Happy Flowers

They put the PETAL back in METAL!!!!!

And the STEM back in EPISTEMOLOGY!!!!!

And the CARPELS back in CRAP, ELSIE!!!!! (sort of)

*special introductory paragraph!
*Making The Bunny Pay
*My Skin Covers My Body
*I Crush Bozo
*Too Many Bunnies (Not Enough Mittens)
*Lasterday I Was Been Bad
*Flowers On 45: The Homestead Singles

Happy Flowers was a Virginia-based mid-to-late-'80s duo consisting of Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly-Charred-Infant, two adult men who adopted the guise of disturbed children and created four albums worth of hilarious screamed rants about childhood fears, humiliations and trauma. Their 'music,' created on electric guitar, distorted bass and (occasional) drums, generally sounded like either tuneless made-up-on-the-spot noise or catchy but rudimentary punk/metal (i.e. one or two bass notes, or a couple of slashing guitar chords). In other words, music made by disturbed children! Their best tracks take a typical childhood fear and brilliantly exaggerate it to the level either of absurd humor or disturbing psychosis. Their worst tracks just shout the song title over and over again. More than most bands I've reviewed on this site, Happy Flowers really aren't for everybody. But if you have a dark sense of humor and can tell the difference between directionless racket and astute noise construction (Happy Flowers play both), you definitely need to give them a listen.

Making The Bunny Pay - Catch Trout 1987
Rating = 3

Don't get me wrong; I like piles of human shit squished violently into my nose as much as the next guy but th no wait typo

Don't get me wrong; I like urine samples and vomit dribbling down my cheeks into my open mouth as much as the ne no wait grammatical error

Much like Abraham Lincoln, when Happy Flowers began their career, they sucked so bad you couldn't even stand to look at their big hat. This is JUST NOISE! Feedback, low bass growls, guitar racket, rudimentary to a fault - just MADE UP GARBAGE not even close to music or even interesting cacophony. They're already singing songs about childhood problems, but hardly ever in a funny way. And there is absolutely no structure to 85% of their work! Come on now, make an album with either some structure to the noise or more funniness to the lyrics. This is too early and crudimentary i'm durnk

This is actually a compilation of two 7"'s: Songs For Children, a completely worthless Racket Circle from 1984, and Now We Are Six, a not awful but still pretty bad early selection from 1986. Song titles include "Mom, I Gave The Cat Some Acid" (whose joke goes no further than the title), "Mom & Dad Like The Baby More Than Me" (whose joke includes such honestly hilarious asides as "What's the baby doing in the blender?," "I thought you said the baby liked pickles! That's why I put it in the pickle jar!" and "I HATE YOU!!!!"), "All My Toys Hate Me," "Razors In My Apple," "Daddy Melted" and "The Vacuum Ate Timmy" (featuring a real-life vacuum cleaner on "vacuum cleaner"). But don't worry your pants away: they quickly got much better. This is just the beginning of their vision taking fruit and bearing apples.

Mr. Anus has a very funny voice; he sounds like a weird little kid with dark curly hair. Mr. Horribly Charred Infant, on the other hand, shrieks hoarsely at the top of his lungs at every moment. When you put the two together, you get 'Instant Childhood Trauma Comedy (or 'Instanthood Traumedy') (or 'Insdy'). But musically, this is just a bunch of directionless feedback, guitar creeeekling and distorted bass thummmmms -- imagine Sonic Youth improvising, and you have the exact sound in your mind. Even when a song appears to have a catchy little riff (or, in fact, a riff at goddamned all, motherfucker cocksucker), it immediately turns into amateurish noise and screaming. Why does this album insist on sucking so many balls out of my panties? A man is only born with eight to ten.

As for highlights, "Requests" is a noise medley featuring unlistenable 'covers' of "The Love Boat," "In A Big Country" and "Hungry Like The Wolf," the latter of which features the pleasing definition, "You know what that means? I just wanna fuck your brains out, bitch!" And "Daddy Melted" includes the lines, "There's a puddle where Dad used to be!," "Mommy's a pile of ashes!" and "I DON'T WANNA GO TO THE ORPHANAGE!" These are all hilarious times for all young people to go through and experience.

I'm still durnk.

But at the same time, (the word 'penis' 50,000,000 times)

It's like that one guy who said that thing about the whatever: "You an't salwys never go home today."

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My Skin Covers My Body - Homestead 1987
Rating = 8

When this album hit the stands, everything changed. Your mind was blown. You died. That's the kind of power it had, and that's why it's so hard to find today -- because record stores are afraid to stock it, because it kills people. But make no mistake and bake no bukkake: My Skin Covers My Body is one of least influential records of the 1980's.

Wait, that wasn't positive.

Even by this, their first official full-length, Happy Flowers have already become much funnier songwriters and more interesting noisemakers than their debut singles hinted was possible. More than half of the songs even have DRUMS! Which of course begs the question, "Hay asshole, in the introductory paragraph you said they didn't do overdubs, so how'd they play drums?" Well, therein lies an interesting aspect of the duo that also helps to explain why they sound quite like they do.

