tones that other computer music guys haven't managed to develop yet. As hoped, The Foet-man (rhymes with 'Boat-man'; is pronounced 'Boat-man') pulls off both mean feats a fair amount of the time.

First of all, his songwriting is as pleasingly diverse as ever, if not more so. In 11 songs and 65 minutes, he gives us industrial dance-metal, suave Brazilian bachelor pad exotica, warped metal with somber violin leads, snazzy lounge groove, fuzzed-out electronic sick-rock, a driving murder mystery soundtrack, oddball constructionist weirdness, speedy swing jazz with big brass band, sleazy blooze-swang guitar slop, and a stunning, intense 13-minute noise rock epic! Instrument samples are used and manipulated constantly - horns, strings, guitars, sitars, pianos, music boxes, and more clanging, clinging industrial rhythm noises than you could possibly want or need. And most importantly, a good number of the musical and sample-twisted hooks are exceptionally memorable, including the bizarre speed-manipulated chords of "Mandelay," menacing distorted synth bass line of "The Need Machine," Wham!-ish sax line and disorienting wordless vocal loop-pastes of "Suspect," warm'n'wonderfully Page/Plant-esque Eastern bend guitar breaks of "Someone Who Cares," awesome walking bass and descending high-speed big band attack of "Heuldoch 7B," and the four strangled chords that mark the multiple climaxes of "Kreibabe." And believe me, that wasn't the FIRST time this week that the words 'strangled' and 'multiple climaxes' have popped up in conversation! Usually it's that meddling private detective though.

So yes, as per usual, Mr. Thirlwell has come up with plenty of innovative musical bits and pieces that'll keep you smilin' and prolifin' (i.e. "Don't abort the Foetus!"). But unfortunately (here's why it only gets a 7 instead of an 8), at least half of the great melodies on here either (a) stagnate through 5 minutes of numbing repetition, or (b) are replaced by a slower, simpler, boringer part for 45 seconds at a time. Is it really that hard to come up with a great riff, and then alternate it with two or three other also great riffs? I just don't understand how a brain can come up with all the great audio moments I detailed in the last paragraph, and then display such an erratic ability to create compelling fully-formed compositions out of them. Aside from sticking your dick in your belly button, there's nothing more unsatisfying then rocking along to a great little guitar or bass riff only to find it constantly displaced by a bunch of percussion racket or two depressing Pantera chords. Not that Foetus is all about the riffs, mind you, but as I said, if he's just going to use ProTools (or related product) like all of today's other mix-and-piecers, he'd better do something pretty amazing with it or he's gonna wind up as pointless as Negativland.

Having said that, I have to give top, top honors to the eerie epic anthem "Kreibabe," which has quickly become one of my absolute favorite Foetus songs of all time. It's dark, demented, dramatic and dynamic: a d-tastic masterwork, my good fine man! I also love plenty of other tracks too, so don't get all pissy with me because I only gave it a 7. "Shun" sucks though. Come on, how could anybody like "Shun"? Are you serious!? You like "Shun"?? WHY!? Are you high on Psychedelic Mushrooms!? Have you been inhaling the little bit of gas that comes out of a Whipped Cream squirt can before the cream comes out? Did you put some White-Out onto a small piece of paper and raise it to your nose for a 'Qwik-Trip'? I imagine that you must have participated in one or more of these activities in order to find "Shun" an enjoyable experience.

Hey wait! He's SINGING on these songs too! Let me talk about that for a while, just to keep my fingers busy so I won't jam them down my back pockets and squeeze my ass all day like I usually do here at the office. JG's voice at this point is a cross between a low gravelly growl, Iggy Pop's accent, and a really hateful nose-pinched whiny guy. His lyrics discuss drug abuse, love gone wrong and misanthropy, incorporating lots of classic Foetian rhymes and turns-of-phrase, several of which I will share with you now, for new times' sake:

"Perfect victim sitting duck/They're in the playground waiting/I can hear their stereos/I can see their whores fellating"

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger/That must make me Hercules"

"Give me librium or give me meth"

"The center of the universe is a very crowded place"

"I swear the ginkgo's working in reverse"

"Everybody claps their hands and breaks their fingers/And when it gets infected, the odor lingers"

"There are no pros in prostitution/There is no rest in restitution/But there's always ins to the institution."

