I don't really expect anyone to give a crap, but here's how the whole thing started: Christian Burns Smith and I were driving along a deserted back road in our lovely hometown of Norcross, GA in November 1989 when I suddenly spotted a flier on a telephone pole that read "Armed Forces." I turned to my good friend Christian and asked, "Armed Forces - Is that a band?" Christian replied, "Yeah, I think so." So we continued to drive along aforementioned deserted back road in our lovely hometown of Norcross, GA when, lo and behold, I spotted a second sign - this one, perched in front of a house or some crap, read, "Iris Daylillies Hosta." Knowing full well that the sign belonged to some old entrepreneur bag trying to peddle off three different types of flowers, I nevertheless decided to demonstrate my hilarious droll wit by turning to my good friend Christian and asking, "Iris Daylillies - Is that a band?" Christian, a fellow advocate of wry droll wit, chuckled heartily and responded, "Yeah, I think so."
And thus began our journey. It started as just a joke. We started discussing how a band called the Iris Daylillies ("daylilies" was misspelled on the sign, so we followed suit) might be able to separate itself from the crowd (wearing petals around their heads, adopting the slogan "We put the petal back in metal!") when the concept somehow started to seem like a valid goal. A short time later, I invited him to my house to record some of my Dead Kennedys/Ramones rip-offs with me. I had been making tapes of my songs since the ripe old age of ten, but they all blew except for Electroencephalography, Signs That Say Stop, and parts of Yoko's A Chink, so I was excited by the prospect of having a musical partner.
As it turned out, he couldn't sing any better than I could, but I still enjoyed hearing his voice on the playback so, inspired by the dangerously complimental response that I received from the few companions whom I forced to sit through our first four songs ("Cute Surgeon," "Batman Shit," "Let's Traipse," and our classic, "Stereoness"), I dragged some other friends into the mix, including Chris Noble, who had added his rudimentary bass skills to my downright lousy guitarwork in our cleverly-titled project, The Beatless. And we set to work recording a nearly-unlistenable ninety-minute collection of lo-fi punk inside jokes that we called Hosta just so the title would match the album cover (a picture of us standing in front of the immortal sign).
Oh, I forgot the important part. Near the beginning of side two, we picked up a second guitarist; although Mr. Matthew Terrebonne was only thirteen years old at the time, he was already about sixty-two billion times better than I was. But that's how life goes sometimes. So I kept writing stupid offensive songs like "I Crapped On Monday" and "People With Long Hair Screw Dead People" (a strange sentiment considering that I myself was a budding longhair), we kept inviting friends over to make lots of noise, and finally we had filled up another 90-minute Maxell cassette which my mother entitled Another Filthy Album.
Oh, I forgot the important part. Near the end of side two, we discovered stereophonic sound and it changed our lives forever. No more would we be just another muddy monophonic hardcore joke band. No sir, now you could actually hear BOTH guitars at all times! Wild, wild stuff. [technical note from Christian - Well, we used two microphones and a tape deck. We created a sort of pseudo-stereo generated by placing the microphones apart from each other in the room.] This is boring. You don't give a crap about this. But anyway, we fell in love with the idea of being in a band. We made our own tee-shirts, we wrote "Iris Daylillies Rule" everywhere we could, we had our own little outfits, we bragged about ourselves constantly, we lent tapes to friends, we made videos for school projects - oh, it was a wonderful time in my youth. We faked contempt for everything and everybody. It was hilarious.
But things were looking grim, mister. Soon after we finished Hybrid, which everyone agreed was our best album thus far, that bastard Christian (who still couldn't sing for crap but was nevertheless funnier than you can even imagine) left for college!!!!!! Matt and I renamed the band Low-Maintenance Perennials ('cause that's what daylilies are, see), added fake drums, and tried to think positively about the future, but all of our friends had lost interest and our songs seemed so dull and lifeless without our former vocalist's bile and charm. We were seriously considering throwing in the towel on the whole mess when, all of a sudden, Christian made it clear that he would be willing to return home every weekend to concentrate on the music! Our youths were saved!!!! We even managed to get our friends interested again for a couple of decent tapes until, out of the blue on the wings of a dove, our musical universe was altered forever.
Christian had saved up his scholarship money and bought a five-track mixer. [technical note from Christian - This was actually a five-track Radio Shack PA that I bought for real cheap. This is the device that burnt Mark's first amp (during the recording of "Blood Comet Rhapsody," an early psychedelic track that was later resurrected for Stupid Is Such A Broad Term). By the time we started the album that would become Work Bench Drawer, I had learned how to use it, which is why we didn't burn Mark's amp again. It's also why the guitars aren't quite as loud and crunchy as, say, "Reactions To An Elephant In My Head," which was actually also a pre-Work Bench Drawer track recorded by an improvisational Lump side project called Sonic Butthole Dozer.]
And we wasted no time getting started on the first of our seven or eight classic cassette-only releases, Work Bench Drawer.
Well, they're classic to me, dammit.
PLEASE NOTE: As of August 1998, all of the following tapes have been transferred onto CD. By deleting the weakest 20 minutes of each tape, we have created stronger, tighter CDs. At least, we like to claim so!!! If you're interested in hearing what we sound like, you can buy any of our 74-minute CDs direct from me for only 4 bucks (just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). Not a bad deal, I'd say!!! Of course, I'm in the freaking band, so I would say that, wouldn't I.... Hmm. Still. It's not like you're gonna miss four damn dollars. Cheapass.
Work Bench Drawer - Maxell 1991.
It's still an awfully fun little tape, though. Most of the songs are short (fourteen of the fifty-four songs don't even reach the one-minute mark), a few are serious (and seriously lousy), and a number of them are kinda parodies of already-established forms of music ("A Horsefly Flew Out Of My...Well, You Know" lightly mocks 2-Live Crew's X-rated rap, "I'd Sell My Soul To Satan For A Bowl Of Boiled Poop" weakly slaps at death metal, "The Ships Is A-Comin' Down The River Of Freedom" directs its bitter ire at slave songs, for no clear reason, even to me, and I wrote the damn thing). Pretty entertaining stuff, if you can deal with the idiosyncratic sound - that being the fake drums and lack of bass. Granted, the guitar tones are pretty heavy on this one, so the basslessness really isn't that big a deal, but some people just aren't sophisticated to deal with the idea of a half-band rockin' the town down. Some people. What do they know??????
So this was our debut, as far as the world need be concerned. Ninety minutes of bad humor. And I'm man enough to admit that. We laughed at our own jokes too often, we thought we were far more clever than we actually were, and we often reached way way past the border of bad taste (For instance, my statement at the beginning of "Merry Christmas (Peace On Earth)" that "I'd like to say 'Merry Christmas' to Pete Townshend and Rock Hudson because one's a dead fag and the other one should be." Yes, I was joking, but there was absolutely no reason for any outside listener to know that I was. It wasn't ironic; it was tasteless and stupid. There's lots of crap like that on there, but we were in high school, for Pete's sake!!! What did we know about humor?).
Still, some of it's hilarious. The bizarre fairy tale "Brickman And The Legend Of The Chinese Cobbler," for example, still cracks me up every time I put it in me tapedeck. The profanity celebration "Who Didn't Put The Bomp In The Nipdanipdanip?" is awfully entertaining, too. So, the lyrics DO have their moments. But that's not the tape's real appeal. That would be the melodies. I love these melodies. A mixture of Beatlesque pop, Ramones punk, Butthole Surfers noise, Dead Milkmen twankle, Danzig metal, and Prindle incompetence, the ones that don't aspire to parody really really stand out. Matt was influenced by Killdozer and The Swans at the time, and it shows with a punch of sleazyslow goodness in dirges like "Industrial Blow" and "Integrals Involving ax(squared)+bx+c Stole My Aardvark's Girlfriend." And me? Well, I've always liked to play as fast as possible, but I was willing to slow down just enough to write moody, gripping minor-key beauties like "...And Cars Whizz By" and "Toss Me A Two-Slit Interference Pattern From The Roof Of The Rod Stewart Building." Oh man, the memories.
So that's how we began; when we tried to be funny, we (for the most part) weren't, but when we tried to make good creative music, we did it, main, we did it. However, we also committed our patented cardinal sin for the very first time (it would be repeated....); we ran out of patience and material, but insisted on filling up all ninety minutes of the tape anyway, here by cramming on twenty minutes of dreadfully recorded "Lump-With-A-Real-Drummer" crap that reduces us to the kind of tinny garage band shit that we'd always hated. Mistake. Mistake. [technical note from Christian - The last twenty minutes of Work Bench Drawer (also known as "The Brendan Session") were recorded on a stereo deck, but the mikes were very close to each other, so it sounds near-mono.] But oooh, the rest of the album is fantazmo! I'll give it an eight. There are certain people in this world (about five of them) who consider this to be our classic. I disagree with this sentiment, but I still really like most of it - except when we actually try to SING; my, but we just couldn't sing at all.
Mind you, we have such an immense body of work that far too much
of it is crappy croppy cruppy. Maybe our modus operadandy is the reason:
1. Pick the lyrics we'll do next. (Time: 20 seconds)
2. Write a riff. (Time: 1 minute)
3. Figure what to play with it. (Time: 45 seconds)
4. You've got to hit record.
5. You've got a hit record!
But we also have such an immense body o' thing that many songs are quite good. Had we decided early on to cut the dreck, we'd've ended up with much shorter but actually really good "albums." That's what I go on when rating us, not totally the final product but also the consistency of interesting ideas spewed throughout our back catalog.
As for that "bone-crushing guitar" that Jim Hull mentions: I'd like to take a little credit for that. Oh sure, the pedal youse guys pick and the way y'all play have something to do with that. But it's a serious mission on my part: World's Loudest Songs. If it doesn't drill holes in concrete, it ain't rock'n'roll. So even though I don't dislike reverb as reverb, Matt's reverby preference makes it harder to crank up the volume.
My desire for loudness causes one of the complaints everybody has about the LuMP: the drums are too quiet. It makes it a lot less easy to follow when there's no beat. And all apologies to Elma, but dammit, I wanna hear GUITAR! Loads of it! I want the gushing torrent of distortion to subsume all in its path, providing a sea of sound where the drums churn like a distant submarine prop and the vocals are flashes of brightness amidst the crashing spume! Guitar me out!
Mind you, when we actually vary this eardrum-buzz attack we usually end up with pretty great melodies like "Two-Slit Interference Pattern." And at this point in our career, the "loud guitars" weren't really all that loud. Just crunchy.
Now, let me tell you one thing or another. That wacky Mr. Terrebonne can play a mean delay pedal. We use this capacity to the fullest on "Yam City." Hippy-hurting hatred, he can conjure ultimate melancholia out of that thing! Screaming hordes of dying children echo hauntingly through this tune. Makes me want to kill myself. And by "myself," I mean "Billy Corgan."
Too few good lyrical ideas on this album. My personal take is thus: when you try to write a joke song, you fail and we get boring chuckleless profanity. When you just write a weird situation, and let it build by itself, we get success. As predictable as it is though, the "Horsefly" set still makes me smile.
Actually, I didn't much enjoy this album upon my most recent listen. There are a few standout numbers (despite that we laugh at our own jokes, we actually do sound pretty funny at the beginning of "Merry Christmas," especially considering we were making it up as we went) but which one of us decided we should start the thing with "Moslem in My Fridge?" It was me, wasn't it? Christ, why? I HATE that song! Dumb lyrics, dumb approach, predictable arrangement, aargh sucky hell it sounds like stupid teenagers! It's nearly as bad as "Give Peace a Knuckle Sandwich," whose most sublime moment of inspiration is the title.
Crackly-pop guitar tone throughout helps, but most of the "singing" is just pathetic. We don't even try to do funny voices much. You sort of yodel above your range, Matt mumbles below his, and there's a pickleload of me just plain damn talking. We had done something like 600 songs by this point, almost eight hours of material! Hadn't we learned a goddamn thing?! I shudder to think what I'd experience if I listened to the ID stuff again!
What did I like? Well, the swishy thick guitar of "Tricks in Bill's Magic Book" is certainly soothing, and "Who Didn't Put the Bomp?" sounds like the sort of experiment we wouldn't try again until Tamara. Both are enjoyable listens, creative and catchy. The "calculus opera" has some good little melodies, and nice math-babble, but the surrounding talking bits are about as funny as Jackie Mason. And yet we manage to laugh at them, making us sound even stupider.
At the time, I wouldn't have known good lyrics if they crawled up my ass in the form of an evil snake. Singing either, me buckyball. But get hip to "Industrial Blow"'s guitars! Wow! They actually sound ominous and dark and loud and cool! I love the way they scrape out of existence at the end. How did we get such neat tones? We thought we'd known music, but we'd known nothing. I guess it's all that stupid Terrebonne's fault for listening to stuff other than punk. Bastard. Probably wouldn't understand me anyway.
Oh yeah, I also love how the verses in "Brickman" have absolutely no melody. In fact, there's so little melody it's like anti-melody. It is truly one of the grossest sounds ever put on tape, what with me clearing my throat and you superstrumming through the octave pedal.
Someone please tell me why I like "Tuba."
What numbskulls think this tape is classic? They are obviously insane in the membrane! The high points are few and far between, and side two--ouch! "Infinity=Infinity+One" is certainly boring. Even your guitar line, despite all the notes, just don't go anywhere. And my lyrics and delivery--double ouch!
The "Brendan Session" live stuff is just godawful. The only good thing about it is that there's a (really amazingly bad) version of "(We Must) Have Peace and Live Together." Matt's guitar line for that is zipdang good, and your lyrics are serious without being real stupid. Too bad we'd never get a good version on tape. I tried my damnedest on the Lost World remix EP, but.... Other than that feeble ray of light, the live stuff is a pit of limitless human feces. My lord, sound-in-a-box. And who the hell is that fucking spastic bastard playing the bass at the end? ME?! Shitfire! What scroat-sucking moron let ME pick up the bass?!
For those three of you reading this that haven't already heard the LuMP: Skip this one! Go straight to Condom? What Condom? and feel better about yourself in the morning.
Due to violent mood swings my album ratings change daily, but for right now, I think I'd be satisfied giving this thing a 6. Yes, a 6. I'm not gonna go easy on it just because it's us, and we were teenagers. Compared to, say, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, or Suicidal Tendencies, it's an uneven freshman effort. We continued to improve, but here we just toy around. For 90 minutes.
But holy jumping maybeans, those Crass bits make me laugh out loud! Out loud, I say!