You see, whoever's drumming usually also drags his foot along a bass that's lying on the floor.

Now, HANG ON! I know you're thinking, "Hay Mark you just gave an 8 to an album where the drummer drags his foot along the bass as it's lying on the floor. You're a asshole." But you don't judge every group on the same merits; you can't. If you judged every band on the range of their singer, The Fall wouldn't even warrant 0's. If the technical ability of the guitarist was the key issue, the Ramones would be lucky to get a couple of 2's (for Ed Stasium's overdubbed solos). Likewise, if you for some reason judge music on 'how musical' or 'good' it is, perhaps you'd find fault with Happy Flowers' approach. But their qualities lie elsewhere, in traits unrelated to 'a guitar line that actually follows the drumbeat' or 'the drummer not just dragging his foot along the bass as it's lying on the floor.' Let's discuss these merits, at another time.

Or now, alternately. Here are just a few of the many unique artistic qualities to be deemed relevant by this author on this day about this album:

- The two guitar harmonics in "The Sun That Burns." In the Happy Flowers' universe, this constitutes a 'melody.'
- The delightfully rhythmic single bass note in "Jenny Tried To Kiss Me At Recess." Why play more than one? Come on, bands with more than one bass note, you're just showing off.
- The illegally-sampled Zamfir song that book-ends "Toastfire." For those who claim that Happy Flowers' records are tuneless -- HA! You couldn't be more wrong, as evidenced by this musical passage stolen from somebody else's record.
- The neat drum echo in "Why Didn't You Tell Me You Were Bringing Home A Baby?" Other bands would use an effect like this as mere window dressing; Happy Flowers have the guts to use it as the entire focus of a song.

And that's all just on side one! Just think about what wonders side TWO offers to behold!

In all seriousness -- Do you like to laugh? Do you think the idea of two (clever, witty) grown men screaming and shouting about little kids' problems atop ludicrously noisy electric instruments is funny? Many of us do, and that's why we're fans of this band. Plus, when they actually do bother playing a riff, it sounds positively BRILLIANT and ASS-KICKING in comparison to the ear-cleaning feedback of their other material!

I'm serious; I really, really like this band. They're ridiculous, messy, noisy, smart, stupid, fascinating, pointless and hilarious. And when they bother to use repetition in their music, the result is generally quite catchy lo-fi punk/noise/metal. Take "If It Was Broken, You'd Be Screaming," for example; not only are the words laugh-out-loud hilarious, but the two sick discordant metal shard chords are actually quite hooky!

Moving on to the album's music as a whole, the bass is still distorted and there is lots of phase effect on the guitar for some reason. Okay, on to the lyrics.

Pain, embarrassment, anger, boredom and parental negligence. Are there anything funnier? I'm sure that most of us as children shared the same anxieties and humiliations that Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly Charred Infant take to their logical extremes in these tracks: the fear of being left behind in an unfamiliar location, the disgust for a girl who keeps trying to kiss you, the utter boredom of rainy days, the confused anger of losing your 'only child' status to a new baby. And sure, most of us never accidentally burnt the house down while making toast, or sawed our brother's arm off, or broke so many bones that we had to pour ourselves into a sieve and mail ourselves home, but I think we all know somebody who did. And it's this universality that makes Happy Flowers a wonderful group for children and little kids to play to and enjoy listening.

Here are just a few of my favorite lyrics from My Skin Covers My Body:

From "Toastburn": "Sorry! I only wanted some toast!"

From "Why Didn't You Tell Me You Were Bringing Home A Baby?": "I thought you meant a PUPPY!!! .... THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!"

From an almost-atonal cover of "Not Fade Away": "ICE CREAM IS BETTER THAN YOU, MOM AND DAD!!!"

From the truly nightmarish "I Wet The Bed Again": "PLEASE GOD MAKE ME STOP WETTING THE BED!!!"

And here's my favorite vocal flub:

Mr. HCI: "Hey, here's my hamster's gerbil!"
Mr. Anus: "What!?"
Mr. HCI: "Hey, here's my sister's gerbil!"

And one final note, while I'm just saying all kinds of things in no clear order at all. If you know anybody suffering from obesity, you MUST purchase them a subliminal tape consisting of nothing but the Happy Flowers track "Stop Eating" repeated over and over. Weight Watchers has its merits, but I'm pretty sure their key tenets don't include an infinite loop of a guy screaming "STOP OR YOU'RE GONNA DIE!!!!!" I'm not overweight, but if I were, I certainly wouldn't be anymore!

Because I'm addicted to heroin.

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* I Crush Bozo - Homestead 1988 *
Rating = 10

Clowns are a many-splendored thing. Indeed, when one thinks of a clown, one thinks of laughter, balloons and make-up. That's all I have to say on the clown issue.