"I wanna whisk you away with me/I'll be the be the whiskey"

"I've got 50 bags o' soot lyin' in my kitchen/My mother keeps complaining, man I wish she'd quit her bitching/Bags o' soot! Bags o' soot! All I want - are bags o' soot! Bags o' SOOOOOOT! Bags o' SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! Bags o' SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!"

Yes, you'll hear these fine lyrics and many more when you purchase Foetus' Flow and the song "Bags O' Soot" by the band I was in in the 11th grade.

Nobody likes to read, so let me close this up with a quick goodtime riddle:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Foetus who?
Foetus (feet is) hurtin' like Babylon! Let I in, Jahdammit!

(*performs traditional Rastafarian song, such as "Love Is The Seventh Wave"*)

Add your thoughts?

Love - Ectopic Entertainment/Birdman 2005
Rating = 8


Exciting and new.

Listeners familiar with JG "George Thorogood" Thirlwell's other band Steroid Maximus won't be surprised by the departure that is Love. But anybody expecting the usual Foetus mixture of abrasive industrial beats, distorted guitars, sleazy blues/swing and raw yelling will be left out in the cold to dry like the wind. You see, there is not a single bit of industrial, metal or even rock music to be found on this 10-song extravagin(z)a. But if you're looking for the latest and greatest in dramatic cinematic theatrics, "Love is all around," "All you need is Love," and if Arthur Lee buys a copy, it will be "Arthu

Love is Foetus as Ennio Morricone. Built upon autoharp, harpsichord, piano, and boisterous explosions of big band horn sections and strings, these songs represent the most melodic and carefully arranged work of Thirlwell's long career. As more and more instruments are slowly added to the mix, each brings with it a new countermelody to support or negate what is already there. In this way, Thirlwell keeps each song interesting for its full length, never simply repeating a riff over and over as he might have in the past.

"So why the 8?" you may be asking. "Why not a 10 in life today?"

Two reasons. Two points for two reasons. The first is that every song on here has the same exact mood. Though speed and instrumentation may vary, essentially all ten tracks are minor-key cinematic pieces that, placed one after the other after the other with no change in sight, begin to feel quite one-trickish and tiring by the end of the disc. The second reason is that, although I gleefully applaud Mr. Thirlwell for closeting the classic Foetus rasp-growl-shout in favor of his first ever clean and melodic vocal delivery, the sad fact is that his singing voice is kind of weak and whiny. Not on purpose, you understand! It's just that not all of us can be born with great singing voices; he too often misses his high notes (especially in the very first song) and almost always sounds like he has a clothespin on his nose. But hey - at least he always has a great rasp/growl/shout he can go back to! I don't even have that. Let's talk about me now. My singing voice is so chinless and weak-kneed that I perform most of my songs in goofy voices so I don't have to look my pussy-assed thin singing in the mirror every morning. Okay, now let's take a quick break and talk about Foetus.

Here are some little phrases, tricks, trinkets and notes I jotted down during my last walk down "Love street," so take a quick read to determine whether you're "In the mood for Love" or, alternately, "Too fast for Love". But remember, you "Can't buy me Love" because I already own it. Here are the phrases, separated by ellipses. Don't look directly at them! (Hee! Little 'ellipse' joke for you):

"The violins sound out of a hit hip-hop song....French vox, high ringing bells that change keys....tone-screwed circus/funeral organ, then loud bassy 'bwoomp's....he mentions 'Enter The Exterminator'!....icky wicky noise in right speaker....synth-treated fuzz chords - but is it guitar or organ?....electronic buzz-twitch keyboards....a FISH!....Tomahawky tightness....Boss Hog's Kurt Wolf on guitar (one song)....good menacing anxious lil' edge....bachelor pad suave smooth....little chimes, harp plucking....yucky pitch modulated vocals....Stereolab feel....harpsichord playing intro to 'The Sounds of Silence'....tuba break....clip-clop horseshoe noises....ticking clock....Oriental tone of darkness....harp seems slightly out of tune!....queasy 'ooo' part after chorus....haunting guest theremin solo over the quiet harp....simmering, sad, creepy!....Elysian Fields' Jennifer Charles brings soulless Residentsy vocals to one track....low pulsing synth note, electronic pulses pipping back and forth between speakers, then little chimey notes....'Bolero'-style drum pattern and wiggly/swizzle James Bondy synth....Hitchcock piano and string anxiety....vibrating vocals....sick demented music box...samples from Edgar Winter's 'Frankenstein'?....VOCODER!"