"Stick your middle finger up in defiance" - Christian Smith
I think these two quotes can give you an idea of the 74-minute romp through the complicated, bizarre and quite possibly psychotic mind of The LuMP.
The first two tracks start out a little difficult to listen to, but then we get to track 3 - "A Horsefly Flew Out of My...," what comedic imaginative brilliance. Then there's Track 6 - "Tricks in Bill's Magic Book." This is the song that made me a fan of The LuMP f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It starts out with a demonically slowed down and delayed ping-pong effect, then the happy little drum machine kicks in and when the over-distorted guitars crunch in, you know you are about to embark on a short journey into evilness. As if that isn't enough, listen to the lyrics: "Then he noticed the title of his magic book was Satan's Demonic Spells - Children's Edition, Volume One." If that line doesn't get you, then nothing will. Track 7 - "Merry Christmas (Peace On Earth)" continues the evil mayhem. LuMP gives you such variety on this record. Do you like sing a-longs? How about Track 7 - "Give Peace A Knuckle Sandwich" - which includes references to a plethora of your favorite famous people and of course track 30 - "Jell-O, Iced Tea, And A Slab Of Fried Okra" - which comes complete with its own guitar solo! Are these guys politically correct? No, Hell no! And they love it and we love it too. Do you like distortion? Gorgeous distortion is contained herein... like Track 14 - "Correct My Drift And I'll Knock Your Teeth Out" or Track 16 - "Industrial Blow" - which contains the line: "Give big business head." Did you say bing-ma-gaff? Why yes I did. Buy the record and find out why. Are these guys just all about loud, raucous, distorted, punk-influenced rock 'n' roll? No, just listen to track 21 - "Overpass", track 36 - "...And Cars Whizz By," and track 42 - "Infinity = Infinity + One" and you will see the more introspective gentler side of The LuMP. Now don't be fooled by these songs because they'll come right back and kick your ass all over the place with a song like track 43 - "Twisting Owls Heads 'Til They Lop Off." Do you like the seventies? Sure we all do. Well then listen to track 24 - "Funky Overhead Projector." Christian actually had me believing he was a black man.
OVERALL RATING: 9, Why 9? because this is the album that first introduced me to The LuMP and the one that made me a fan forever! Buy it now!
The point is, regardless of where they’re from, too many modern rock bands spend their entire careers trying to pinpoint and hone a niche that they totally ripped off from somebody else. (Good as “Connection” is, Elastica is never going to get half the respect that Pink Flag has managed to retain). How refreshing, then, to see a band like Norcross’ own Löw-Maintenance Perennials trying to completely reverse the formula on their epic 1991 debut Work Bench Drawer, available via mail-order through guitarist Mark Prindle. There is without a doubt a viably rich cornucopia of inspiration to be found here—who the hell else would try something like the Ennio Morricone-meets-Barry White-from-hell-with-verbal-obscenities experiment of “Who Didn’t Put the Bomp in the Nipdanip?”—and yet the product here is so amazingly poor in quality, so ultimately uneven and insipid, it must have taken some pretty tenacious musical anarchy to streamline all those ideas into such a compact slab of stale poop. Still, rotten as Work Bench Drawer may be, this particular chunk of feces has, all in all, more attractive contours and attributes than one might expect.
I will admit: at first, still quite impressed by Prindle’s own excellent (seriously) solo album Keep On Zaccin’!, a slab of stale poop wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from the forever-adolescent mastermind’s first “serious” musical project, particularly not when it involved the killer guitar stylings and renowned comedic antics of Matt Terrebonne and Christ Burns-Smith, respectively. Hell, among most of the commentators on Prindle’s review site where the LuMP are spotlighted, Work Bench Drawer is a particular favorite out of the band’s seven albums. Yet, honestly, there is too much weak filler and too many failed excursions into foreign musical territory to warrant any kind of noteworthy rating. The opener, “Moslem in My Fridge”, is so horrific it stings, but there’s still hope in the acceptable “Spinning in a Nocturnal Infinity Peace Shower”, and after receiving a chuckle from the wry groove of “A Horsefly Flew Out of My…Well, You Know” and its classic “As Clean As They Wanna Be” counterpart, I was expecting a little bit more gold than that which I came across. Alas, when the celebrated “Tricks in Bill’s Magic Book” and even the promising “Yam City” failed to impress me—mere half-hearted joke songs, really, nothing like the peaks of solo Prindle—I knew I was dipping my toes into something a little more willingly difficult.
The deluge of weakness on the album rarely ceases its insistent flow throughout, what with the idiotic “Give Peace a Knuckle Sandwich” and the near-abominable “Calculus Opera” still leaving me with numerous (figurative) aural scars. Even the slightly propitious stuff, such as the sullen “Industrial Blow” and “…And Cars Whizz By”, and the caustic “Funky Overhead Projector” and “The Ships Is-A Comin’ Down the River of Freedom”, fail to completely deliver the goods they at first seem to possess. Nonetheless, some of this material isn’t just prestigious or inspired, it’s absolutely great. “Jello, Iced Tea, and a Slab of Fried Okra” is a real killer, unbeatable in its goal of providing the perfect, anthemic ode to the titular meal. The tinny production doesn’t affect this one too terribly, and I myself am I huge fan of the catchy, winning track. The closing dialogue between the band members (“Seasons Greetings From Three Guys Who Think They’re Awfully Funny”) proves that the group wasn’t entirely oblivious to the flaccid nature of many of their previous jokes. Meanwhile, “Overpass”, in what is probably the surprise of my critical career, is amazingly, authentically winsome and beautiful, the definite highlight of the album next to “Who Didn’t Put the Bomp?” and the first real classic in the LuMP canon. But everything else treads seriously water. Or beer, or piss; whichever you prefer.
In its own demented way, the truly definitive song on Work Bench Drawer is “Merry Christmas (Peace on Earth)”. Off-color, overtly parodic, pseudo-meaningful group harmonizing gives way to horrendously thin production, indulgently stupid lyrics, and an unremarkable but intriguing sense of total nonconformism, all of which culminates in the entire CD’s funniest lyrical couplet: “Merry Christmas/peace on earth/Santa isn’t real/and neither is God”. There’s some respectability to be earned by a band so uncaringly raucous that they bother to shatter every wide-eyed child’s entire belief system in the span of a second. Work Bench Drawer may not be a masterpiece—hell, it’s really not even very good—but if you can dig any of the aforementioned facets of “Merry Christmas”, then, dude, you gotta pick this shit up today.
RATING: * * (out of 5)
Condom? What Condom? - Maxell
Strangely, as stupid as the title and cover art are, this is the most serious album we ever made, which is to say that there are a surprisingly high percentage of serious songs mixed in with the "funny" ones. And why, you ask? Why are there so many serious songs on here? Well, because we pulled material from our old pre-five-track days to re-record, and our old serious songs were for some reason about sixty jillion times catchier than our silly ones. Just listen to the first twenty minutes of side two and you'll see what I mean; I hate to brag (that's a lie), but songs don't get much catchier than "Lost Cause," "Grey," "Nothing," and "Disheartening And Less." What? What? Oh yes, they do, Mark!!!! Haven't you heard "Harsh Words" and "(K)norbstortch" and "Top O' The Morning To You Whispered The Eccentric Yet Grandfatherly Train Conductor" and "Dots" and "Magnetize The Moon" and "Wink Wink Wink Said The Happy Old Farmer" and "Pass Me Some Of That Staphylococcus" and "Blinded By Principle" and, for Pete's sake, "Blacking Out During A Parcheesi Match"???????
Well, yes, I have. That's why I gave it an 8. This is the most consistently pleasing set of melodies (with the exception of the two mock-metal numbers, "Glenn Danzig Sings In My Church Choir" and "Blood For The Blood God," which suck in about sixty-two million different ways) that you're gonna run across today or any other day. I'm proud of them, darn it. We kept all the friends away and concentrated on getting good solid versions of our favorite old ID and LuMP songs, and, aside from the occasional mechanical mishap (for some reason, the guitars sound like vacuum cleaners for the first twenty minutes, then my distortion pedal broke and uhh.... well, you get the point), we succeeded. I'm very very unhappy with the manner in which I completely destroyed our twelve-minute epic "Stained Glass Football" by forgetting the rhythm after two minutes and then refusing to re-record it (Twelve minutes is a long time!!!! We were used to making up a song, rehearsing one verse and chorus, and then hitting "record"! No friggin' way was I gonna play "Stained Glass Football" again!!! No friggin' way!!!!!!), but most people don't even seem to notice.
"Most" meaning seven of the eight people who've ever heard it, that is.... This one is also surprisingly short on filler, unless you consider "Stained Glass Football" filler, in which case it's surprisingly chockfull of filler!!!! A goodie. We had no clue how to make our instruments sound the way we wanted them to (unfortunately), but at least we weren't laughing at our own jokes anymore. [technical note from Christian - I think that by this time Matt Terrebonne had gotten his 4-track mixer. (The difference between a PA and a mixer is that a mixer actually puts each track on a separate strip of the cassette. That means you don't get a final mix as you record, but you can go back later and remix the relative volumes. With a PA, you have to use a separate tape deck. You get finished product as you play, but you can't go back and change it.) I think we started using it, and then it was too slow for our tastes, so we switched back to my PA. I think. This is probably why the guitar sound changes partway in. I find it difficult to remember. I know that we were using the PA for side two, because I didn't have to mix "Stained Glass Football". That's why you can't hear Matt. There was nothing I could do about it.]
Very little truly offensive nonsense. Amazingly few bad vocals. And infectious, infectious, infectious!!!!!! Pick it up at a record store nowhere near you soon!
Anyway, on the Funny-meter: "Dots" scores, "Beethoven Fuckin' Rocks" made me groan...but see, they don't LINGER long enough for you to say, "Gosh-dang it! Why the hell do you think that's funny??!!" AND THAT'S THE REASON IT IS! "(K)norbstorch" is a pretty good song, too...I would've liked "...Green Velcro" more if not for the too obvious joke at the end...the "production" is pretty good for an album this early in the moppets' "career", too..."Retch Me Up A Cabbage, Fakir"...it's an 8 in my spiral binder...OHM!
p.s. (to Jim Hull) I'm glad you enjoyed "...Fakir."
Okay, yeah, given, the guitar tones at the beginning are a little more industrial than most people enjoy. Sounds like straining refrigerators with broken impellers routed through fifty distortion pedals and blown speakers--but in a good way. And it ain't that bad; after all, despite the guitarical condition, the melody for "Retch Me Up a Cabbage, Frank" remains a total classic.
On Condom, we are a punk rock/hard rock band, not an experimental noise collage group with punk roots. Just look at all those wicked songs: "Borp the 3-Headed Chicken," "Disheartening and Less," "Pass Me Some of That Staphylococcus," and for crying out against religious persecution, "Wink Wink Wink Said the Happy Old Farmer!" They swing, daddy-o! World's simplest backbeat and boogie-woogie distorto riffin'. How could we lose?
Easy. We could finish side two with a remarkable amount of filler (as per standard practice). Other than the chunkmuzzy guitar licks of "Phlegm," there's very little energy present in the last 15 minutes, and even fewer hot ideas. No, I'm not the one to go dissin' "Stained Glass Football," like ya expect me to. There's something to be said for such bombastic vocal interpretations of confused 'rock poetry' lyrics. The parts where Terrebonne's delay wankings are audible are bonus, especially the two choruses where it kicks in screaming on top of the distortion. But yes, Mark's off-rhythm strumming makes it sound like a rehearsal take. And mother of Christ, that fast middle eight needs to go. 'Needless' is the word for that day. Overall, the 70s prog-rock/punk fusion was a good idea badly executed.
My screaming had certainly improved, though. Instead of weak strained-larynx wails, you get unattractive evections of sound. The aforementioned "Wink Wink Wink" is a prime example, but how about that "Goshdarn It, I Tarnished My Schnauzer"? Huh? How about it, motherfucker?! And for sheer punk brilliance, no song we've ever written has topped "Blacking Out During A Parcheesi Match." I could eat that peach for hours.
I was pleasantly surprised by this album. I half-expected a humorless, joyless picnic in our back catalog, a lot like Stupid is Such a Broad Term. Instead, I got teenage energy levels and dashes of elementary-school humor. There's a reason that we started live sets with the triple-crusher of "Cute Surgeon," "Lawnmower," and "Blinded By Principle." Stupid? That says maybe, but oh baby they send me!
Heck, I even liked "Dunkin' Donuts." And as high schooly as the lyrics to "Ronald's Got a Chainsaw" are, the song's construction is nice, and it's short, dammit. Unlike that "Infinity=Infinity+One" debacle. And despite that I play the melody correctly about qty. 1 times, "(K)norbstortch" rocks my spine.
Oh, it isn't all bitches and C.R.E.A.M. I hated the living hell out of "Blood for the Blood God." Every man and his woman laughs at the superfluous Journey extracts which frame it. But only dorkass pansies (and dumb ones at that) think there's any idea here. We sound like clueless kids who don't know what music is. Or humor.
But youse other least favoritest moment, "Glenn Danzig Sings in My Church Choir," I don't find repulsive. This is truly a dismal version, on that we do agree (listen to that guitar--ickypugnacious!) but the song itself is just fine, I say. It's just so accurate to his style.
Okay, here's an anecdotal trip to tipperary. It's difficult for me to assign grades to the LuMP because they're so close to me heart. You know whereof I speak: critiques of one's own stuff tend to be nebulous and goofy. I'm not sure what causes this personal blindness, but here's an attempt at a theory:
Creation is an act of delineating certain patterns of thought within your brain. Then you create a modelled approximation in whatever your medium. It's never quite perfect, but you do your damnedest. The arbitrary connection of two distinct data sets is a facility your brain exercises regularly, and with great aplomb. But once you've set up these associative patterns, they stick. And so when you view art you've created art that was processed through the very same associative linkagesall you get is unity, a one-to-one correpsondence. That's the tautology of personal belief: what you thought is what you still think, and you can't tell where it diverges from the truth. After a while, though, you change, simply because the brain automatically collects stimuli. Unusual patterns, or things sprinkled with novelty, get stored as types against which later situations can be analogized. You change, and so eventually you are capable of seeing the missteps in your earlier work. If you're fortunate, you also get a new window on what is good.
That was too long and abstruse a way to say that I had totally forgotten that we ever recorded a song called "The Confluence of Worlds." So let me try again, and for brevity:
I had totally forgotten that we ever recorded a song called "The Confluence of Worlds."