This album, on the other hand, is a great album. Not as perfect as my "10 out of 10" grade might lead you to think, but I've always been quite the fan of the 'mark-up' and if any album deserves a 'mark-up,' it's this one. Sure, a few songs seem like wasted opportunities (particularly "Old Relatives" and "Get Paul's Head" -- great concepts, but where are the jokes?), but there is so much Grade-A Happy Flowers insanity spread among these 16 tracks that any grade less than a 9 would just be pitnicking (jabbing at your underarm with a razor).

First of all, the songs are much more musical than before, with the duo just as likely to perform an actual repeated piece of pseudo-melody as their usual dissonant high-pitched awfulness. The hooks may be raw, simple and amateurish, but there's just enough there to render most of the songs extremely catchy in their own unorthodox way.

And what diversity! Driving angry metallicas "More Mittens," "Mrs. Butcher" and "Get Me Off The Broiler Pan" share space with Flippery bass thubbers "Old Relatives" and "Why Don't I Bleed?," loop-driven sicknesses "Wire Brush" and "My Frisbee Went Under The Lawnmower," and least expected of all, the Tom Waits/Einsturzende Neubaten piano-drum collapsing building "Toenail Fear," the honestly sensitive guitar chords of "I Saw My Picture On A Milk Carton," and a STRAIGHT (though short) reading of Nick Drake's bluesy "Know"!

The other six songs are tuneless dicking-around horseshit.

FUNNY dickless horsing-around tuneshit though!

The bass guitar is a bit low in the mix, at least on the LP version. Perhaps the CD version corrects this bumbling, bone-headed, Keystone Kop-style production error.

And the lyrics? My Jimmy Willikers, the lyrics! (a) Clever, (b) hilarious, (c) extremely disturbing. Let's discuss the extremely disturbing ones first. This album features several tracks whose concepts are taken to such a deranged, horrifying extreme that you might seriously have nightmares about them (particularly backed as they are by such seasick instrumentation). In the interest of an uncluttered paragraph, let's discuss these tracks as bullet points:

- "I'm The Stupid One": This child is being raised to believe that all of his siblings and cousins, regardless of their questionable morals, are wonderful smart people, but that he's... well... (check the title). Sample lyric: "And then there's my brother JB. He's really nice. He's sort of a pederast...." The repeated 'adult-voice' loop of "STUPID!" adds considerable weight to an already distressing (yet funny!) piece of work, as it's obvious that our narrator hears this word repeated in his head over and over and over, every day of his young, psychologically abused life.

- "Why Don't I Bleed?": Yes, it's an absurd situation, but that's the whole point. What would happen if you, a small child, wrecked on your bike, took a chunk out of your knee... and didn't bleed? What would this imply about you and your place in the world? Are you not human at all!?

- "Fever Dream": This is mainly disturbing due to the creepy echoing guitar and bass noises, but the nature of the narrator's fever dream certainly plays a role. Sample lyric: "What's that noise coming from down the hall? I THINK IT'S THOSE GREEN PILLOWS FROM DOWNSTAIRS!!!!"

- "There's A Worm In My Hand": It's possible that I've been misinterpreting this song for the last 16 years, but as far as I can tell, it's about a panicked, confused child ripping his own vein out.

- "Toenail Fear": This child, as he explains in a rising state of discomfort and horror, constantly experiences the sensation that his shoes are catching onto the ends of his toenails, pulling back, and ripping them off. The key problem with this sensation is that he even feels it WHEN HIS SHOES ARE OFF. As you might expect, he is slowly going insane, and even contemplating ripping his toenails off himself "just to get it over with." (!)

- "I Saw My Picture On A Milk Carton": Although the lyrics could go much further with a concept this terrifying, I suppose it's enough that his 'father' whips him with a belt for 'lying' about seeing himself identified as a missing child on a milk carton. Yes, I suppose that's enough.

But don't worry; this isn't a Swans album. They play everything for laughs, and it is all very funny. It's just Sensitive Nellies like me who dig a bit beneath the surface to consider the real-life implications of such trauma. The truth is - I'm simply too deep for the majority of American Entertainment. I'm also extremely Poetic, as well as a Visionary. I am also an Artist. I'm John Lennon.

But hey, cheer up because there are some great straight-up comedy gags here too, like "More Mittens," whose hero is either the strangest or most sarcastic child on God's Green Earth ("I CAN'T SATISFY MY NEED FOR MORE MITTENS!") Great backward drum breaks too. Another comedy gag is "I've Got The Picnic Disease," which finds Mr. Anus temporarily discarding his Little Kid persona to simply throw out some of the least sensical arguments in the history of words ("YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THELONIUS MONK'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER!"). And, although I suppose it could be construed as twisted, the magical tale of "Jellyfish Head" is far too absurd to be taken seriously -- it's about a baby born without a skeleton! ("We can do neat things with him though; we can roll him up into a ball!") Good old funniness and its laughter.