If you're putting a movie out and need a quote for the poster, feel free to use "VOCODER!" but attribute it to me, not Roger Ebert like everyone else does. Two thumbs up? That's ME! Roger Ebert doesn't even have two thumbs, let alone the connective muscle tissue to raise them.

To make a long story shit, stick a couple of matches up its a

To make a long story short, "Love is a battlefield," but don't let anybody tell you that "Love ain't for keeping" because even though "Only Love can break your heart," I hope that this review introduces "Somebody to Love" because I'm certain that "The rhythm of Love" and "The power of Love" guarantee that "Love will find a way" into his/her heart, as long as he/she doesn't get "Addicted to Love" or become a "Victim of Love" ("Love hurts" when you throw it at somebody's head), because even if you don't like "The Look of Love," "Love can make you happy."

Trust me, You'll "LIKE" it!

Reader Comments
I'm not sure if you've ever seen "The Venture Brothers," but its a great animated comedy that's on late on Cartoon Network and it's pretty much the greatest thing ever. Sort of a parody of those old Johnny Quest type shows, but that really doesn't do it justice. Anyway, apparently Thirlwell does all the music for the show, and the music is... amazing. I have not heard any of his other stuff, but for this alone he is a god. I will buy the hell out of Love the first chance I get!
I don't know him too well, but that really needs to change based on what I've heard from this guy. This guy is SMART. I've never heard music like this - if this is industrial, I'm a real fan. It's fantastic.

The ones I've heard so far are "Hot Horse," the one with the Billy Gibbons impression (I agree, Mark, he's got to be imitating Billy Gibbons...), "Private War/Anything (Viva!)," and "The Dipsomaniac Kiss." These are great songs! I've also heard a song from Wiseblood called "O-O (Where Evil Dwells)," which is also great. Wiseblood was a collaboration project between Foetus and Roli Mosimann (Swans), and since I love the early Swans stuff, I decided to check him out. I should get an album by him soon.
Hey mate,

I find it amusingly irritating how you manage to write reviews without mentioning a single song off the album, it's cool though and quite accurate too. Not my favorite Foetus anyway, but isn't it amazing how Jimbo can come up with an album sounding so fresh and new after writing music for like 25 years? (Especially when considering other "industrial" artist like Reznor himself, I loved his stuff till 2002, but recent material is painfully empty and meaningless.) I agree, his vocals could and should have been better, had he worked more on them. Not that it ruins the album, but still...
By the way, I strongly recommend the Foetus compilation 'Damp', released a year later. It's problably the best comp they've released so far ('Null/Void' wasn't that great and 'Sink' is fine, but how many times can you listen the whole of it?), with recent outtakes/non-album stuff. I think I enjoy it more than 'Love', especially nowadays, it's quite eclectic unlike the album itself... Some highlights include the jazzy greatness of 'Not in Yr Hands', the catchy epic of 'Hemo the Cuckold', a classic Foetus track that could've ended up as one of the best songs on 'Flow' ('Sieve'), Jimbo's collaboration with the Melvins ('Mine is No Disgrace') and probably my all-time favorite Thirlwell composition, a mezmerizing hymnical 'Love' outtake called 'Chimera' (why the hell was it left off anyway?).
Also included are: a gorgeous cinematic instrumental, another bigband track (which I prefer to Heuldoch 7B by the way), a cover of a The The song and so on. Think you should give it a chance, it's only available through, but seeing how you appreciate Thirlwell, it won't disappoint you me thinks. If it does, feel free to put it to shame and call me an asshole!

Hopefully, there'll be another piece of delicious Foetus fresh out of the oven very soon... Hear me, Jim?

Yours truly,
some random guy

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Vein - Ectopic Entertainment 2007
Rating = 5

Vein is yet another of those excruciating "remix" discs that everybody is putting out like an old whore these days. Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Minus The Bear, and now this: a bunch of cockamamie experimental/electronic artists fiddling around with Foetus' Love tapes and replacing all the songs with a bunch of noise.