As soon as it started, of course, I remembered all the nooks and crannies, the fjords, the invitingly open orifices, if you will. Oh, you won't, huh? Well I and my truncheon shall teach ye a thing or two, ye sonomabitch! But despite my instant familiarity, I think I nevertheless came to it with a relatively objective view. And I enjoyed it, dammit! So should we all. There's not even that vibratory overdriven guitar sludge, or any mention of "gooshy human discharge."
In light of my recent ecstatic reacquaintance with the album, I give Condom? What Condom? a solid eight records. Heck, chop out just a very tiny amount of deadwood and this thing would be a nine. Easy.
Oh what the fuck, as long as I'm being self-congratulatory and autonepotistic, I might as well make it obvious:
I give it a nine. The melodies rule, the filler's innocuous and sparse, and the guitars sound pretty damn clean after that first set of tunes. Harmonic-driven rockout fest of "Nothing!" Spyrock shuffle of "Mike Franklin!" Blissful minor-key angstbeauty of "Grey!" Oh sure, ding dang weakaboo vocals throughout. And a little too much in the way of 'politically conscious' drivel (my fault, I'm afraid.)
But on the enjoyability scale? An Everest of achievement for 18-year-olds. At its best, it's as catchy as all that radio poopola, but with an edge that makes it feel like real music and not cross-format focused for airplay success. Don't expect genius. But don't expect to be bored, either.
Yeah, a nine. I stand by my man.
On side one, things are just godlike until "Real Tall Watchtower" "Dicked Over By a Martian" is pure brilliance. Anyways, things pick up again after "Blood for the Blood God" and stay up until "Gosh Darn It, I Tarnished My Schnauzer".
On side two, "Lamp Man" made me laugh sporadically all day today, "Retch Me Up a Cabbage, Fakir" is funny only because of the "I would like to remind you that I had nothing to do with this" thing, "Don't Mess With the LuMP Pete" made little sense to me, but the line "I wanna listen to Engine, I wanna listen to the LuMP" made me laugh. On this side, most everything else is unworthy of mention.
All in all, there is some filler on this one, and the music is slightly less creative than on Work Bench Drawer, but most of it still comes through. I'd say this one merits a 7.
Personal favorites include:
Retch Me Up A Cabbage, Frank. Dicked Over By A Martian (the lyrics aren't great but the vocals are great!). Borp The 3 Headed Chicken (a good groove with weird subject matter). Mike Franklin (with some of the greatest lyrics I've ever heard. It sounds like the theme from a secret agent movie to me, I don't know why.) Dots. The "Truth" trilogy (The first one in particular has one of their greatest riffs, at least of the ones I've heard. This also seems like some kind of X-Files parody. But I don't think the X-Files was around back then.) Urgh! (It's so stupid, and it's 6 seconds long!) Top O' The Morning To You... (more great vocals.) Retch Me Up A Cabbage Fakir (Just the fact that it's a LuMP song redone as an Indian chant!) And, get ready for this...
Blood For The Blood God. Yes, I actually like that song. Again, it's just so STUPID, and they did the vocals just right, screaming incomprehensibly. I need to hear more Stained Glass Football, too. That first minute of it had me hooked. Did they mean to do that, put it at the end like that? It's like it's an ad for the box set. IF YOU LIKED THE FIRST MINUTE OF THIS SONG BE SURE TO BUY THE PENULTIMATE DYSTOPIA OF OBSESSION, COMING SOON!!!
Anyway, this is an 8 album.
"Kick some butt, Christ!"
"Kindness is important. Harsh words don't solve anything. Harsh words only cause pain... you f#&*ing dick socket, don't use harsh words."
The above three quotes that should give you some insight into this record.
This second effort by The LuMP stars off right away with a fantastic song called "Retch Me Up A Cabbage, Frank." Wow! What a great place to start?
This one is jammed pack with favorites: "Mike Franklin" - which could actually be mistaken for a number one U.K. pop hit song. Yes, it's actually that good! "Magnetize The Moon," "Harsh Words," "I Dig Red Hot Chili Peppers," "Blacking Out During A Parcheesi Match," - which comes complete with a fake ending and "Disheartening and Less."
Do you like the softer gentler side of LuMP? Well they do it again with songs like "My Lady In Green Velcro," "Doorway," and "Grey."
A new little surprise in absurdity sneaks out with "The 700 Club Owes Me 5 Million Dollars' Worth of Crack Cocaine." Here the little devils call the 700 Club and pester them to give them drugs. Oh, those crazy LuMP boys.
Now with this album you must, and I repeat you must buy both the CD and cassette versions. This is due to the fact that the songs "Glenn Danzig Sings In My Church Choir" and "Don't Mess With The LuMP, Pete" are not included on the CD. "Glenn Danzig...” caused so much controversy with the Religious Majority Faction that it had to omitted from the CD re-issue. "Don't Mess With The LuMP" had to be omitted due to legal reasons. Apparently they covered some songs in a bizarre twisted medley and the greedy "high-ranking" record executives disapproved, but it is a must have for any LuMP fan. Plus, your collection will be incomplete without them.
"I wanna listen to the LuMP." And you should too!
OVERALL RATING: 9
Tamara's Little Sex Secret Cleverly Disguised
As The Third Low-Maintenance Perennials Album - Maxell 1991.
Well, we played a few gigs. The summer we made Jurassic Park, we went on a veritable whirlwind tour of Atlanta clubs, hitting such legendary venues as The Somber Reptile, The Wreck Room, and.... oh, hell, I think that's it. But ooooh, our early shows were really where it's at. Our first live performance was at a 1990 Halloween party thrown by some friends. Booked one day in advance (I was invited to the party, and responded by asking, "Can we play?"), it was what one might call a "miserable, miserable travesty." Matt couldn't remember how to play any of the songs, I kept breaking strings, and nobody there really wanted to hear our crappy songs anyway. Bastards.
Then there was the time that we played a ninety-minute set to four people in a neighborhood country club (there was a hurricane that night; I have no clue why we showed up.). We videotaped this one for prosperity, but, ummmm, we don't watch it too often.
The most memorable gig of our career, however, must have been the one we played at a Church Of The Subgenius Devival at some fantasy/sci-fi convention in downtown Atlanta. You see, Christian made up a bunch of packets of fake blood and taped them all up and down his arms and chest for later slicature and gore. A funny idea, yes, but, you see, in the middle of the first song, Christian cut a little too deeply with the knife and cut right through his wrist, veins, arteries, bone, oh man, it was all up in smoke. An ambulance picked him up while Matt and I continued playing to the gang of goofball Subgenius people, who were busy anointing each other with Christian's blood, which had sprayed all over the friggin' place. Later, I remembered that Christian was a hepatitis carrier, but that's neither here nor there. Ha!
I like that Christian. He's a hilarious and extremely intelligent human being. I like Matt, too, but he's kinda quiet. Real arty guy - draws great, paints great, plays the guitar very very very very very well, and he even takes pictures good! Mr. Arty. That's his new nickname. And I hope he likes it, 'cause he's earned it!!!!!!!! Then, of course, there's Matt Murray, whom you might call the "fourth Perennial"; he had tons of great equipment that he let us use, plus a great sense of humor (and a knack for filmmaking that the Lump should have exploited much more fully than it did) - you'll hear his voice quite a bit on the Lump tapes in songs like "Correct My Drift And I'll Knock Your Teeth Out" and "Licky Sticky Dicky." But enough about us. Let's talk about Tamara's Little Sex Secret Cleverly Disguised As The Third Low-Maintenance Perennials Album!
It starts off better than drugs. Side one is filled to the brim with hilarious, speedy, memorable numbers like "Lincoln Was Smart, But He's Dead Now" and "I Wanna Rent An Apartment On Nell Carter's Buttocks," and enhanced by guest appearances aplenty; at the time, we felt that Condom? had been a bit too lifeless without the party atmosphere, so we brought it back - AND HOW! Girls, boys, saxophones, trombones, recorders, keyboards, and fag jokes all playing together in a spirit of joy and harmony. It was so much fun. And this time around, it's a lot easier to ignore (or even chuckle at) the fag jokes, because they're so blatantly moronic ("Ahhh, fags, you know fags, all they do is sit around eating watermelon and driving around in their cadillacs!!! None of 'em work, they're all drug dealers!!! Send 'em back to Africa where they came from, goddamned faggots!!!!!"). So that's good.
And those melodies! Hooo boy, they'll never leave your head. Plus, we started experimenting a little bit! More background vocals for one thing (giving it that Seven Secondsy feel that was so missing from the first two releases), as well as some really weird numbers like one song whose title and lyrics are just a bunch of pictures being described by our pal Sanjay Aggarwal through a distortion pedal while Matt plays a beautiful and sad melody on his guitar by beating on the strings with a ballpoint pen and I sing back-up vocals through the pick-ups in my guitar, which is plugged through a delay pedal, and the fake drums suck in and out because they're plugged up through a wah-wah pedal. Ah man, that's art.
Unfortunately, side two is just a bunch of filler. It was about time for me to leave the state for college, and we really wanted to finish our third album, so we just dug up a bunch of old garbage that we hadn't used before and splotched some stupid fake laughter on top of it and called it a side. Bad bad idea. Bad recordings. Bad lyrics. Bad music. Bad news. The only redeeming moments are the funny alt-rock parodies ("Fugazi," "Violent Femmes," and "Let's Call John Lydon 'Sid Vicious'") and the improvised nine-minute noise extravaganza "Reactions To An Elephant In My Head Pt. 2 Sections E-G (Radio Edit)." The rest is pretty weak. Not awful, but weak by our standards. If it stood alone, I'd give it a 6. But it doesn't stand alone, and side one is wonderful fun!!!! So an 8 it gets. Oh, if only we'd shortened it to an hour. Sigh.
Oh yeah! As an added bonus, you get to hear a Matt Terrebonne solo track recorded during his Dinosaur Jr. phase!!! Strangely, it's actually better than 95% of Dinosuar Jr.'s output. But that's Mr. Arty for you.
[technical note from Christian - This one was definitely recorded through my PA. Except instead of plugging the guitars up straight through, we plugged in microphones and used them. That means the guitars aren't quite so damn aggressive, and the sound is a little fuller. It also means that when something gets really loud, the other somethings tend to fade out. Not as bad as during the ID era, but noticeable nonetheless.]
On side two, I actually liked "Reactions to an Elephant In my Head". Well, at least I liked it more than "Stained Glass Football". And the parodies, as usual, are funny, but on this one they manage to make them competent (save "Boring Classical Ergh!". Was that supposed to sound like classical music?). Funny lyrics abound here, as usual, and side two really isn't all that bad, it just isn't as good as side one.
For the first real time in our "career," we manage to get loud guitars that nevertheless sound like they were produced. I mean, it's not just turned up way past 11; they're actually intelligible. And all the people we brought in make it sound like a groovy little soire. No more are you trapped into hearing my same old tired voice just talking. No no no no no! Now there's a plethora of different people just talking! The inclusion of dreamy female background vocals was also a totally bonus idea.
Man, I just--man! I do declare! It may be self-aggrandizing, but Jesus we are fun fun fun 'til our daddy takes the etc. This is without a doubt the longest, strongest series of talented enjoyable songs we would do until Jurassic Park. Okay, sure, "U Can (Rock Me Harder All Nite)" is certainly forgettable and useless. But that's it! Where normally every third song would be a throwaway, every third song is instead a classic!
Who doesn't like Bryan Feeney's twisted, aphasic delivery in "Linda Evans' Foreskin"? I'll take 'em on right now! And if your head don't bob during "Trucks So Much," you"ve obviously got some sort of spinal condition. Same deal with "Lincoln." What, I ask ye, about that "Trinkets in San Diego"? In. Out. Song's done! In this milieu, "Hank and His Wheelbarrow" sounds fresh and funny even though it was years old. Then it's back to modern experimentation with "(Big Muscle Guy)" and its pictographic title and lyrics. We manage to create a semicoherent melody out of that mess! Even "Great Balls of Ralph Nader" doesn't overstay its welcome.
How about that strangled, abortive pop melody that frames "Golden Billow of Foamy Clouds"? The nursery rhyme sing-song of "Tinkle"? For heaven's poopdish, the rounded contours and spacey freakout of "Turtle of Days Gone By"? (And dem profane wordsies!) Despite a complete lack of "tonality" or "pleasing timbre," "As Is a Skillet" STILL gets stuck in my head. We effectively manage "God I'm Bored" so that it sounds heavy and dragging--and yet is over in two-and-a-half minutes! Amidst all the chicanery, "Clouds" doesn"t sound half-bad. Hit me up, man, with "Fax Me a Turtleneck!" And I"m not averse to a bit of "The Well" action, even if it's a leetle on the long side.
I hate when reviews are just lists of songs, but there's nothing else that does this justice. How can you explain to someone the joy and beauty of "Frank is Wearing a Dress" or "Pink is a Wimpy Color" or "Germans Can Blow It Out Their Ass" or "Flag Up My Butt"? You cannot! Nyet! This must be heard to be believed, and then heard again to be admired! Wowee wow!
Sour note: I plugged everything up so that whenever the vocals get loud, the music goes away. Trying to drive too loud a signal. But the overdubs we did rescue it. Besides, there are so many catchy songs that every time you quit listening they fight in your head for supremacy. One after another, you relive the fine moments you just experienced. (I mean, unless you're one of those people that doesn't like this album.)
I give it a resounding ten! It's just about perfect! I mean, there's NO filler (at least none worth mentioning), and the melodies--what? What's that you say? There's another side to this album? Heck, let me just pop it in and revel in more glorious greatness! Here...let me...um...revel.... Uh....
What the living godsuck is this?! I thought we had a clue! These songs are crap. Good googaly moogaly, whose idea of sound is this damn "Gertrude" thing? I enjoy all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse, but hyperstation, it"s so long! An "Erik Estrada" number? Bleachh! A mild chuckle is contained by the lyrics to "LuMP Rule" and "Bubble Gum Up My Anal Cavity." But where has my beloved music gone? Where oh where? Is it that distant ringing noise and crunchy sparkle?
Woe is me, all throughout this side I reel in disgust. Even after the music comes back. The lyrics to "Shoe Church" are really fun (and it's refreshing to hear a screaming chick instead of fella--you go grrl!) and even the music stolen from the pointless "Emil's in a Ditch" is good. How the hell was it produced, though?! I appear to have failed at me own responsibility to ensure that you can at least tell that there is ANY FUCKING MUSIC AT ALL!