I'll close with an admonition to you that you must purchase this, the finest Happy Flowers release available in musical form, as soon as Americanly possible.

Now for one final lyric:

"Guess I'll have to reach under the lawnmower. Is it running? AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Reader Comments

S Fall
A masterpiece, pretty much. Anyone who has ever been a child (that's most of us, isn't it?) should be able to relate to the ultra-obsessive, highly disturbing kiddy mindset that is so well explored here. But the Happy Flowers are also incredibly funny. Did someone say that all good comedy has a tragic element? If not, they should have done. This band are way out on their own at the lonely cutting edge where super-witty high art meets a perfect, heart-breaking understanding of what it is to be a (young) human being. No other adults have ever got inside the mind of a child so accurately. And if this is what they'd find, who else would want to

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Oof - Homestead 1989
Rating = 8

No flowers are happy today. Following five months of tests, my wife and I finally received confirmation that Henry The Dog is suffering from renal insufficiency, which is the stage right before early kidney failure. He has already lost between 66 and 75% of his kidney functioning, and it's not going to get any better (though we can slow it down with a kidney-friendly diet). The good news is that dogs generally live for two years after being diagnosed with early kidney failure, so the vet thinks Henry probably has 2 1/2 to 3 years left. Then again, the final stages are going to be full of tumors, nausea and shivering. Why are bodies such an asshole? I was counting on having Henry around til he was 12; now he likely won't even see 10. Eat a dick, bodies!

Actually flowers probably are happy today, knowing that Henry won't be around to pee on them much longer. Fuck you, flowers!

So because I'm in such a great mood, let's talk about this Happy Flowers album.

The children are less disturbed but much angrier this time around, screaming "Stop Touching My Food!" "I Said I Wanna Watch Cartoons!" "I Don't Wanna Go To School!" "I Don't Want A Happy Meal - I Want An ANGRY Meal!" "Let Me Out!" I Want A BB Gun And A Glass Eye!" and "Let's Eat The Baby!" before destroying the brain of an infant, claiming that their evil twin did it, and closing with a Yoko Ono cover.

Speaking of the word 'cover,' I keep forgetting to tell you about Happy Flowers' packaging. In addition to a detailed run-down of who plays what on each song (in this case revealing that Mr. Horribly-Charred-Infant somehow plays both bass and guitar in the overdub-free "I Said I Wanna Watch Cartoons"), they like to include scrawled drawings and violent, hilarious 'fun activities' for children. The Oof inner sleeve invites kids to "CRUSH YOUR OWN SKULL IN JUST MINUTES!" with a product called Acme Krush-A-Skull(TM) ("Look years younger!"), as well as providing a handy checklist detailing how to fix a car ("1. Take out the engine. 2. Smash the windows. 3. Set it on fire."). Yes, it's always time to learn when asdfjhl;

"BB Gun" is one of the meanest metal-rockers in the Happy Flowers discography, "Ain't Got Nothin'" is a child's talking blooze anthem ("Ain't got nothin' but a bunch of coloring books that I can't even color in the lines..."), "Let Me Out" features two live yellversations between a redneck father and his locked-in-room son (played at the same time in separate speakers), and "I Said I Wanna Watch Cartoons" speeds up the men's voices so they even sound like screaming little brats! All the other songs are noise and rudimentary penises.

I'm too sad to talk about this. It's the only part of their discography that doesn't represent a giant leap in artistic quality from what came before, but it's still on a par with My Skin Covers My Body. There are some interesting minimalist distorted bass lines, some high-pitched keyboard here and there, drum splbaplping and guitar noise. Here are some lyrics, that'll cheer me up:

From "Unhappy Meal": "I know where I can buy guns at SCHOOL! And YOU CAN'T STOP ME!!!"

From "Pickin' Scabs": "It's nice and spongy and red!"

From "There's A Soft Spot On The Baby's Head": "So I took my thumb and pushed it in a little bit, and a little bit more - Wow! My thumb will go almost all the way into the baby's head! Then the baby started acting a little bit different...."

From "I Said I Wanna Watch Cartoons": "I ALREADY MISSED THE SMURFS!!!!"

From "Let's Eat The Baby (Like My Gerbils Did)": "I have to eat chicken every night because it's cheap. Why can't we eat the baby 'cuz it's free!?"

The only psychologically disturbing song this time around is "Finger In My Crackerjacks(TM)," a discovery that leads our panicked, horrified narrator to exclaim, "Should I take it back to the store? Who would I tell!? They'd never believe me! They'd think I put it in there!!! THEY'D PUT ME IN JAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

My dog's going to get sick and die. I love him so much.

Reader Comments

Wo, thanks for reviewing these guys! I downloaded I Crush Bozo last night and found it to be really funny, fucked up and pretty entertaining. They're like the comedic Flipper!

Oh sorry to hear about your dog, man, that sucks.

Can somebody PEASE re-issue this CD????

The original is now selling for 200 quid ($350 usd).