Actually, that's not true. The disc's finest refurbishments retain recognizable portions of Thirlwell's original recordings while enhancing them with new sonic information. For example, alternative rocker Tweaker replaces the tinny keyboard and orchestration of "Aladdin Reverse" with gigantic metal guitars. Similarly, computer soundmaker Jason Forrest manipulates the original "Not Adam" melody with eerie circus note passages, IDM drum sillery, bombastic organ samples and anything else he can find in his box of Lucky Trix. Most tellingly of all, Thirlwell himself creates the record's most intriguing and delightful remix, converting "Mon Agonie Douce" into a shambling macabre dark carnival of Tom Waits murder rickety.

The rest though? At best, there are a couple of interesting ideas. Austrian guitarist Fennesz creates quite a disturbing 'Ghost Ship For The Ears' as he buries a serious, sorrowful instrumental under staticy radio noise, feedback and warbly effects. The haunting melody slowly battles its way into prominence as the song progresses, but remains creepily obscured the entire time. Japanese electronics woman Jujiko Noriko pulls quite a dozer with "Don't Want Me Anymore" too, sampling a brief Doppler Effect noise from the original and reusing it over and over until every passage sounds like it's fainting and falling out a window.

However, the bad is really bad. Exotica deconstructionist Tomveral different tracks for his "Corrodia Gravis" piece, but all I hear is a bunch of hissing, buzzing, rumbling, New Age Music, wind, and a motorcycle. Faith No More's Mike Patton stinks up the joint too, converting "How To Vibrate" into a directionless Fantomas-style broth of theatrical noises, scary blasts, horns, belches, monks, squiggly electronics, big beats, and film noir themes. Come on Mike, get back to singing those great funk-metal songs we all grew up with, and having long hair that's shaved on the sides.

In conclusion, you've probably figured out the real problem by now: I simply have no yen for experimental/electronic art. If you do, you'll undoubtedly get more pleasure out of this pointless button-pushing than I am Abel.

Why no, that wasn't a typo! Why do you.... Say, what's that wild look in your eyes, Cain!?

Heh heh, little Bible joke for all my Muslim readers out there. Heil Hitler!

On a completely related note -- look, I'm no fool. I've been around the block a few times, and I think I'm a pretty good judge of character, particularly when it comes to somebody trying to pull my leg. But I gotta be honest; I think this email I just received might be the real deal:

Reply To:
To: (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (
Subject: HI
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 19:26:06 +0200 (CEST)

I'm well aware of the ages-old 'Nigerian Scam,' but somehow I think this one's totally legit. Let's look at the facts:

1. Hackatt Jack is sending his email from a Finland email account. Therefore, he is clearly in Nigeria at this time, perhaps on vacation.

2. Hackatt Jack claims to have sent the email to 50 people, yet when you count the emails in the 'To:' column, there are only 40. Therefore, he is clearly so excited about giving us each $12 million that he can't even count straight. Would a charlatan make this mistake? Hell no, a criminal would be cool as a banana.

3. Hackatt Jack asks how I am today, and adds that he hopes I'm fine. A con artist wouldn't care one way or the other.

4. Whereas 'Nigerian Scam' emails provide several paragraphs worth of (obviously phony) information in an attempt to rope in as many fools as they can, Hackatt Jack is a bit less forthcoming with information -- because he doesn't want to attract the wrong element. What exactly is this $12 million contract payment? Why is he offering it only to 40 people whose email addresses are alphabetically situated between 'moniquestone' and 'mshanks64111'? A flim-flam man would've taken the time to come up with a full story. Because he's completely on the level, Hackatt Jack doesn't have to.

5. When I look up 'Hackatt Jack' on, I find this note on a software message board:

by HACKATT JACK Jun 11, 2008; 12:38pm


Good day how are you and your family I hope fine, please my name is Mr. hackatt jack from united kingdom London the manager of(WORLD TEE PLC) please we need 50 people from different part of the world to invest on $40,million each and this email was send to only 50 individuals please if you want be to part of our investment in your own country get back to me now with your full name and your phone number I am waiting to hear from you, you can as will call me on +447011121057

Best regard
Hackatt jack

See, this proves without a shadow of a doubt that Hackatt Jack is a high-ranking manager of a legitimate London bank (for which he telecommutes from Nigeria with his Finland email account) and is involved in important financial transactions like this all the time. YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I'M INVESTING $40,MILLION!!!!! COUNT ME THE FUCK IN, HACKATT JACK!!!