Okay, "Draft Beer, Not People" is just as catchy as we wanna be, and the parodies work pretty well. Oh heck, if you listen close, there are even a couple really good songs on this side. "Here, Have a Jigsaw Puzzle" drones just dandy, and "Faces of Meanness" whips my patootie into metaphorical self-flagelletory heights. Even some of the noise pans out like it should: "Deck the Cards," or "Dick (Extended Dance Version)" which is so undanceable and noisy that it had Matt Murray and I in tears o' joy when we last listened to the tape.
But Christ, where is all the fun and catchiness of side one? It's real, real gone. This is the worst cardinal sin of the LuMP. No, I'm not talking about including filler (though that's probably what causes this problem). I mean making songs that aren't any fun to listen to. There's no good music to speak of, no good lyrics to speak, and an unspeakable amount of tepid ideas. It's not an adventure, it's a job; and a pretty sucky job at that. "Reactions to an Elephant" nearly has the edge back, but only nearly. It's too long and my improvised little story simply don't cut the mustard. Too much time, too few ideas: that's the unfortunate epitaph for this album. Why, oh why did we have to fill 90 minutes? Sheesh. Didn't we see? We built the Taj Mahal and then laid a dooky in it. Kids--what do they know about partying? Or anything else? Get us another line of work.
My overall score? A ten followed by a six, for a disappointingly low eight. After side one, you may want to quit while you're ahead, dear listener.
This tird (sic) record illustrates the true intellectual nature of The LuMP. Honor graduates, in the top 10% of their class, 1400+ SAT scores all mean nothing when you compare them to "Tamara's Little Sex Secret." They cover all areas of the curriculum with astonishing accuracy and command.
"This is a song about school."
"Beer is the best thing ever invented."
- Christian Smith
These lines indicate that the focus of this record is purely scholarly in nature.
History - gets your facts straight. "Lincoln was Smart, But He's Dead Now" starts the third LuMP record off and heads in the right direction. Historical accuracy is always appreciated. Now if you are easily offended stop listening right here. This one gets messy very quickly. It's like - let's insult everyone we possibly can with "Pink Is A Wimpy Color." I believe this is an attempt to weed out all those poser LuMP fans. Only the truly "lumpy" individuals will be able to listen further.
Science - Songs like "Convex Lens Of 6.0-cm Focal Length," "Black Hole," and "Clouds," showcase the LuMP's knowledge of the scientific world. Obviously these guys have spent many years mastering the theories and formulas of the physical world.
Geography - "Trinkets in San Diego" demonstrates The LuMP's cross continental acceptance and admiration. With "Germans Can Blow It Out Their Ass" and "Wimbledon In The Spring" we see the even farther reaches of LuMP's world domination and mass audience appeal.
Political Science - How about a sure summation and broad sweeping generalization. Then try "Politics Suck" and "Draft Beer, Not People" - complete with a blistering, move-over-Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. Man, these guys know how to rock!
Drama - All you need to do is listen to "One Last Kiss (From Low Maintenance Perennials' Off-Broadway Production of 'Bye Bye Birdie" Starring Soleil Moon Frye and Richard Speck)" and you'll never need to attend another play again. A special little convenience brought to you by those special LuMPs.
Real Estate / Property Rental / Investing - Hey these guys know it all. It is highly likely that if you gave the LuMP a large some of money that they would take that large some and turn it into an even smaller amount of money. True Reagonomics at work. Heck, just listen to "I Wanna Rent An Apartment On Nell Carter's Buttocks" and forget about all the hard earned cash you that spent collecting LuMP tapes and CDs.
Sing-A-Longs - We all love them. Let's all sing-a-long with the LuMP on "Flag Up My But," "Violent Femmes," and "LuMP Rules." Now wasn't that fun?
Country and Western - "Why we have both kinds of music, country and western" - "Theme to Rawhide in A" - No! It's "The Ballad Of Hank And His Wheelbarrow" - a footstompin' favorite especially with the ladies.
Storytellers - MTV has nothing on these guys. Just listen to track 12 (Little Man With Muscles).
Now you must purchase both formats of this recording, cassette and compact disc. Why? Because of the cover art and the fact that you want to be a LuMP completest now, don't you? The cassette version features a lovely "totally un-retouched" prom picture of the record's female moniker and a fine looking young gentleman having the time of their lives. Also scattered about the cover are the characterized faces of The LuMP boys and all the contributing "musicians." The Compact version features an exclusive picture of a young Rodney Dangerfield just after his wisdom teeth were extracted.
OVERALL RATING: 10, Why 10, because this record kicks aaasss!...and anyone who can cover so much material in one album deserves the highest rating.
The Solo Album - Maxell 1992.
And lord almighty, did I take advantage of it. It takes a few minutes to get going, but when it finally does, it's full of the most amazing and fantastic fuzz tones, noises, screeches, and punk blasts of sheer volume that you will hear on ANY of our albums. Dude. And it was ALL me. And the keyboard work is hilarious! I pat myself on the proverbial back every time I listen to this masterwork of plagiarism and stupidity. Although it does feature three of my least favorite LuMP songs of all time ("Finland Ooo Grab My Crotch" has all the subtlety of a hamburger, and both "Cherry Pi" and "Lemon Meringue Pie" serve only as further evidence that heavy metal parody was simply not our forte), the rest of the cassette is more fun than a bottle of Scope. Bob Hope scripts, pick-on-string scrapings, Beastie Boy rip-offs (and Pink Floyd and Swans and Dead Kennedys and R.E.M. and Sir MixAlot and Soundgarden and The Who and.....), Radio Canada playing through my distortion pedal, songs about golf - oh, it's all here, Dad. And noisier than a mouthful of wasps.
Artistic growth???? Well, we had a cool new infinite delay pedal that we exploited to an ungodly end, but aside from that, we were just trying to have as fun and loud a time as humanly possible. And here's hoping that you do the same!!!!? Plus, we finally got Pete Williams to sing some songs for us! The poppy ones are unforgettable ("Who Wants A Filbert?," "Hermit Crab," "Trigonometry Bypass," for example) and the punky ones are the toughest we'd ever done (once you get over that "fake drum" thing)!!!!!! Awww, man. Buy it today. From me. 'Cause you ain't gonna find it no place else, homeslice.
Oh! One other thing - we made up all the songs as we went, so every song pretty much sounds like it was written in ten minutes. Thus explaineth I the grade of 8. Har de yar!
[technical note from Christian - This was recorded through the PA all the way. And plugged straight again, because before we started, Mark said he wanted the guitars to be as loud as humanly possible. I hope he's happy!]
This is easily LuMP's most fun album. "I Love Big Busts", "Pinball Wizard Up My Butt", "Love You More Than Rugs", "Ah Heck", that whole "ripoff" suite that ends the tape...just looking at the cassette brings a simile to my face. A smile, too. Jurassic Park is still better, though. It wins out due to originality and general stuff. Y'know.
What the hell I thinketh? You can"t sell this stuff!
It gives off some wonderful waves of humor even before you plunk it in, I must say. Those liner notes are scary (though I misspelled Weltanschauung [and may have just done so again]). And not that the next man will know this, but Dawn Lawhon and Lauren Forrester's huge heads are featured prominently on the cover even though Lauren's voice occupies a full six seconds on the tape, and Dawn's twenty second contribution is not only not the words to a song, but was taped a year previous and hundreds of miles away. Meanwhile, back in Norcross, Garrick Simmons, Pete Williams, Stacie Deaton, and Christine Aikens appear not at all on the cover even though they all sing on multiple tracks. Hee hee oh hee.
We still didn't know how to start an album. First there's a cheesy bit written by some poor bastard who works at Yamaha (with the instructions "Make the programmed melodies stale and lifeless. Make 'em devoid of human warmth. Make 'em emotionally appealing only in comparison to poisonous insects and ruthless third world dictators."), followed by an intense burst of feedback, a tape-distorted tuba, gross-ass lyrics, and spangly crunchola guitars playing an arpeggiated melody.
Hm...maybe we did know how to start an album.
No. Whee doggie, this album certainly begins slooowww. You do get the catching sorrow of "Hermit Crab," mostly a standout due to Mark's emotive delay guitar and gut-wrenching background wassailing. But then there's "Cherry Pi" and "Lemon Meringue Pie," possibly the two worst songs in the history of rock'n'roll. And though I don't actually hate it, because it's fascinating to look at in the way that gruesome death is fascinating....
Let me pause here for a little gruesome death anecdote. I was watching televiso the other evening as a way to relax after work without thinking. There was a pogrom on (I believe it was "Medical Detectives") about a case where a woman had been murdered and then made up to look like a wino killed in a streetfight. So here I am, following along as the coroner is describing the various medical indicia that suggested foul play (or at least fouler play than a simple fight), when the scene changes and I am watching him take apart a body. None of that "close-up on the site of intrusion" stuff from "The Operation," neither. No, these are full-body shots of a nude woman who has been split open from nose to nuts (as it were). And the medical examiner is busy lifting out organs and laying them in a tray, and scalpelling faciae and connective tissue so he can yank flesh back to show the camera some important detail. Now I am no flinching guy--I love "The Operation"--but there's just something a little unsettling about a human being who is half normal and half raw meat. The program didn"t even have a warning tag at the beginning about "graphic scenes of human dismemberment." If I were an 8-year-old, I would never quit having nightmares.
We now rejoin our regularly scheduled program, already in progress:
And though I don't actually hate it, "Finland Ooo! Grab My Crotch!" certainly isn't a song of any sort. It is, however, a good definition of "random" and/or "pointless." Pretty much the same holds true for "Licking the Stamps of Entropy," though that at least has a melody. An interesting note for LuMP collectors (i.e. the members of the band): the static noise signifying entropy in the background is actually video information, though I don't know what of. Round about 1990, Fisher-Price introduced the PXL-2000, the world's cheapest-ever video camera. It recorded about three minutes of tiny, blocky, black-and-white images on normal audio cassettes. This little cheapo camera enjoyed a brief vogue amongst the digerati artistes of the era, resulting in tons of badly lit, hard-to-watch art films of poetry and naked gay people being projected on museum walls. Oh, and a segment of Richard Linklater's coolboy Slacker movie. Mr. Arty Matt Terrebonne had one, and at some point I somehow got hold of a tape of video. Maybe I had borrowed the thing, or some such. I didn't ever shoot anything with it. Anyway, that's what PXL-2000 video sounds like if you just play the tape in a deck.
Y'know, if I don't rein myself in, this little Solo Album diatribe is gonna end up mighty long. And since knowing when to quit is obviously not my strong point, you had better buckle up for da long haul, homes. In fact, why don't you go get something refreshing to drink? I"ll wait.
La da da dum da da dee da. Oh, you're back. Tasty beverage? Good.
The first part of side one does have some cool songs; even Nikita Khruschev digs "Slyer Than A Fox"'s swing pastiche, the big meanie. And with 40s big-band style coming back in vogue, we can be proud to say that we were years ahead of the trendistas. If you consider scrapy guitar distortion "40s big-band style," that is. Many people don't. Let us ponder...what are other high points in this mess? Well, there"s certainly some fucking aggrolicious goddamn guitar fuzz in "Blurby Finching Moom," "The Word Copious," and "Receding Hairline," the last of which also manages a decent approximation of melody. So we embossed it in the listener's mind, as it were, by foiling it with "Absence of Posterior," which certainly ranks up there with the best of 'em, in some alternate universe where the word "best" means "worst."
After a few songs, the side does get going. "Pipe Down Ya Crazy Mexican" appears to be a listener favorite, though personally I find nothing particularly distinguishing about it. Okay, maybe that delay-pedal-trapped bass sweep. But now my muchachos, songs DO NOT get any funnier than "Laminate My Face." The lyrics are just about perfect. My keyboard line is just about generic. The hip-hop beat is just about in every song these days. And whoop it up! Billy Joel finally has a reason for existence! We took possibly the least offensive rock genre possible--as the Dead Milkmen say, "50s doo-wop songs that even your mom would think are nice"--and turned it into a noise so irritating, so intrusive, so tuneless, even I hate how it sounds! And the listener doesn't even know until the end! I laugh out loud every time, and I mean loud laughing out loud too!
Exclamation points! Friend to children!
Then we start to bog down again. As differently abled as the female anatomy suite is, it's still crippled by a lack of humor. Exception: "This one's for you, Tony Dow!" is not only funny in and of itself, it's the basis of my later comment "That was for Tony Dow!" where the song had absolutely nothing at all to do with Mr. Fresh-faced Youth. But that's a story for a later time.
Does anybody get "I Love Big Busts"? Those who do chuckle, I bet.
Talking about bogging down, how about that "Librarian with a Lisp"? Now here is a peanut buster parfait example of what is wrong with the beginning and ending of the Solo Album, my friendly friend. It's a pretty good melody we got going on there, especially since Mark came up with it four seconds before we hit record (we are always hurry-up guys, but our lead times on this tape were truly mind-bogglingly short). And I did a pretty whipsmart job of making them guitars sound strong and solid through a couple different distortions. The lyrics aren't even that bad, though a little sketchy and undeveloped. I mean, there aren't any jokes about the lisp. No bits about "Thplendor in the Grath" or "William Thakethpeare" or a childish reference to "Moby Dick." Heck, not even no mention that this media specialist listens to G.G. Allin and his favorite song is "Thuck My Ath It Thmellth." Still and all, not bad.
To sum up: Good melody. Good guitar sound. Decent lyrics. And then what do we do? We make the whole thing sound shaken and broken. It just sputters and fumbles and never stays on the beat. And the sloppiness isn't on purpose; it's just lack of ability, I guess. Makes us sound like that garage band poo again, man. It's be disconcerting that at this point in the album we apparently still haven't got our shit together.
But then! A ray of hope ekes through. "Mstislav Vsevelodovich Keldysh" is pretty tight, and waltzes with the crowd. Smooth, coherent, and groovy in a groovy way none of our other songs would ever groovy be. The only dark spot is I don't use a dumb voice.
And then! Oh my god, it"s "Childhood Taunts!" Gwank gwank gwank gwank...gwankgwank. Wiichhhhh. Echoing noises bounce around a gigantic space; guitar crumbles and rises from its over-effected blasts; bonking noise whips between speed extremes in the background; "melody" instruments smash an approximation of music as gentle as a steam-driven cow-killing sledge bolt. Now this is rock'n'roll! Do you feel Jurassic Park coming? Turn it up! Bring the noise!
Another crusher! That wacky "Tardy Dead Person" even makes white people look like they have rhythm as they are irresistably drawn to participate in a mass booty-shaking. Let's shag, baby! Only one reason this wasn't an instant club hit throughout Europe and the Americas: you can"t hear the drums at all. So only one BIG reason.