Please....before I download a naughty copy.....I always try to avoid doing that, but, when the price gets this SILLY, I really do not see any other alternative....

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Too Many Bunnies (Not Enough Mittens) - Homestead 1989
Rating = 8

Sorry about that. I realize 2 1/2 to 3 years is a long time; I was just very sad about it when I wrote that review. But I took a little vacation and now I'm back and life must continue. For both myself and the Happy Flowers. And you.

Say, if you're in the market for some pretty funny short videos and fake movie trailers, go to Google Video and type in "Corn Pone Flicks." I know these people and they make me laugh. My favorites are "A Christian Conversion (And Subsequent Murder)," "A Highly Moral Tale," "Jar Of Screaming Blood," "The Phone," "Signs (Of A Gullible-Ass Public)," "Dig Dug: The Movie," "Pong," "Twister II" and "In The Realm Of The Ants." They're all very short too, so try a few, then come back here for more great reviews from Mark "Roger Ebert" Siskel.

Too Many Bunnies is a compilation featuring 6 songs from I Crush Bozo, 4 each from Oof and My Skin Covers My Body, 3 from Now We Are Six, 2 from the Wire Brush 7", 1 each from Songs For Children and the BB Gun 7", and 5 rarities from here and there. It's impossible to justify the inclusion of two different versions of the unlistenable hellhole "Mom, I Gave The Cat Some Acid," but otherwise this is an excellent distillation of the noise, rock and humor that make Happy Flowers such a provider of Flappy Hours ("flappy" = "like a bird flapping its wings happily, because it's happy"). And you're in luck, because there's a copy on Amazon right now for only $20.88! Hurry! Hurry down to the bottom of the page, click on the "Buy things whatever" link and buy it!

Lordy knows I've already gone into grave detail about such legendary classics included here as "More Mittens," "Left Behind," "I'm The Stupid One," "Jenny Tried To Kiss Me At Recess," "BB Gun," "Stop Touching My Food," "Not Fade Away," "I've Got The Picnic Disease," "I Said I Wanna Watch Cartoons," "Know," "Fever Dream," "I'm Gonna Have A Accident" and "Why Didn't You Tell Me You Were Bringing Home A Baby," so let's discuss a few of the rarer songs aboard, those of whose existence I've not yet brought to your attention thus far inside these reviews inclusive.

1. "Bobby Made Me Eat A Frog" - This brings up an excellent point. Nobody ever discusses the strange manner in which Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly-Charred-Infant will often portray the exact same role in a song. Sometimes this can be written off as 'two young boys sharing the same experience,' but in this one, the two men exchange lines that should by all accounts be stated by only one child. Bobby did not make two children eat a frog. He made ONE eat a frog. Yet this one boy has two voices! How to reconcile with what we know about the speaking organs of a human male body?

2. "Just Wait Till I'm Bigger Than You" - "We'll see who gives out the spankings!"

3. "I Want My Tooth Back" - A child loses his first tooth and becomes frightened that he will lose them all. A sample of a child coughing or something is utilized wholeheartedly, along with distorted delayed bass slaps, guitar static noise, feedback, fake drums and an ugly guitar harmonic.

4. "Charlie Got A Haircut" - HILARIOUS!!! Mr. HCI taunts Mr. "Charlie" Anus about his new haircut, to which the Anus responds, "I think it looks nice and so does my Mom!" His later retorts stress violent reprisal.

5. "I Don't Need Another Enema" - "NO! KEEP THAT THING OUT OF MY BUTT!"

6. "Wire Brush" - This is the 7" version, not the popular LP version from I Crush Bozo. You can actually hear the guitar chords in this version! And it's catchy? (It is catchy; I just used a question mark there because I was tired of exclamation points)

7. "I Crush Bozo" - Previously available only as a bonus track on the non-LP versions of I Crush Bozo and, speaking as an LP owner, thank goodness for small favors. Heavy noisy tedious blooze-rock with a three-word lyric.

Other rare songs they might have considered including but didn't are "All I Got Were Clothes For Christmas," "Colors In The Rain," "Don't Make Me Eat It," and "I Wish I Was Adopted." Perhaps we should assume these tracks simply aren't up to snuff? Which brings up an interesting point about the dictionary, and words. May we assume by the phrase "not up to snuff" that the word "snuff" is a synonym for "high quality"? And if so, why is everybody so down on "Snuff" films? That's my opinion in life.

Here's a great anecdote I heard over the weekend. I've never seen this commercial, but apparently a few years ago McDonald's had a TV commercial in which a young African-American male drives through a McDonald's drive-thru and says, "Hook me up, dog!" The McDonald's chef responds by preparing some big exciting burger to its normal specifications. But see, because the advertised burger is so large and filled with taste, the guy at the drive-thru thinks that the McDonald's staff has, in fact, "hooked him up" with a larger, more extravagant burger than most people receive. That's the background. Here's the actual anecdote:

My friend Christian Smith has an Uncle - a clean-cut white man who wears glasses and works at NASA. One day during the period McDonald's was airing its "Hook me up, dog" commercial, the Uncle walked into a local McDonald's for a fine upstanding meal, ordered his food, and then joked to the cashier, "Hook me up.... Dog!" The confused cashier then slowly looked him up and down, looked to his left and right...

and went and got him an extra bag of fries.