Oh wait, hold on. also brings up a 'Business Scams' page on

They're claiming this email to be a fraud:

Date: 18 May 2008
Reply To: []
IP: Lagos, Nigeria
Subject: HOW ARE YOU

Please my name is Mr. Hackett jack from Nigeria I will like you to help me receive a sum of 17,million international bank draft from the central bank of Nigeria but you are going to finance the delivering of this fund if you are interested kindly get back to me along with your full name your phone number and fax your international bank draft your home address and your driven license your age and your occupation your marital status your religion I am waiting to hear from you along with all your valid information which I mention above

Best regard
Hackett jack

Oh wait, I see what happened! This isn't Hackatt Jack at all, but some hoaxster named "HackEtt Jack"! Come on, who do you think you're fooling, Hackett Jack? Yes, Hackatt Jack is based in Nigeria, but he has a Finland email address -- not Sweden, you stupid asshole!

Actually, I have to admit I'm pretty relieved by this error. For a second, I thought I'd made a mistake investing my $40,million! KEEP COUNTING ME THE FUCK IN, HACKATT JACK!!! (AND COME ON, WHAT AM I AN IDIOT, HACKETT JACK???)

Tom Katona
Lucky Trix Cereal Co.
"Frosted Lucky Trix - they're magically for rabbits!"

Reader Comments
I liked every song on here so I guess I'm a big experimental/electronic art fag. Also I'm listening to "everyday is halloween" right now so I guess that buys me a ticket straight to gay town. You should probably do yourself a favor and pick up "Damp." It's got a pretty good mixture of all the types of music thirwell is known for, kind of like Sink. I liked everything on it except the blessed evening remix which is a steaming pile of 90's dance club poo poo.
Is it me or does he sound like Trent Reznor's retarded older brother? Don't mind some of the funky ones...well compared to Nine Inch Nails they're practically joyful.

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Limb: Minimal Compositions, Instrumentals and Experiments 1980-1983 - Ectopic Ents 2009
Rating = 6

You know, the word "Limb" just reminded me that four of mine attended a Cars concert last night. Here's what they played from each album:

The Cars - Good Times Roll, My Best Friend's Girl, Just What I Needed, I'm In Touch With Your World, You're All I've Got Tonight, Moving In Stereo
Candy-O - Let's Go
Panorama - Touch And Go, Up And Down
Shake It Up - Since You're Gone, I'm Not The One
Heartbeat City - You Might Think, Heartbeat City
Move Like This - Blue Tip, Keep On Knocking, Sad Song, Free, Drag On Forever, Hits Me

And here are some thoughts and observations about the concert, in case you were unable to attend:

- The set began with "Good Times Roll," which came to a sudden halt when Ric Ocasek realized he was playing the wrong guitar. It was in some alternate tuning, so the whole thing sounded like shit!
- They didn't replace the late, great Ben Orr! Instead they performed as a quartet, with most of the bass parts emanating from a laptop operated by keyboardist Greg Hawkes.
- Hawkes played bass on "Touch and Go" and "I'm In Touch With Your World"; for these, the synth parts were pre-programmed.
- Hawkes introduced "I'm In Touch With Your World" with the observation, "Here's one you don't hear every day."
- I know I've complained about "Touch and Go" a lot over the years, but I've come to absolutely love two aspects of the song: (a) the bizarre lockstep bass/drum pattern, which is probably the least mainstream piece in the entire Cars discography; and (b) Elliot Easton's soaring melodic guitar solo. I still loathe the gross synths, ugly vocal melody and dippy chorus though.
- They only played three songs originally sung by Ben Orr, and saved these for the very end of the concert. Unsurprisingly, Ric sang them fine.
- During "You Might Think," Ric motioned for the audience to sing the "But you kept it going 'til the sun fell down - You kept it going" bit for him. And we did so indeed!
- In my opinion, they played too many songs from the new album, taking up time that could've gone towards "Drive," "Shake It Up," "Dangerous Type" or some of their other classics. Seriously -- one song from Candy-O!? I realize they were excited about having new material to perform, but I wish they'd taken into account the fact that we'd been waiting a quarter-century to see them and were thus hoping for a more well-rounded sampling of their excellent catalog. Still, it's hard to complain too much, considering that (a) five of the six new songs they played are actually quite good, (b) they didn't make us sit through an opening act, (c) they went on at roughly the exact time they said they would - 8:15 PM, and (d) THEY PLAYED "UP AND DOWN"!!!!!! DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT SONG!??!? AND HOW LITTLE I EVER IN A MILLION BILLION YEARS EXPECTED TO SEE THEM PERFORM IT LIVE!?!?!?!? HOLY JUMP UP AND DOWN DO I LOVE "JUMP," "UP AND DOWN"!!!!!