Oh me, all the rest of the side rocks! "Trigonometry Bypass" is well-done loudpop, if not quite structured, "Knives in My Navel" has the king of all guitar sounds and her brother, if not quite audible drums, and "Flog" sounds futuristic slidey rhythm, if not quite rocklike. But as far as weak endings go, "Flog" is the eternal Emperor. Wait. That sounded like I"m putting down the ending; I am definitely not! It takes loads of talent to make something that totally limp-wristed and effete.
Before we get to some more track-specific comments, let me just pause and say that just like side one of Tamara, there is a huge stretch of good songs on this album. It passes from the twilit hipness of "Mstislav" to "Flog," and then breaks on through to the other side and down to "Dick Van Patten." A man could do a lotta livin" on that prairie. Though there are some serious judgement errors in there (just check out "Profound Statement"), they are few and pretty damn far between. That's impressive as hell for an improvised album. Now back to a minute dissection of the joy.
Another dumb keyboard bit, then the abrupt enjoyment of "Iron Man" and "Rblmnoq" which, all combined, are shorter than my sister, who doesn't even exist. Oh, while we're speaking of short songs, how about that "I Got the Blues" bit from side one? I actually did do it while Mark was eating supper! Oh, those wacky teenage days of my teenage youth, back when all I did was sit in Mark's bedroom and mix the LuMP. Oh, while we're speaking of Mark's bedroom, how about those parents of his remodeling it the INSTANT he left for college? It is to laugh. Looks a lot better now, dough. What am I doing still hanging around Mark's bedroom, you inquiring minds want to know? Why, the same thing I've always done. And thereby hangs a tale, but the time is not yet ripe....
"Holes Holes Holes in Teeth" takes one of those gutless, loveless keyboard melodies and turns it into free love consciousness for all mankind with two tracks of the jitteriest, scrapiest, absolutely aggressivest guitar noise you"ll hear all decade.
Then "Pelo Largo" sucks wind, but ignore it. It"s one of those screw-ups I mentioned, but it's relatively short and following hard on its heels (huh huh. he said "hard on") is our indispensable tribute to Bob Hope. If anybody knows where we might get a video of that dang Easter Special, please please please drop us a line. If you go to the TV museum again, Mark, you oughta see if they gots it. I really doubt it, but hey.
Ahh christing hell YEAH! No one else with half a brain reacts this way, but I LOVE "Cork That Trans Am, Sucker Boy!" Sure sure, weak vocal delivery. But did you hear that SOUND?! You know the one I mean--the one that shoots down into your head like a flaming meteor and then spreads out in a pile of viscous goo which reluctantly births the melody. Slopped with amniotic distortion, nourished by Bonhamesque drum pops, and baked in the heat of even more distortion, this is a fetus pie of lip-smacking taste. And at the end the sound all sucks up again, but not in the same way. Cool.
"Love" is sung with over-elocuted gusto by Christine "Jailbait" Aikens, but really, who doesn't expect that lyrical development? Manute Bol? Yeah, okay, he might not.
"Kerplunkety is a Hell of a Noise." The guitars are a hell of a noise.
Indicative of the enjoyability of this album is Mark at the beginning of "Bilt Feffleborp." (Which, by the way, is the most successful stolen-music song on here.) We've already hit record, the capstans are engaged, the reels moving, and Mark says, "Are we going now?" Man, what communication! What drive! What's wrong with impatience? Even more so than "Big Busts," "Roman Wilderness of Skippy" requires a know-how to get the joke. And who cares about Gira and Jarboe, anyway? (Did you know they moved to Atlanta? Cool, now I can go see Swans shows every night. And kill myself every morning.) Yet, I still enjoy it. We seem to be pretending that this noisefest is really a rock song somehow.
Tape distortion reduces the pulchritude of "Trollop Through the Tulips," though I love Mark's syntax play. No one should or does care about "Damage to My Patootie (Reprise)" or that damn "Just Plain Booger." "Dog Food"? "Lanky the Four-Eyed Goobatron"? What"s up wit' dat? Not bad, per se, but certainly not...um...y'know, well-made.
A funny anecdote--or in any case, one I am going to tell--depends upon the peppy little number "Lilypad City." I like the song: brief, to the point, relatively funny, and good delivery by Matt Murray. Of course, he works nights, so never got to attend the LuMP gigs. That wasn't gonna stop us from playing the song, though. Heck no! So we armed one of our set lists with this secret weapon and set off. There was just one problem, boys and girls:
We knew that sheer performance wasn't gonna keep the audience enthralled. Not our sheer performance, anyway. So we constantly came up with stage patter and prop humor to support the lyrics. There was our plan to throw representative foodstuffs into the audience during "Jello, Ice Tea, and a Slab of Fried Okra" that got only weak incarnation since we didn't have ice tea or fried okra. (I recall that at one point I considered writing lyrics called "Gushing Torrents of Everything" just to provide a throwable bonanza.) Then there was the trick of letting the Brickman prop sing "Brickman" while I hid backstage. Or the Parcheesi game played by Matt, me, and a xerox standup while Mark riffed and sang "Blacking Out During a Parcheesi Match." I forget what my fake vomit was made of, but it certainly got all over everything.
Well, along these lines, as soon as Mark said we were gonna have "Lilypad City" in that evening's set, I immediately thought that it would be perfect for a prop joke, so I set about making frog Dave. I used a big fresh cucumber, and cut it into froglike shape. Not too badly, if I do say so myself. I used "pearl"-headed stick pins for the eyes, and other pins to hold the front legs on (they were separate pieces of cucumber). The one divertissment was that cucumbers are not green on the inside, unless they're space cucumbers. But mine weren't, so there was glaring white everywhere I had cut. I covered it up with green food coloring, but cucumbers are awfully porous and I had to use a whole lot.
Foreshadowing: your key to quality literature.
In concert, we presented Dave onstage at the beginning of the song. He was a little soggy by this point and didn't stand too well, but was large enough and froglike. When I got to the lyrics "squished him with my dictionary," I pulled out my 35 pound Webster's unabridged and slammed it down on the cucumber as hard as I could. The results were more than could be hoped for. Dave was not just squished, he was obliterated; the stage looked like we were Gallagher and not the LuMP. The audience (what few there were) cheered, or groaned in disgust. Success! I pricked myself picking the bent pins out of the sloppy mess that once was Dave.
Now here's what all that was leading up to: my dictionary still has gigantic green stains all over it. Every time I look a word up, which is often, I get a mild grin out of knowing the source of those blotchy discolorations.
Not a very big payoff, huh? Well, the more I think, the less it seems necessary that there be a "payoff." Life'd be pretty sucky if you required everything you enjoyed to have the same structure as a joke. I certainly don't want my drive to work to have some big twist ending. And while a little payoff is nice in a relationship--god, that was rude--I don't want the chuckles to be over quickly. Novels, man, there's the structure of choice for gal pals.
Fuck that shit, let's talk about the LuMP some more!
Remember back in the Paleolithic era when every song was a group effort? There we were, sitting around the camp moving-orange-stuff, and one of us just started making a noise. Then Urk started banging two rocks together, I shook a rattly pine cone, and it all just accelerated from there. We all got up and were flailing around and jumping, and all making the same noises, and we all had sex with Thag's sister and then a saber-tooth tiger attacked and killed half of us! The good ol' days!
In a vague sort of way, "Who Wants a Filbert?" hearkens back to those innocent times. Over and over, that euphonious melody drills itself in your brain, and like it or not, you end up singing along, even if it's only to yourself. Like Mitch Miller, "Filbert" digs deep into your limbic system and gets them cells a-hoppin'. Makes me want to sing--la!
All that wholesome goodness doesn't last, of course. We simply weren't good enough to sustain much more than a side. The year-long break we took between Stupid and Jurassic Park really let us rock out when we came back. This early on, we were too scattershot, and way too impatient, to work hard enough. Plus this tape is just a lark, not even with the full band. Therefore, we start to falter around here.
"Bill Bixby" sounds like it's going to have a listenable melody at first, but just ends up being an echoey sliding noise. Pish tosh. It's followed by an uber-catchy "Dick Van Pattern" though, which is sort of a dry run for "Daylight Savings Time" on Stupid. Like any good dry run, it's less well-thought and not quite as neat, but it has a better verse part. It's not at all a bad song.
And then we run out of ideas. Well no, not really, but it certainly sounds like it. Why include a couple of operas this late in the game? We rarely do operas well at all (just take a gander at Stupid), and this "linked last lines" is an ultra-stupid example. Despite more of that awesome Solo Album guitar sound, the riffs are improvised and dumb (like "undesirable animals" but worse), and each last line provides the next song's dumbass content (like "undesirable animals" but worse). Plus, I might point out, the basic concept is that Mark is in a dry stretch lyrically, which is exactly the same as the next opera. So the last fifteen minutes are all about how Mark's run out of ideas. And he had.
Don"t get me Wrong by Nomeansno. (I already have a copy.) "Another Damn Dry Stretch" has just a wonderful vibe, totally different from the other songs present. No guitar! Other than jokes like the intros to the sides, where have we ever done a song with no guitar? I'm not including "Delta T," "Raisa Gorbachev Speaks," or "How Lauren Has Been," by the way. But I probably should; they're all fantazmo! The other dry-stretch tunes get progressively less interesting, though they hold on to some of their neatness for a while. By the Beastie Boys time, the very concept was starting to suckstart my unit, though. There's only so long you can listen to someone white badly imitate Bill Cosby. Thee-oo!
Fortunately, with the Beastie Boys package we quit trying to be funny and just go the all-out energy route. Though the volume dip totally telegraphs the eventual guitar return, I still guffaw good-naturedly at the minute of unaccompanied guitar at the end, obviously there merely to fill the dang tape.
It"s way late to mention this, but it is impossible to listen to "Aw, Heck!" and not smile.
So my final comments about this tape (now that your drink has been empty a while)? Well, I see a definite trend throughout our work toward the funhouse that is Jurassic Park. Little hints like "Who Didn't Put the Bomp?" are all you get on Work Bench Drawer, but Condom lets you shake hands with loudfast guitar and get acquainted. Tamara then shows the way to the future with its wacked-out arrangements, deformed guitar noises, non-rock instruments, and wide-ranging-but-not-diffuse party town feel. The next thing we recorded, the first half of Stupid, shows how we were moving away from punk songs toward irritating noise, while still valuing fast pop construction (even if that valuation drove us to re-record a bunch of dung). Then here comes the Solo Album, capable of rocking ten planets at once with its harsh, hyper distortion and balls-out improvisational attitude. Finally, we returned to side two of Stupid with new, weirder, funnier lyrics and some innovative concepts of structure, buried once more under old operas, but shining through their soil anyway.
Jurassic Park was slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. Its hour would come soon.
This one? Oh, a definite nine all the way. There are plenty of weak songs, especially at the beginning and end, but the middle is stronger than the Green Bay Packers. Plus holy cow, do we really have this much energy and impetus all the time? Man, somebody should patent us! Modern radio rock could sure use a slug of what we were high on.
Nine nine nine! Worship us, rock slaves!
"Cherry Pie" and "Lemon Meringue Pie" were so painfully pathetic and badly made that when I put in this tape I actually look forward to hearing them.
"Pelo Largo". Really funny, but really stupid at the same time. Rivals "Lamp Man" in that department.
That whole ripoff-getting sued thing at the end was interesting, and "Fight For Our Right to Suck" was hilarious. Kinda like the operas on Stupid is Such a Broad Term, you really have no idea what song you are listening to, because they either have a really strange segue, or they share a melody.
In addition to to being musically astounding, this album is hilarious as well. "Childhood Taunts", "Tardy Dead Person", "Pinball Wizard Up My Butt", "Librarian With a Lisp", "Absence of Posterior" etc. etc. I could go on and on about these songs.
This tape is really fun to listen to, and the 90 minutes are so filled with good ideas that you forget it's 90 minutes long. This tape gets a 9.
The Solo Album – Low Maintenance Perennials Except Matt
“You the listener can’t see this, but I’m holding up my middle finger
“So I divided by 1.477121255.”
“Turn to chapter 12 in your calculus book.”
“Uh… she seems okay, but she’s entirely too preoccupied with sex…”
“Want some pussy (obviously referring to a cat), man – Wooh!”
“I don’t have multiple penis.”
“Oh it’s the nighttime baby. It’s you and me, just us and rblmnoq, honey.”
“Talking anal fornication.”
It’s obvious what these guys are up to on this senior effort. The fourth recording by The LuMP continues their scholarly explorations, but this time in the field of mathematics. There is also a new emphasis placed on . . . sex, sex, and more sex.
Math majors will be happy to listen to tracks like “Logarithm Stole My Poop,” “Calculate This, Math Bitch,” and “Trigonometry Bypass.” “Trigonometry…” features guest vocal appearance by Garrick. Now for those of you who don’t Garrick, he teaches calculus part time at Georgia State University and sings and plays bass for a grossly under appreciated band called Vacation Bible School. Look for their records at finer music retailers. Now for the completest you have to get the cassette version because it includes the must have track, “Cherry Pi.”
The crazy highlights / flashing neon lights section:
Another classic surfaces with “Pinball Wizard Up My Butt.” This song is worth the price of the whole album. From the opening line in which Christian muses, “Tommy, can you feel me, Heh! -Heh! -Heh! -Heh!” to the lines “Pete Townsend’s lousy solo, Pete Townsend’s really deaf, Pete Townsend windmills real well, but he’d rather be screwing Jeff,” until the ending with “Talking anal fornication,” this song is the best cover / parody that you’ll ever hear.
This record also has a love – hate thing going on.
“I Hate Girls With Big Poofy Hair” and so does everyone else except people from Jersey.
“I Like Beaver” Doesn’t everyone else, too? Boys and girls all like Beaver. Jerry Mathers is just so dog gone cute that you can’t help but like him. Hey, remember that time when he got stuck in that giant cup on an advertising sign? – That was awesome. “Ward, I think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night.”
“I Love Big Busts” sees the emergence of Mark “E. Smith” Prindle’s alter ego, Sir-Marks-A-Lot, rap god king. We know what he wants and we want some, too.
“Bip Raped My Grandfather” rocks so hard, but it’s just too darn short.
“Frightened by Waffles” resurrects that “Tricks In Bill’s Magic Book (from Work Bench Drawer)” vocal sound and we know how good that is.
“Who Wants A Filbert?” I do dog gone it.