That's all it takes!? As Christian put it, "I guess the cashier figured, 'Well, he knows his slang....'"

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Lasterday I Was Been Bad - Homestead 1990
Rating = 8

Amazingly, Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly-Charred-Infant actually have real names. HCI was born John "Drinks A Lot Of" Beers, and Anus is Charlie "I Wish That Guy Who Shouted 'He's A Nigger He's A Nigger He's A Nigger' In The Comedy Club Hadn't Once Portrayed A Television Character Named" Kramer. Apparently at some point when Mr. Beers was a young boy, he said aloud to his parents, "Lasterday I Was Been Bad." Thus, this album.

But first, let's talk about penises. The funny thing about a penis is that when you insert a tube in the little hole at the tip and start pumping in gallon after galloon of popcorn butter, it's just a m

For their final farewell foray into the studio, Happy Flowers decided to can the noise and play actual music for once in their goddamned lives. Mean '70s-style metal, grunge and hard rock are on tap today at the music bar*, with 6 of these 14 tracks performed as a full real-sounding TRIO**! And yes, it's these tracks (mostly featuring Prisonshake/My Dad Is Dead drummer Scott Pickering on ass-kicking drums) that will bang your head the hardest, but the duo tracks are much more tuneful as well. Not that you'd suspect this from the hilarious a-musical lead track "We Rock" -- highlighted by drummer Mr. Anus shouting "You think that's fast? I can play faster than that!!" three times in a row while steadily increasing his BPMs until they become an out of control mess of garbage.

The only problem with their new vision is that the increased focus on riffage is concurrent with an apparent loss of interest in the lyrical/vocal arts. Most of the vocals are buried, and those you can hear generally aren't that clever, funny or even interesting. Anus and HCI are still playing the roles of children, but familiar-sounding song titles like "I Don't Want To Share," "I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Stuff" and "If This Gun Were Real, I Could Shoot You And Sleep In The Big Bed With Mommy" fail to develop much past their titles, let alone into the uproarious absurdity and full-bore screaming that used to be this duo's bread and butthole. You hear me? "Bread and Butthole"! I can't stop laughing at this award-winning play-on-words.

So yes, the lyrics are disappointing. But luckily, the riffs tear a new asshole out of your pre-existing asshole, by peeling a thin layer of skin from the circumference of the anus, removing a lengthwise sliver, and taping the remainder together to create a second, smaller butthole right in the middle of the original, larger butthole. Rubber cement can be used to harden the new butthole and hold it in place.

You know what? I aint doin nothin. Why don't I give a brief description of every song on the record?

In addition to the awesome full-band headbang metal of "Leave Me Alone," "Call Me Pudge," "Simon" and "If This Gun Were Real," Lasterday brings you one jar each of Skanky Skronk Bitterness ("Not A Happy Birthday"), Dumb Doodly Noise-Music ("I Don't Want To Share"), Dark Downbeat Rifferness ("I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Stuff") and Eerie Echoed Macabre ("Pull Off Its Head"). Furthermore, the album includes TWO instrumentals (emotional Wipersy "Embryo" and jaw-dropping sitar/tabla "Mr. Fuck") and THREE cover tunes (UFO, Big Star, Silver Apples). It comes in an album cover.

Yesterday I Behaved Naughtily is a very good independent hard rock/metal/grunge/noise record. However, I hesitate to recommend it as a 'first Happy Flowers purchase' because, as unique as it is, it's still not anywhere NEAR as idiosyncratic as its predecessors. Yes, nobody else sounds quite like this -- but nobody else sounds or would even WANT to sound as fucked up and busted as Oof, I Crush Bozo or My Skin Covers My Body. Just ask Ronald McDonald of McDonald's***, the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 30,000 local restaurants in more than 100 countries - and home of Ronald McDonald!

* - not affiliated with Record Bar
** - not affiliated with the band TRIO
*** - not affiliated with McDonald's

Reader Comments

kgm2@geneseo.edu (Kyle)

I am very drunk right now, but let me just add the first comment on your Happy Flowers page, in saying that "Lasterday I Was Been Bad" is one of my favorite albums of all time. Seriously. I remember being the only person to vote for it in the 2005 reader poll. Why didn't I vote for it this year?! What happened? I DON'T KNOW!