In a related development, Limb is a compilation of musical experiments conducted by JG Thirlwell near the beginning of his career. Although the title is accurate (the songs are indeed minimal and mostly instrumental), a more honest description might have been Clever Ideas That Drag On And On For Five Hundred Years Until You Want To Shoot Somebody. They are clever though. Look at just some of the many wild acts he performs on this single album:

1. "Sick Minutes" - A jaunty tune performed on toy wooden marimbas, prepared piano, tin whistle, and aerosol cans played with small mallets. For a mere eight and a half minutes!

2. "Ezekiel's Wheels" - A bit of line noise from a loose guitar cable, looped through a delay pedal. For an infinitesimal minute and a half!

3. "Te Deum" - A bitter, stabbing tune played on a prepared piano. Prepared how? Why, he's attached alligator clips to the strings, pushed thumbtacks into the hammers, squeezed objects between some of the keys, and damped others with gaffer tape. But that's not all! After performing this hateful and reverb-less melody, he overdubbed a toy piano playing in a different time signature, and then finished the day with a bunch of loud shaky noises. Yours for only five endless minutes!

4. "The Anxious Figure" - Didja ever notice how sometimes when an old record skips, the repeated phrase can become a catchy little tune all its own? This happened to my copy of Paul McCartney & Wings' "Country Dreamer" (b-side of "Helen Wheels"). Ever since I was a child, the record has skipped just seconds from its conclusion, getting stuck on the final syllable of the penultimate "Would you like to do it too-ooo?" This locked groove "too-ooo?/too-ooo?/too-ooo?/too-ooo?" has given me muddy puddles of joy over the year, and if there's anything I can do for it, please ask. But my point here is that JG Thirlwell has created skips on some old classical records and created a song out of them. At first, it's extremely entertaining. Then it continues for another four minutes.

5. "Primordial Industry" - I personally find this one extremely cool because for my whole entire lifetime, I've thought that this dreamy high-speed melody was being performed on a piano. But nope sir ee! He's hammering the frets on a "prepared guitar"! (The low bits are still a piano though) He's also banging on a metal tray and shaking film canisters, keys and other things. Later, he slowly brings in a mesmerizing vocal drone. I love this song, but come on -- six minutes!? It only has one part!

6. "Industrial Go-Slow" - He turned the "Primordial Industry" tape over, added a delay (repeat) effect, then turned it back over so the repeats would come before the original notes. He also sped it up. Sounds good on paper, but the effect is minor and it's far too long at three and a half minutes.

7. "That We Forbid" - He admits to having stolen this idea from Steve Reich, but that doesn't make it any less coooooool. He has taped two snippets of Vincent Price saying "that we forbid," but made one the teensiest bit shorter than the other. Thus, when looped in separate speakers, one of the voices quickly falls behind the other, gradually getting further and further behind until it finally falls back into line, one complete repetition behind. This sounds much killerer than it reads. It's completely disorienting! The full cycle takes nearly three minutes, but in this instance, it's worth it!

Then there are five more songs, but they're not as interesting to read about. I guess it's kinda cool that he created "The Caterpillar Kid" in 2008 from synth improvs he'd recorded in 1980, but that hardly calls for an entire number (in this case, "8"). Suffice it to say that JG Thirlwell has his Thinking Cap on 52 hours a day. Unfortunately, he also expects us to listen to his Thinking Cap for 52 hours a day. Come on, JG! I got shit to do! In fact, here's just a brief list of all the shit I have to do today:

- Write several paragraphs about last night's Cars concert
- Talk about how Foetus' Limb has a bunch of clever ideas that are dragged on for too long
- Suffer terrible, terrible Writer's Block
- Struggle to come up with even a single idea; eventually give up, exhausted
- Wonder where it all went wrong
- Develop debilitating addiction to pills and cocaine
- Cry, sometimes for days
- During drunken bender, marry a derelict
- Try to keep derelict happy with jewels and perfumes for his scruffy beard
- Love derelict so much it hurts, particularly in the anus
- Lose derelict to dashing auto pilot; curse today's cuckolding technology
- Urinate on Michael Cera
- Defecate on Jesse Eisenberg
- Drill new waste disposal hole in body; evacuate contents onto Tom Cruise
- Get job, preferably blow-related
- Sing for my supper
- Dance for my dinner
- Hire a chef who's not such an asshole
- Retire to bedroom. Begin collecting social security
- Make love to bed bug; squish it for laughing at my tiny penis
- Sleep the great sleep of the sages
- Wet the great bed of the sages
- Feel deep humiliation as the sages shake their heads, disgusted
- Finish record review with bunch of bullshit having nothing to do with record

Add your thoughts?