“Did You Say Bill Bixby?” No, I said play the theme from the TV show “The Courtship of Eddy’s Father” in a heavy metal style please.
LuMP fans, look for these cameo appearances by some of your favorite
artist and celebrities:
Tony Dow, Steve Howe, LaToya Jackson, Billy Joel, Barbara Mandrel, Jerry Mathers, Needle, Ozzy Osbourne, Booger Presley (on lead guitar), Schroeder, Pete Townsend, Andy Williams, and Yello.
“The LuMP are not maturing with age.”
OVERALL RATING: A sexy 8 ½. Warning: This album is not appropriate for those music fans under the age of 18.
Stupid Is Such A Broad Term... - Maxell
Anyway, another problem with the record is that the first forty minutes of it (recorded before Matt ran off to the Governor's Honors Program) were mixed through some wretched little machine that crammed all the sound together into this little muddy mess, again making us sound like some aurally-ignorant garage band with fake drums. At first, it's interesting to hear us in this context (especially since, for once, we actually had a REAL BASS GUITAR!!!!!), but after about ten minutes, the lack of clarity gets really irritating. Then the patented LuMP tone comes back and brings with it more boring old songs that we'd written back when we couldn't play our instruments. Crap. Oh well. My fault. Sorry about that. [technical note from Christian - The first side, with all the people and the dicking around, was recorded on Pete's 4-track mixer. We mostly just used mikes to capture sound, which is why it sounds like you're in a room with a bunch of people. Side two is back to my PA again. Good ol' PA. Never hurt nobody. Except Mark's amp.]
Still, the stuff isn't miserable; it just bothers me because by this point in our career, we should have been playing much more complex stuff. Instead, we sounded like a faster, grosser Green Day. The only ones that make me go "Wow!" are "My Maid Is A Foreigner" and "To Dream The Impossible Metacarpus," both of which actually required a lick of brain activity; the rest of the songs are simply split between the "catchy and pointless" and "boring and pointless."
But boy, I bet you'll love "Shim--Official Word Of Kersplish, Zambia." Catchier than a 7-Up commercial.
The pros? Hilarious liner notes and song titles--as always...stuff inside can't match it in relative hilarity, though...but 6 90 minute albums by the time you're 18, or whatever? Jesu Cristo! My momma might have raised me a idjit, but she didn't raise no fool! Same problems I have myself when I listen to the gruel I'm recording...what's good and what sucks?? I dunno! I love almost all of it, goddamn it...! How can you cut off your own arm? I'm blathering...I'd give it about a 4...maybe a 5...if it were about 45 minutes, it would have probably been a 7ish...
Oh sweet Jesus, the Rockin' Opera is no damn good at all! As the Rolling Stones say, it"s only rock'n'roll; how could we possibly fail at playing it?! We must"ve been sleepy and sick.
That said, we manage some cool punk. What with a real bass, and the compressed sound of Pete's 4-track, there's some pumpy-wumpy boppin' going on in "Fungus in My Mouth," "The Ramones," and "Bitch." Laugh with the best of them at the latter's amazingly inappropriate Madonna ripoff. Do tell!
Despite a gross lack of clarity, "Big Upper Lip" swings a wicked swing. Pete Williams had never contributed anything quite so useful as his vocals here, either. But even his affective cries and rack o' rock pedals couldn't save this rollercoaster ride. Neither could a good version of our live staple "Bloody Old Nun."
Yes, listening to Mark's suggestion to re-record was a dumb idea this late in the game. Except for the operas, we at least tended to select songs whose original versions were fun to listen to, or had neat vocal delivery. But we simply weren't talented enough to exactly replicate the sounds. And on top of that, a perfect copy of something interesting still sounds like a copy; you can't emulate energy.
Then Matt left for GHP and saved us from ourselves. Mark and I did the Solo Album and rediscovered the joy of coming up with new music mere seconds before performing it. Youth, here we come! Okay, Mr. Fancy Pants, yes we did start the next session by putting on "Guitarist Asylum," (which is a really accurate Crass ripoff, but of a really bad Crass song) but things wised up from there. "My Maid is a Foreigner" is probably one of the strongest tracks on here, what with its sweet, destructive guitar slosh. And though they're not really good songs, the concept of the demoniac rising hatred of the Paranoid Opera sure is keen.
Side two starts out looking like we're going to redeem the time. First, a song with a neat guitar line. Then, a funny song. Then, a funny, disgusting song with catchy waltzpunk delay stutter. Then a setup and another funny song, where all the humor is in the inclusion of the word "fucking." And to tie things off, a hilarious song about a doctor who likes to tie one on.
But ooo, we should never try funk. We almost always fail ("Funky Overhead Projector" being the noticeable exception), and we do so again with a remake of "Grilled Cheese Moon." This is a mere prelude to the gradual degradation of our brief moment of inspiration. Despite the innovative melodyless staccato riptide of "Eyeball," we fast lose our grip on a sense of sensibility by Jane Austen. You can really tell we've lost it when we start doing operas again, and they"re bad ones.
The wickita wickita noise in "Decaying-Corpse-on-a-Stick" sure makes me chuckle, but the rest of the opera is dreck. That, and the pointless exercise of "Snort My Jiggler" and its Bryan Feeney showcase, make the Tiny Squished Man Opera seem really stupid and juvenile. Even though the songs aren't badly done, and the lyrics are pretty funny, they lack the luster of the Solo Album. We don't sound like we're about to flail with joy over our own incoherence; we sound like we're desperately trying to get through the songs, which is exactly what we were trying to do. This was one of the worst recording atmospheres we'd ever had. We yelled at each other a lot, got really tense, and made crappy music. We blamed each other and grumbled and failed individually instead of as a group. Only the first LuMP live show and the sessions for the unbirthed project Just When You Thought We Were Getting Better had a more bitter flavor.
The "George S. Peen Song" is absofuckingtively hilarious, though.
We begin to pick up speed again at the end as we leave the operas behind (finally!), but there's simply not enough tape space left. The funny speed manip in "Big Ol" Mean Angry White Guy" and the goofball rhythm in "The Queen of Israel is Fondling My Aura" - two good points which, for once, were my idea - can't save the mountain of bowel movements that preceded it.
Nope, this ain't pretty. I give it a 5, which seems awful low, but it definitely isn't as good as Work Bench Drawer. If that one ever goes up in my estimation (and it might, since I'll always love congratulating myself), then Stupid will rise to a 6. And there encounter a glass ceiling, because no way am I giving this boring swill a 7.
It's not the worst album an unsigned band can come up with (you wish you'd heard Hang On For The Ride by The Speeding Bricks), but for us this was awful. It was so bad, we made no attempt to record anything when Mark came home for Christmas. That meant it would be more than a year before we put noise to tape again.
But when we did, it was a monster!
Okay, Okay. This album is designed for the rock opera fan. It is much more musically diverse, obviously to accommodate the rock opera medium, than any of the other LuMP records. Now we aren’t talking long, drawn-out, dull, boring, my head is so full of the sixties and seventies acid soup oblivion, rock opera. We’re talking about rock opera for the A.D.D. planet, short and sweet. Ahh! Yeah, that’s just how you want rock opera. The LuMP really stretch out here, exploring new sounds, vocal effects, recording techniques, samples, and song structures. Now also included throughout the CD are independent songs so that you won’t get bored with the rock opera format. This is sheer marketing and musically genius.
The actual recording quality however, is not as clean as some of the other records. It is though, really a much more, dare I say, mature, or is it immature, record than previous efforts.
Rock Operas Included:
1. Gerald Angels Opera
2. Ocean Ranger Opera
3. Paranoid Opera
4. On-A-Stick Opera
5. Tiny Squished Man Opera
6. Sock Opera
7. and two Opera Bonuses
My favorite: On-A-Stick Opera. Why? Well, I still have a rotary dial telephone, and I know how to use it. And I like when dick gets on a stick. Don’t you?
Wow! Six complete rock operas for the unheard of price of one compact disc. No one gives you more song for your buck than the LuMP. Go, go, go,
OVERALL RATING: A solid seven on the mellish meter.
Jurassic Park--The Album - Maxell 1993.
Everything that an album can be - and more! At least, I'm content to go through life feeling this way. Jurassic Park was our coup de grace, our nomme de plume, if you will. Christian had a six-track, Matt had an analog delay box, Matt Murray had an $1000 effects processer, and I had a fistful of brand new offensive anthems; how could we go wrong? [technical note from Christian - Now, THIS is where I bought the expensive mixer with my college money. The scholarship I got provided $1000 during the summer between junior and senior years to expand your mind. It was intended mostly to be used for travel abroad, or broadening your horizons. I actually had to fight pretty hard with the higher-ups at Emory to let me use the money for it. I had several interviews and a couple written reports where I argued with the Dean. Fun! And by the by, Matt Murray's effects processor was about $500 dollars, not a grand.]
Oh, it's something else. A veritable ninety-minute circus, if you will, this baby is so packed full of cool guitar effects, hilar jokes, neat noises, samples, silly parodies, rock anthems, and general brilliance that it might take the average listener a good eight or nine listens to fully understand what he is hearing. Every single song has an individual creative concept - there are no simple "punk" songs or "pop" songs here. We purposefully sat down at the beginning of each song and asked ourselves, "What really stupid thing can we do to this one?" Sometimes it was simple speed manipulation, other times totally off-the-wall deconstruction of what a rock and roll "song" is supposed to be, and even more often times, it was just a really cool way of making a really neat guitar noise. And sir, that's what rock and roll is all about. In fact, just to be an asshole, I'm going to go track-by-track now, explaining why each song is so special to me. Stop reading if you want to. I don't give a crap.
First off, there's "Check The Cables." This (along with several of the between-song bits, including the unlisted bonus tracks "Like My Tarts?" and "Big Girly Lips") was from a one-shot project that Christian and I had done one night under the name Chrys 'N' The Mums. It wasn't the most musical of projects, but it did have some awfully entertaining moments, like this one, in which I have difficulty getting my guitar to work. Oh, the joy. And what a catchy programmed keyboard melody! We put this at the beginning mainly to scare people into thinking that their tape player was eating the tape, and we know it worked at least once because, during one of our fabulous appearances at Atlanta's Somber Reptile club, the sound man was so frightened by the staticy tape hiss he heard within that he refused to play the tape any further. Ha, one has to exclaim!
Next is "I Felt So Dumb At Communion, Mr. Pooky." This one is a pretty basic rock song, I suppose, except for the "cathedral echo" on Christian's voice, the church organ way in the background, and the moronic "Com-mun-ion" background vocals floating from speaker to speaker. Catchy, though!
Third, you'll find "The Song," which, although abysmally recorded and sung, is a pretty darn funny parody of generic pop music. "Post-modern," if you like that word. Pretty memorable, too. I especially enjoy Matt's guitar solo. I myself can't play a guitar solo. Never much wanted to, either. You might note that, aside from the clean bassy guitar in the middle (which was an afterthought), neither Matt nor myself are bothering to play the melody at all. Good for us!
After that, you got "Licky Sticky Dicky," which has a spooky sci-fi vox echo and four tracks of some of the bitchinest psychedelic guitar noise I've heard in all my days! Matt really contributed on this record; I still have no clue how he managed to come up with so many amazing guitar bits. Dudeass.
Next on the tape there is "Marshmallow Holiday For The Somewhat Old," which is more of that great guitar noise, this time combined with a ridiculously high vocal manip. A chipmunk manip, perchance. How about that word "manip?"
After that there's the longest song on the record, the X-rated adventure epic, "Truck-Drivin' Cowpoke Eisenhower Companion," which features two tracks of guitars battling each other, one track of Christian on heavy drone echo, one of fake drums, one of purposefully irritating keyboard percussion overkill, and one of a bunch of my old 45's being captured in the infinite delay pedal. Unfortunately, when we piped everything up all the way, it was nearly unlistenable, so we ended up shoving most of the noise into the background. Still, you can hear some weird scruffy clomp noises every once in a while, as well as the hilariously unnecessary Cars introduction.
Next up is "Mature As Shit," a minute-long screecher driven by dark minimalist distortion rock, Ween-esque vocals, and a Jews' harp, of all crazy noisemakers.
Following that fiasco is "Brace Yourself," an Iris Daylilly-era dumbass joke made more interesting by the five different vocal tracks, each featuring a different effect. Of course, you can't really hear any of them, but that's hardly the issue. Asshole.
Then there's "Two Laps To Go," which sounds like a suicidally melancholy heartbreak song about watching the only woman you've ever loved leaving on a railroad train, but is actually about sitting in the laps of members of the House of Representatives. I don't really know why. Go to Hell.
Next on the agenda is "Lemon Peel Mmm (Live At Altamont)," which features crowd noise from The Doors' Absolutely Live, Matt's shimmery lead guitarwork, a melody stolen from Peter, Paul, And Mary (or whoever the hell wrote "Lemon Tree"), and me singing in harmony with... ME!!! Christian gave it a whirl but he just couldn't quite get the notes right, so I said, "Hey! I can do this myself!" And it I did. Pretty entertaining little conservative rant, too.
Then there's "Suburban Lunch," which began life as a couple of delay-pedal noises having a wonderful time together under Christian's improvised vocal melody, and somehow wound up (thanks to quick thinking on the part of the band members!) as another dangerously melancholy ballad (until it turns into Blues Central at the end there).
Next up is Christian's "Body Organs" opera, featuring "Pancreas," which has a really wildass vocal echo, as well as at least one "unplugged" guitar track (not acoustic - I just didn't plug my guitar in), "Spleen," which is sung by me (with my voice manipulated just enough to make me sound like a really dumb guy) on top of a beautiful guitar-driven slicer melody that's dragged upwards at the end of every line by a silly producer named Christian Burns Smith, "Appendix," which is as small and insignificant as the organ itself, and "Duodenum," which is an overblown "Bat Out Of Hell"-esque '70s guitar anthem written and played by Christian with the lyrics appropriately oversung by a double-tracked Prindle. Good opera.
Then there's "When Cheese Could Slalom," a bouncy children's story enhanced by Beavis And Butthead commentary courtesy of two snot-nosed little jerkbutts (portrayed by me and Christian, of course).
Next up is "Meat Grinder Mania," an old Iris Daylillies punker recast as a piano-driven Bob Seger-kinda tune, until the end of the song, when every single instrument begins to "solo." Oooh, it are ugly, Jim. Jim Hull, that is. One of the three people that are going to read this. Hey, Jim!