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Flowers On 45: The Homestead Singles - Homestead 1992
Rating = 6

It is this writer's opinion that this author has been having trouble staying awake at work lately. This reviewer has quite literally fallen fast to sleep in the middle of crafting important work sentences, resulting in such questionable client memo verbiage as (and this is REAL, from an unfortunate slumbering incident this fellow experienced earlier today) "We will keep you ingormed f additional poooooooooooooooooooooooooo". This critic is of the opinion that this publicist's client likely has no interest in being kept up to date on anybody's poooooooooooooooooooooooooo, let alone 'ingormed' of such. However, on the plus side, yours truly thinks that The Royal We have found the culprit, the motive and the explanation behind this man's recent work-hour extended eye closures. It's the G--D----- Diet Root Beer!

You know how some people drink milk, coffee or OJ (Simpson's tears, at the unfortunate loss of his beloved wife) in the morning to get a bright cheery launch on a brand new day? Well, I'm no different from other Americans, excepting that I prefer diet cola. Every morning for years and years, I've started the work day with a hefty caffeinated bag of Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper or whatever else today's top food scientists have come up with for my purchasing enjoyment. Starting about two weeks ago, my local grocer began stocking A&W brand Diet Root Beer -- a coup fit for a King, to my ears! Unfortunately, it wasn't until today's morning that I noticed this important brown notice printed above the can's nutritional information: "Caffeine Free." UP YOUR ASS, A&W!!! How am I supposed to stay awake during my occupation job???? So I've begun abusing amphetamines.

You know what's neat? Listening to songs wrong. For example, I've been listening to The Fall's "Dr. Faustus" as an uptempo backbeat-driven song for the past 14 years, when it's very clearly intended as a midtempo downbeat-driven number. But screw their intentions; when I pretend that the 1st and 3rd beats are actually the 2nd and 4th beats, the song kicks my ass! Can't my mind emphasize whatever beats it would like? I think so. I do the same for The Fall's "Slags, Slates, Etc." even though that's even more obviously a downbeat. Call me "Guy Who Prefers Speedy Punk Rock To Thump-Thump-Thump Boredom" if you must, but it's my ears and I'm going to use it!

Flowers On 45 is a compilation of Happy Flowers' four Homestead singles, along with previously unreleased live tracks, outtakes, and a dozen songs from Beers' and Kramer's pre-HF projects.

One second: I just received an important email about Penis Enlarge Patch RX, inviting me to "Be ready to any unrestrained imagination!" I may just have to do that.

But first, let me briefly review each of these four singles individually.

1. "They Cleaned My Cut Out With A Wire Brush"/"Just Wait Till I'm Bigger Than You"/"My Mother Is A Fish" - Side A screams hit single, of course, with its seering, seething metal riff. Track 2 is sludgy and decent, and #3 features a post-traumatic child screaming that his recently-deceased mother has been reincarnated as the next family meal ("They all think she's dead but they're WRONG!!!!") The guitar echoes and swirls, the distorted-to-hell organ bleats noisily, and the drums rest in the back of the room, unused. This single earns a 7 out of 10. Tracks 2 and 3 are okay but seem underwritten, even by Happy Flowers standards, which are really quite low.

2. "BB Gun"/"Charlie Got A Haircut"/"I Ate Something Out Of The Medicine Cabinet" - A near-perfect single and the best that they ever released. As I stated previously, "BB Gun" kicks some major-league headbanging aske and "Charlie Got A Haircut" is hilarious, but the real find here is the unbelievably laugh-out-loud ridiculous final track, in which a catchy lil' bass line joins trebly bendy guitar chords behind a little boy experiencing some psychedelic difficulties due to an ill-advised culinary decision. Lyrical highlights include "I'd eat something, but everything is moving around in the fridge!," "Oh, now I'm throwing up.... BUT I'M THROWING UP GOBS OF GREEN PLASTIC SPIDERS AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! THE SPIDERS ARE EATING ME!!!!" and "OH MY GOD! THERE'S A LIZARD COVERED IN BLOOD IN THE FRONT YARD!!!! OHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" An easy 10 out of 10.

3. "Call Me Pudge"/"Call Me Pudge (Live)"/"German Folk Song (Live)" - Track one kicks as much metallic ass as their last two A-sides, but tracks 2 and 3 simply (and probably intentionally) highlight what an inept live act they (apparently) were. I'd still give it a 5 out of 10 though.

4. Peel Sessions! Five tracks here, including a Weird Paul composition, a pointless German inside joke, a nice dose of slow angry sludge-metal, and two of the dumbest yet most hilariousest HF performances yet to be captured on tape -- "I Dropped My Ice Cream Cone," which finds a clumsy Mr. Anus performing the title action twice in succession and screaming hysterically both times; and "These Peas Are So Green," which is surely a Nirvana put-on of some sort. This single gets a 7 out of 10.

The singles thus complete, Anus and HCI dig up 9 more joys and atrocities from Flower Yesteryear, including: FOUR hideous cover tunes: an accurate and lovely performance of Nazareth's "Love Hurts" guitar solo followed by a miserably atonal, off-key attempt at a verse; DRI's "Reaganomics" reconsidered as opera de concrete; a Beatles song they don't know the words or music to; and an Echo & The Bunnymen song they've never even heard

TWO Lasterday outtakes: a terrible My Dad Is Dead song; and the dark, loop-driven "Hitting," which has no excuse for being left off the album

ONE Oof outtake, in which the boys yell at each other with contact mics taped to their necks. Melodies not included.