* Hide - Ectopic Ents 2010 *
Rating = 10

Most artists don't release their finest recording 29 years into their career, but most artists aren't JG Thirlwell. Or are they? Considering how many names he goes by, it's possible that most artists are indeed JG Thirlwell. So thank you for all those great "Bob Dylan" albums, Mr. Thirlwell.

Hide doesn't scream at you like a demented caveman, bash you in the face with industrial clatter, or cover your naked body in sleazy swing music goo. That stuff all had its place in time, but it's not where Foetus is in 2010. Having abandoned transgressive shock tactics many years ago, Mr. Thirlwell is now simply an extraordinary composer. This album is a dramatic orchestral work filled to bustin' with strings, brass and some very strange chord progressions. Each track is extremely well constructed, with diverse instrumental elements slowly piling on and weaving around each other. And JG's non-screamy singing voice sounds great surrounded by all this bombast!

Because this is one of my favorite albums of 2010 and I very much want to convince you to purchase it, I'm now going to be the worst record reviewer in the world and simply describe all the songs.

"Cosmetics" - OPERA! Driven by guest vocalist Abby Fischer, this complicated epic of theatrical excess sounds unlike anything else in the Foetus catalog. If Mike Patton heard this, he'd ship his pants (overseas).

"Paper Slippers" - Like a warped Bee Gees piano ballad, this song is sonically familiar but melodically skewbald. If John Lennon heard this, he'd shit his coffin.

"Stood Up" - Dramatic symphonic ANGER! If you liked that song Thirlwell did with the Melvins, you'll like this.

"Here Comes the Rain" - Neither a Eurythmics cover nor a hilarious merging of two Beatles songs, this is instead a somber orchestral Phantasy featuring eerie modulation, ethereal whistling and faerie sparkledust. You'll never think of rain the same way again! In fact, you'll never think of rain again! You'll have a stroke.

"Oilfields" - The horror soundtrack continues with this chilling lullaby nightmare. As creepy as Alice Cooper at his creepiest! (Christian, golf)

"Concrete" - I suspect that this track is a play on words: musique concrete intended to sound like men working with concrete. Unfortunately, even if I'm right, the track remains about as musical as my pud. Granted, my pud plays harmonica, but his work is pretty avant-garde.

"The Ballad of Sisyphus T. Jones" - An action-packed cinematic western showdown! Martial beats, dramatic trumpets, spaghetti western twang guitars, "Yankee Doodle" and even a Spanish bit give this jig a pilly-willy that would make Morricone himself say, "Did I write that one?"

"Fortitudine Vincimus" - A sub-minute blast of opera madness, again with Abby Fischer on vocals. PLEASE NOTE: When I said that "Cosmetics" 'sounds unlike anything else in the Foetus catalog,' I meant 'anything else up to and including "Cosmetics".' "Fortitudine Vincimus," on the other hand, sounds distinctly like at least one other item in the Foetus catalog.

"You're Trying to Break Me" - Slow orchestral metal infused with black humor. So slow! So long! So fun!

"O Putrid Sun" - Gentle vocals, odd chord changes, high piano notes, evocative violins, booming drums and eventually a fuzzy pulsing vibration carry you to the end of the disc, so you can put on that great Kanye West album nobody can stop talking about because it's so great.

I love this album. I will say without hesitation that Hide showcases the most impressive mixture of complexity, creativity, melody and atmosphere that JG Thirlwell has ever produced. It will tease your brain, frighten your child, and make your neighbors think you're listening to classical music. Go to and buy it today.

And keep on symphonin', JG Thorogood!

Reader Comments

I wouldn't say his finest, but definitely his best since Thaw, my all time fav. I played this for my wife and she asked "What movie is this soundtrack of?"

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