Then comes our quintuple-vocal-tracked barbershop quartet number, "Manholes...Ooh, I Gotta Tell Ya...Ouch!," which goes nowhere and fast but, hey! Where else are you gonna hear a parody of a barbershop quartet in 1996? Or whenever the darn we recorded it.
Then there's "What -- Do You Glow In The Dark???," which features a heck of a catchy guitar line, but far too little of it. And that high-pitched noise running through it - according to third guitarist Al Gresens, that was a guitar line. Hmmm. If he insists. Are you still reading? Are you enjoying it? Do you want to hear it? Just let me know! I'll send you a copy maybe!!!! If you give me a dollar. Tapes cost moolah, pal!
Now then, and understand that we're still on side one. We Perennials were a prolific lot. So next is "Journey To The Soul," our techno song, written and performed by Matthew Terrebonne. The sample says, "This is a sample." Isn't that clever? That was MY idea!!! And the guitar is playing nothing. When third guitarist Al Gresens heard that we were recording a dance song, he stated, "Okay, here's my guitar part," turned on his flanger pedal, and rested his guitar against the amp. So it's just goin' "hhhhheeeeeeeoooooooooaoaaaaaaa" for about four minutes. Oh, that third guitarist Al Gresens. And that's me singin'. And the words are about poop. Sorry about that.
Then you got "Why Isn't The Sky Blue," which is not so much a song as an introduction to the next song, "Wisest Guy Lou," which features some hauntingly lovely E-Bow work, as well as some more high-pitch manipulated vocals and the first ever recording of the word, "Jeez-oh-Pete."
"I Like Shit" is next. This was originally just a normal noisy ten-second song, but Christian and I found the playback so incomprehensible and uproarious that we decided that we wanted to share each individual track with you, the loyal listener. And funny, how. What the hell were we thinking? There's no melody there at all!!!!
"Dooky" is the nursery rhyme follow-up, and the side ends with "Avuncular Sam," a drony, painfully bassless tribute to Pete Williams's band Engine. We like Engine. You've probably never heard of them. Their songs are really long.
Okay, side B it is!
Side B begins with the old standby "I Crapped On Monday," featuring a repetitive low-end boom-boom-boom noise all the livelong song, as well as disgusting wah-wah racket, a bass effect that Christian unconsciously stole from The Cows, and me doing a really bad Mark E. Smith impression. It's skippable, but not horrendous.
And one of my absolute faves is next! "Dicknose" began with Matt discovering that if you play a five-note melody three times and then skip a beat, it fits perfectly into a 4/4 rhythm. I then responded by playing a five-part series of three-note runs in conjunction with his bit and, as if that wasn't enough, screwing up the whole she-bing with a seven-note bass line that only catches up to the melody at the 28th note of each verse. And then, of course, the lyrics are both disgusting and racist, so that's pretty cool, too.
After that beauty attack, you might find "X Marks The 24th Letter Of The Alphabet," a country-western goof extremely reminiscent of that party-hearty Tamara album - which we nearly got sued over, by the way, if you can believe that; the real-life Tamara didn't find the title or cover art (featuring her prom picture surrounded by stick drawings of our friends) anywhere near as entertaining as we did. But that's another story entirely.
Following this 'un, there's your "Lip Balm," which offers you deadpan vocals courtesy of band pal Chris Carl, and the most irritating guitar line I've ever written. Even I hated it, and still do. Ask for it by name!!!
You'll probably catch a headache from the next one, "Wife Of A No-Good Lousy, Ooh...I Oughta!," with its crazy-ass "telephone ring captured in the infinite delay" noise racking your brain the whole way through, but deal.
"Reagan Ate My Puppy" is a nice respite, what with that somber autoharp, the slowed-down "bird chirp captured in the infinite delay" noise, and more lovely harmony vocals courtesy de Mr. Me, but who needs a respite when noise is love? And that's my old dog Casey singing at the end there! By the by, both of the animals featured in this song are now deceased. I hate that about life.
"Alacrity In The City" then shows you exactly how far we had progressed as a band. It doesn't sound like a dumbass parody of reggae - it sounds like REGGAE!!!!! Third guitarist Al Gresen brilliantly captures the style of the against-the-melody bass thumping common to this form of music, and all that bizarre guitar noise at the end is me trying valiantly to play the right note as Christian mischievously twiddles with the pitch knob. Take that one to the bank and cash it, Bob Marley!
Then, oh man, now we're talking. Next is "Denim Cousin," another sad pensive piece penned by Mr. Smith which is punctuated smashingly by a repeated powerfully smacked chord during the non-verses. Funny thing is - it was an accident! I was lifting my strings and letting them smack against the neck and wouldn't you know it? It clipped!!! So, rather than wasting precious time re-recording the axe line, we just pushed it back and forth from speaker to speaker and pretended that we'd done it on purpose. It does wonders for the song! Matt's eerie keyboard line is of interest to collectors, as well.
"Ampersand Is Rocking Detroit" is next. You can't beat good ol' boogie-woogie rock and rom.
Then "Acne" features five completely different guitar runs that don't have a lick to do with each other. Noise or art? You be the judge. I think it sounds pretty dang special, though, although not nearly as special as the next one.
"The Friendly Jump Rope" is what happened when I told the band, "I love speedy metal. And I love harmonics. Let's do it!!!!" Harmonic-driven lo-fi driving metal. And reefer references to boot. Haaayell yay-ah!
"Ol' "Balk" Stevenson" is next. It's a baseball/punctuation song. Like it or don't. It ain't the best 'un on there, but it's cute enough. And it boasts the word "dicksocket," which many songs, believe it or not, don't.
"Drivin' Mah Truck Up Ma's China Cabinet" oughta please you. More strangely beautious sounds (courtesy of my lovely phaser pedal) reduced to bad humor by dumb lyrics and a banjo solo. You'll love it. Why not?
"Livin' It Up Like Eddie's Dad" is next, and sucks. I do a weak, heavily-reverbed Tom Waits impression, mouth the bass line, and bury the guitar line entirely. Fast forward through that one.
But stop in time to hear "Bob Costas And The Magical Christmas Egg (A Bedtime Story)!!!" She's a goodie, formed by the merging of two really old melodies of mine that I'd never gotten around to using. And Christian is manipulating his voice speed while singing!
"Journals" is next. Awfully offensive, but catchier than almost anything I can think of, including a song.
"So The Mexican Bellhop Says To The Backgammon Board..." is next, and it's a five-minute expression of disgust at my own lack of songwriting skill. Pretty cute, though! And I actually sound like I have a personality! The coolest thing about it, though, is the melody. A nice simple little thing written by Matt, it gives the appearance of being a nearly boring little throwaway until it suddenly reveals its secret - as the "mono" suddenly splits into "stereo," it becomes clear that this is not an eight-note melody being played by one guitar; it's two four-note melodies being played interchangably by TWO guitars. It just sounds like one guitar, because that's how Christian wanted it to sound!!!! Oh, you'll be nearly blown away when the melody suddenly splits apart into your left and right ear. It's a weird experience. Pretty clever, too, if I may say so my own self.
Now the tape is winding down. "I Wouldn't Miss 'L' A Teeny Iota" is kind of an abstruse little number, but keep your attention on that guitar playing the harmonics. It sounds really really good. I think it might even have been me playing it!!! I can't verify that, though.
Then, "I Have No Goddamned Clue What That Last Song Meant" is a bit hard to follow as well (cuzza dumb vocal manipulation), but the jiggly melody is still pretty fantazmo.
With "Faith In The Tartar Boy," it's becoming obvious that we're just trying to finish the damn tape, with melody giving way almost entirely to pointless noise, but it's still perfectly interesting. The weird drone floating through it sounds even more like a vacuum cleaner than that stuff on The Solo Album! Great vocals by third guitarist Al Gresens, too!
"Tell Edith Hamilton I Wish She Were My Daughter" could be a clearer expression of incest and bombast, but, again, it was late in the day and we just wanted to finish the friggin' product. It's still catchy in an irritating sorta way. Good ending, too.
Finally, the tape ends as it began, with a stupid, incomprehensible slab of Chrys 'N' The Mums silliness, this one a recording of me changing my guitar strings with the distortion pedal still on. "Check The Strings" we called it, clever boys that we are.
So that's the tape. I'm awfully proud of it, and enjoy it more with every listen. It still bothers me how lo-fi the whole thing is, but we did the best we could. The ideas are there, anyway.
"The Song" is one of my personal faves, a catchy little anti-radio number reminiscent to this listener of REM-style silliness...catchy as hell...
One thing everyone needs to remember about the LuMP is their absolutely awesome catalog...so many songs--so little tape...and they never overstay their welcome--at least on this tape...the boys wisely know when the song peters out, and make sure it ends before we take a snooze..."Truck Drivin' Cowpoke"...a scatalogical, heretical little travelogue that'll give you nightmares and grins--if your pop heart is in the right place..."Lemon Peel Mmm"...a stab/poke at '60's festival rock..."Journey To The Soul"..which even made my wife laugh at its "this is a sample" sample...dead on funny...and lots of creative noises within...I heard "Manholes..." as more of a street corner doo-wop thing, but that's okay...I like that stuff...the "innards" suite bogs down in my opinion, but hell, at least they're flinging it on the wall and seeing what sticks...
And lots of it does...in your swelling, itching brain...
Portrays a small, young child's playroom infected with wrong electricity, in a half-baked satire on aimlessness. It soothes my twisted brow. Talking of sounds deliberately inserted to fool the listener into thinking his equipment is malfunctioning, may I recommend the version of Karelia Suite (yes it's a classical piece) done on Five Bridges by the Nice (yes with Emerson out of Crosby Stills and Nash). Frightened the life out of me as a young puppy that did. One of the great moments in pop, and it's not even pop.
Features a simplistic riff over which is intoned a self-consciously blasphemous rant. Bloated critic scribbles 'juvenilia' and thinks mmm, best administered a sharp slap and drowned in a bucket of frogs.
A nihilistic, self-referential dirge which strains at the leash at the doors of the majestic mansion of pop. Sprightly as a loping old bag hitching up its knickerpant in a vain attempt to 'get on one man'. Song also appears to mention premenstrual dinosaurs. This would make perfect sense on an album called Jurassic Park. I can spell Parasaurolophus, can you?
Glorious fuzztone guitar drenched in Californian harmonies. Sucked up into a cloud of sonic squall and transgenically mutated into a paranoid garble of hell voices. If you play it backward you break the tape spewing device and shop assistants will laugh at you with their fat dripping mouths.
Elegaic solos battle against spastic drums and heliumized vocals. It didn't know how to begin and didn't know where to finish. Peanut allergies, what the hell is that all about.
Shit, even a cabbage monkey with its talons stuck in a knife drawer can play better guitar than that. It tells a tale of dead presidents, auto-destruction and stuff that I'm sure is like, really smart, and cool and stuff, except I'm typing too fast to follow the plot. Does he really say: I was sitting in a cubicle munchin' on a spider? I hope so, I like that. Poignant image. It's funky, it's crunchy and I dig that crazy beat, man.
Wiggly string-bendage introduces a twisty-voiced Bongwateresque meander through drug-addled mindbendery, Burroughsian cut-up technique applied in studio-wizardry. At the end of the day. pop culture is the winner.
Is this a new track? Some jerk is whining about 'two laps to go'. No seriously, this one is so cool it's way cool, it's wayer than Kooool, it's like cooler than fucking Sonic Youth those crusty old phonies couldn't get this cool if you cut off their heads and stuck 'em in a cryogenic pod till the year 3000. How anyone can give Dirty a 3 and Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star an 8 is beyond me though.
Lemon Peel. This sounds like a sample from Absolutely Live. Hey, now I'm clicking my fingers to the boogie twist, it's like one of those endearingly amateur Eugene Chadbourne LPs. Sadly, the singer seems to lose interest and quit the game in a fit of pique.
Some wannabe creepy voice intones against a pingy-textured background noise carpented from welllll, musical instruments never sounded this good. My neck hurts, I need a rest.
'Shakespeare loved reggae.' This is indeed true and I guess the joke is that we are subjected to a tormented longhaired blast approximating to 1/3 acnoid eruptions and 2/3 sexual frustration. Haven't you heard - reggae is fucking Jah's music, that's Jah Rasta Far I to you, you lowly denizen of Babylon. Listen to Lee Scratch Perry: 'Whirlwind and everything. Massive attack. If you think about it as an earth train, it's a dub train. And everybody on the dub train will be safe. Everyone else will be ashes and dust. I and I the captain of the train. Is that clear?' Wise words mate.
I've got work to do, instead I'm spending my daily brain portion on describing this mess. My name is Percy Sugden, I am grumpy old git. I fought in the war for the likes of you and it's about time you showed me some respect.
Okay, vit zees trick ve hef rediscovered rhythm. 'Big girly lips...' ja? Don't be ashamed, don't fear the girly contours, the feminine softness, the silky skin and the alluring moistness. Guys can wear make-up too, you know. Start lisping, affect a prissy demeanour, they'll thank you for it.
Like, I identify with your pain and frustration and everything, but ... shut up. What have Head-Up Display glasses got to do with bionics? You tell me. 'I've got a picture in my monkey garden,' goes the refrain. And in a very real sense, haven't we all?
This is the Mr Pooky one. I like it. Oh, I guess it's the cheese slalom one. This is good, you know it is. The stench of King Missile hangs over it like a cloud about to weep bloody tears however. Yeah, cheese is gay, carpets are gay, pianos are gay.
Yeah, I take your point.
More chipmunk voices, I suppose you think that's funny. Is manholes some sort of adolescent term for ladies' front bottoms? Mystery holes. My name is George Michael, I am a motorcycle courier. Now that sounds like Camper van Beethoven outtake. But why compare why not realise the LumPs for the unique combo they truly are.
This is a sample. Industrial vibe pervades, twisting and mounting as if seeking relief, the chanting voices suggesting possessed monks whipping themselves into a frenzy of bloodlust and about to embark upon an orgy of slaughter - if only they had transport. The repetition works, yes it does, it works! The post has arrived. I feel truly wretched.
Whirly twirly, Milli Vanilli watch out.
Slike the kiddytalk passage in Hole in my Shoe. But you can't hear the words.
I Like Shit. Humour is a funny old thing, isn't it. No? Actually, this is a great idea - if you're one of those people who like watching paint dry. 'Try and get a melody on this one Mark' is followed by a tremendous guitar sound. And the sheepy echo vocals are wooooooo scary! Put it all together and...
I fucking hope this track doesn't go on for 27:32 like it says on the cassette. No, end of side one...