ONE early version of "BB Gun," recorded before they'd written any words or music for it

ONE final recording session -- a funky-bass 'dance song' layered with dozens of disparate vocals, samples, screams, loud electronic noises and the "Boogie!" sample from Brownsville Station's "Kings Of The Party." Interesting!

Other rare tracks that they might have considered including are "Make The Cat Stop Talking" and "So What."

If they'd stuck to either just the singles, or even the 23 total Happy Flowers tracks outlined above, Flowers On 45 would easily earn a 7. But most of their pre-Happy Flowers work is just AWFUL! The Charlie Cramer band imitates Motorhead; Beers' Lowest Common Denominator amateurishly dicks around with tapedeck feedback, reverb and college DJ (nerd) lyrics to embarrassing effect ("Joe Hates Work" is not only my least favorite track to ever appear on a Happy Flowers release, but indeed my least favorite track ever recorded since the Dawn of Time of History); Beers' Psychodelic Trashcan performs bad lo-fi keyboard childsplay; and Beers/Kramer's Bigfoot stinks up the joint with four awful fake-Swedish avant-garde industrial numbers (in which the most musical instrument is a push-button phone). Finally, after these seven stinking rotten eggs, The Landlords close the release with five terrific, odd, arty hardcore songs.

Oh, did I mention The Landlords? Happy Flowers was a side project of The Landlords.

Reader Comments

Based on the description alone, this band sounds more disturbing than Swans any day.

I mean, this is just creepy.

MrHCIHF@aol.com (Mr. Horribly-Charred-Infant)
Oh, man . . . that was beautiful!

A few notes:

I forgot about the line about the baby in the pickle jar in the original version of "Mom & Dad . . ." That came from a nightmare. I dreamt I walked into the kitchen to discover the maid had put my baby sister in a huge pickle jar for some unknown reason. It was horrifying.

There are three harmonics in "The Sun that Burns" (or, at least, the "riff" was a sequence of three but there was a ton of delay on my guitar so maybe you thought it was two).

The piano on "Toenail Fear" was actually my attempt at poorly imitating Thelonious Monk rather than Tom Waits.

There is no CD version of "I Crush Bozo," just vinyl and cassette.

I hope your dog isn't in too much pain.

The guitar static noise on "I Want My Tooth Back" was a guitar with all the strings pulled off played by scraping a wire brush up and down the neck and across the pickups. The final time that song was played live, the guitar was smashed to pieces. Lee Ranaldo then gave us a Sonic Youth guitar to smash for our next song, as we were opening for them.

We didn't include "All I Got Was Clothes . . ." and "Colors in the Rain" on "Too Many Bunnies" as they were supposed to be exclusive to "Gods Favorite Dog" and it was still available at that point. Also, "Human Music" came out right around the same time, I think, and it would've been silly to have it in two spots so close together. Besides, HM was supposed to be all previously unreleased or at least rare stuff.

Root beer is not supposed to have caffeine in it. Barq's is FALSE!

The title "My Mother Is a Fish" is the entire content of one chapter of "As I Lay Dying" by Wm. Faulkner. Southern bands in the 80s who did not reference Faulkner at least once were subject to heavy fines.

"Everything looks so beautiful; these peas are so green!" was a bizarre statement made at the dinner table one Thanksgiving by a rather odd friend of my mother's from her college days.

Bigfoot was Landlords bassist Eddie Jetlag and me. Charlie did guest on a track or two, though, as part of our back-up band, The Legend of Boggy Creek, a movie shot in my hometown of Shreveport, LA yet I have yet to see it. Whoa! I just checked NetFlix and it's finally on DVD and now at the top of my queue!

(a month later)

So the DVD of "The Legend of Boggy Creek" arrived in the mail and I watched it and it was just terrible. Not even fun terrible, just plain terrible. Oh, well. C'est la vie.

Hey Mark, just read your Happy Flowers reviews. Only hard a few songs, but you have to love that band. They hit child fears and feelings and nail it on the head in a hilarious loud fashion. Wish I could find their albums anywhere instead of just downloading them. If they want, I can pretend I am a super-awesome professional music critic like you and they can send some cds my way, ahem ahem. Mr. Horribly Charred Infant's vocals are hilarious.

Also a hint, if you havn't heard of Wesley Willis you'd enjoy his retard-filled songs as well. Well, some of them. I find half of them to be hilarious and brilliant and the other half to be too repetetive and nonsense.

Thanks for writing about these guys. I remember seeing them (Landlords) and Traxx and (Happy Flowers) and C&O I think when it still had a bar. I love the Landlords album and hope to bring out the turntable again to play "Let's be negative!"

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