Oh dear. Some damn fool is pretending to be Mark E Smith. Mentions shit again. What is it with these guys - are they retarded in some anal phase of sexual development, wallowing in the sludge and slurry of the polymorphous perverse?
Grim. And furthermore, grizzly.
Dumbass rocker tribute to the letter X. Which is better than C I'll tell you that. Don't talk to me about H. H?? I won't have it in the house. (That wasn't a cheapo drug reference, I'm talking about the friggin' alphabet!)
Lip Balm. A word of advice: ensure that you take a tube of lip balm with you on long flights, as the dryness of the air and the possible effects of jetlag may well dehydrate your luscious lips, leaving you all flaky and uncomfortable. And no one will want to give you a kiss, you deformed freak.
The real Juliana Hatfield has a cute squeaky speaking voice.
Reagan ate my puppy. Which is kind of a coincidence, cause he ate my pussy. How about that?
Alacrity in the City. More of a concept than a song. More slack required.
Weeeeee bouncy castle song. Like it, I bought the company. Detroit rock city. Oh, it's stopped. It's started again. We like that old musical trick. That was neat, like a very tidy avocado bathroom.
Hey now, this sounds like The Fall, ascending descending riff.
Where are we? Reagan-like voice talks about outer space. Howls of feedback herald a Captain Beefheart hobo boho vocal. Scribbling hobgoblin intones 'the killer weed'. Governments fall, the moral majority quake in their sweaty stockings.
Song about baseball. Fact: I have a photo of Kirby Puckett signed 'to Graham' who played for the Minnesota Twins. Fucking hell, some one just asked me a stupid question and interrupted my creative critical fucking faculties and I pulled the earpiece out of my Walkman and it fell on the floor and ..... deep breath. Back to the Perennials who make my eyes bleed tears of the purest ecstasy. Frank Stevenson song, I can't work out what the title's supposed to be. Is this still Side One? Lapses into profanity. No, I'm on Side Two somehow.
Mellow truck driving song. Features banjo solo. Oh, it's stopped in mid-flow. No, that's me pulling the plug again. Is it lunchtime yet? I'm very hungry.
Oh my golly, there's a Beetlejuice voice on this one. What is he saying. Poor diction. Possibly high on whipped cream propellent.
Bob Costas song, some in-joke. I suppose you think that's funny. Cos I sure as hell I don't!
Kick me in the ass and call me Stanley. You could give this song to one of them fainting goats to chew on. Talking over music is to be commended, however, too many people think they have to do that singing thing. Why? Don't sing, talk, I say. It is the Bardic tradition and not a toned down version of poncey liederhosen mock-operatics round the pianoforte in 19th Parisian salons. Can you tell me why Karen always keeps a version of each document on her hard drive and then replaces the official version on the server by overwriting all my editorial work. It gets on my tits, especially when I am undergoing such a beautiful experience as listening to these Lumpy guys. This song - Some Mexican Bellhop - has some effective guitar chords,I give it a resounding thumbs-up.
Pumping guitar, two twisted irritant vocals, where is the drummer?
No Goddamned Clue. Beavis on helium, a pooka in my pocket, slam the dwarf, cut off his nads.
That was sweet, bom bom over a tinkling ivory. This is brutal, suggesting psychic warfare in the membrane, a thousand bad trips stuffed up your nightdress. Is is true Jerry Lee Lewis once did a song called I'm Gonna Drill You Mama Till Your Nightdress Catches Fire? This is what I've heard. Images of the dentist's chair - is it safe, is it safe?? Ouch. Goes on a bit doesn't it. Like the way you look at the clock beyond the dentist's head and think 'By 4.00 it'll all be over' and will the hands to move. I haven't been to the dentists for over two years, is that bad? My teeth haven't fallen out yet.
An experimental voyage into the world of Edith Hamilton, who gives me the fucking horn to be quite honest, although I've heard she's a syphilitic old hag with bad breath. Sorry, there was no need for that. Descent into gratuitous vulgarity. I need food, and I'm rather tired, I had too much to drink last night, a complete accident. And it's sunny outside, look, very nice for September. It's my birthday in a week. I am as old as I wanna be. Is this rock 'n' roll. Rock and roll, even? There is a distinct lack of roll. Monsters in the street, demons in these children's brains. Will these goddamn people stop talking behind me and sit down, I'm trying to fucking concentrate. Shut up.
Check the Strings in your pants boys. Oh, it's stopped. The tape is turning over. Go back to the beginning. Yes, this baby loop spoiled by a loose connection...
In summation: an astonishing, overwhelming, frequently disorienting and far from pain-free experience. Now go back to your snivelling crock of doodoo Oasis albums!
It may sound arrogant to proclaim that the average listener might have to sit through it eight or nine times to catch everything, but dammit, it's true! Even I still discover new bits from time to time, and I mixed the dang thing. When I was working on the remix/leftover slop album The Lost World, I was astounded to discover entire guitar tracks that had been lurking beneath the surface like Nazi U-boats. There is such a rich field of layered sounds, guitar splangings, and worthwhile distortion noises here that you could till for days and still be hitting fecund loam. Depth is what it's all about, man. Phil Spector introduced the Wall of Sound style; with this tape, the LuMP birth the Unholy Pit of Sound style. At the bottom of the pit are the drums, pip-pip-pipping their mechanical lives away. Surfing that wave are the vocals, often speed-distorted (perhaps too often; we had just gotten the ability to do this), and always reverbed to ear-splitting levels. Then comes a six-layer cake of tasty guitar, with the melody usually the deepest level, and some truly bizarre deformed soundslicers above it. The crust of icing is primarily snippets of radio, screaming, or delay-trapped samples of more goofy guitar.
Man, we're all over the map. Sometimes we seem to stray just a bit too far, but we're always whipping right back to center stage with some awesome-sounding guitar tone. I can't even tell you what songs to listen for; they're all just chock full of neatness. Experimentalism gets the better of us sometimes, and some of the mixing is too muddy due to technical constraints, but these are minor quibbles compared to the beauty of all those guitars and noises. Most of the time we sound loose, inchoate, and improvisational without getting boring, sloppy, or stupid. Not everything here is a work of genius, but c'mon, man! How can you get grumpy over a song that'll undoubtedly be over in less than two minutes? Huh? How?
Mature and thoughtful digressions on the rock structure these are not. This is the boundless evocation of teenage riot; smashing, breaking, ripping, tearing, seeing what survives the onslaught and buffeting it with pure sound. Guitars wail, stripping years of dead flesh off of rock forms and clothing them in new finery. Did we think in such ambitious terms while making the album? Of course not. If we had, we'd have failed. No, we just waded right in there and destroyer destroyer!
Who's ready to rock? We were! Years of punkpop and dirgey indie rock meld into a tornado of fun here. Guitar versus guitar versus guitar melodies pile up an edifice whose existence validates all that radio schlock. Look here, oh ye history writers! Rock'n'roll is still capable of embracing such raw assault on the senses! Still accepting of such distortion, mistreatment, and fucking-over that it must have taken boot camp at Aberdeen! Rock'n'roll, most of all, still loves youth, and is rewarded with fervent hate and wicked, epic hope.
Those joyous souls who truly love music love to hear it flail blindly in new territory. Even if the actual sound doesn't capture your mind, the attempt to find new ground, to assume a new stance, can hardly be dismissed. Are we pioneers here? Innovators? Maybe. I think so, but decide for yourself.
This album makes me feel great when I listen to it, and that's all you can ask for. I feel young. I feel strong. Mark wrote that in one of his "serious" songs. You needn't hear the song, but that sentiment is exactly why Jurassic Park rules. Plus Jesus, it's called Jurassic Park! It's got the Jurassic Park logo on the cover! We specifically designed it to get us sued!
Like any complex, aggressive, experimental work of art, what a critic says about this album is more indicative of their personality than the content of the work. So I'm not going to bother telling you which songs are my favorites; listen and form your own prejudices.
I give it an unqualified ten.
I used too many exclamation points in this review. I said grandiose things about too small a subject. But in the proverbial "grand scheme of things," don't you overvalue your small life? Isn't your favorite movie a work of timeless genius? Isn't the face of your lover an ineffable stillness at the center of a moving world? Isn't the warmth of sun on a breezy day indefinably good? Everything we touch we assume is for the ages.
Let it be so. We have a small time, and much of the culture we've built is badly designed for enjoyment. Be open. Listen. Somewhere amidst all that noise on Jurassic Park is an implied voice urgently bringing a message:
Fuck all your hung-up pretentious shit.
This album's my favourite out of the four I've heard - mainly cos the punk influence is kept to a minimum and there seems to be a bit more effort put into it.
The tracks that caught my ear were "The song" "Cowpoke Eisenhower Companion" "When cheese could slalom" and "Drivin Mah truck up Ma's China cabinet" ( simply for that banjo solo!!!)
Oh yeah, and that little guitar coda at the very end of "Marshmellow holiday for the somewhat old" fucking rules!!!!!!! great stuff!!!
The rest ranges from pretty good to pretty crappy, (the first few songs on side two might as well be edited out) - otherwise I think it's definitely the most consistant record LuMP ever recorded.
Chicago XX showed us that LuMP could produce a rock album.
But in between...
Jurassic Park showed us that LuMP are, in fact, musical geniuses.
How do I know this? BECAUSE IT'S SO HARD TO LISTEN TO! On the first few listens I was convinced that, save for a few tracks, this album sucks. But then, on the fourth or fifth listen, it hit me. IT'S NOT ABOUT MUSIC! It's about SOUND. This is not a collection of songs. This is a collage of amazing noises separated by small spoken word tracks that sound a lot like the ones on Frank Zappa's Sheik Yerbouti. There are also some samples stolen from various sources where the sound of the band screaming "LOW MAINTENANCE PERENNIALS!" is dubbed in over the name of something else, producing a comic effect. "Come Swing Along" is particularly funny, because I have no idea what the commercial in its original form was actually for. A kid's show? A playground? What? But really, there's too much stuff here to mention. This is a tour de force, a work of art that defies explanation. Just lemme warn you... don't listen to this expecting music. Because you won't get a whole lot of it. But if you listen expecting some awe-inspiring bursts of noise, you will be rewarded. Needless to say, this is not something you listen to in the car. You have to be in the right state of mind to fully appreciate just what you are hearing. If you try to listen to this as an average rock album, or without giving it your complete attention, it will run you over, back up, and then run over you again. This album takes no prisoners.
Rating: Not applicable.
That was dumb. Let's start over.
Jurassic Park is the LuMP's greatest achievement. It's all here. Great melodies (they're there, trust me) great noises, great samples from various places, and their finest musical moment EVER in the form of the banjo solo from Drivin' Mah Truck Up Ma's China Cabinet. I laughed until I cried when that banjo solo came on. I can't even describe how funny it is, you have to hear it. It's almost all great. Marshmallow Holiday is a little noisy, and Eisenhower Companion is a little too similar to Those Milk Commercials Are Funny, but it still works because after you listen to it, you'll never think of Eisenhower the same way again. I was cleaning my room the other day, and under the bed there was this coin from a collection of coins with the various presidents' faces on it. This one was Eisenhower. I just started laughing for no reason. It's because of that song.
This album is fine listening after a few listens. It is their most cohesive album, all the songs flow together nicely, with the help of some very funny segues, some of which I wish went on longer (Topnotch Boogie, for example.) Anyway. This gets the ten.
Duodenum frustrates me, though. The great melody is almost completely obscured by noise! I suppose that was the point, but still. Rrrr!
Hey, y'know what this sounds a lot like? Sounds like the Third Reich 'N Roll by the Residents. Except that where the Residents mess up old sixties songs, the LuMP mess up their OWN songs! And there's two big songs on Third Reich 'N Roll, where there are like a hundred little tiny songs on Jurassic Park. They're still awfully similar, though. Check that one out if you liked this one.
Okay, now I'm finally done.
Read ‘em and weep kids. The LuMP has done it again. Jurassic Park could possibly reach platinum record sales. Why? Because it’s just that good. >From the happy hum of “Check the Cables” to “Check the Strings (Reprise),” this album will amaze you with its diverse song ensemble.
Now for the hits……
“I Felt So Dumb At Communion, Mr. Pooky” is enough to scare even any Goth or pseudo-Goth or that matter. We get the definitive “ The Song,” an outline for all young aspiring artists. Do you want chipmunk-voiced jazz-fusion rock? It exists here in the song “Marshmallow Holiday For The Somewhat Old.” No musical genre is from the LuMP! In “Mature As Shit” we see the LuMP exercise their fight to self-edification. “Lemon Peel Mmm (Live At Altamonte)” shows the LuMP’s diversity. This time they tackle that hippie psychedelic stuff. Like WOW! Man. “When Cheese Could Slalom” is a perverted little fairy tale that makes Mr. Pooky oh so-so happy. Hah! Hah! Hah! I think “What – Do You Glow In The Dark” was originally written for the TV show, Les Monsters In Tyrannyville, but I’m not sure. Investigate if you wish. “I Like Shit” shows the complicated and intense recording process that the LuMP go through to ensure that every song comes out sounding perfect. Many people do not realize how much time and effort must be spent in order to make a hit record. Thanks for the insight guys. With “X Marks The 24th Letter Of The alphabet,” we see the dedication the LuMP has to promote education for the youth of today. What about tricks? Well, the LuMP is up to it again with “Juliana Hatfield – Callous Bitch.” They hit the phones again and by actually calling the famous singer, we get her impression of the LuMP. Why does everyone have the same general response to a phone call from the LuMP? Why can’t we all just love these guys?
“Alacrity In Th City” shows LuMP’s cultural diversity in the reggae mode – Mon. Everybody happy? Hey did you ever wonder what would happen if you called Mark Prindle? Listen to “Proletarian Peanut Proclamation” and find out.
Now for my favorites……
Pancreas – It’s heavy and a brain trip at the same time. Twistin’ my melon, man.
Spleen – The vocals are mooaann and are so cooool. The guitars would make Sonic Youth cream in their pants.
Meat Grinder Mania – Once again it’s the guitars man, the guitars – chaotic, but yet still brilliant. I really fear for the future of Thurston Moore.
Journey To The Soul – This is a sample… This is a sample… This is a sample…
Ol’ Balk Stevenson – Once a baseball fan, always a baseball fan. This one is a “serious” ballad to boot.
Bob Costas And The Magical Christmas Egg – It rocks. It rolls. It has a chipmunk guest vocal and all. A true holiday favorite.
The Brilliant Page Of History – It was composed to inform you of the inspiration and musical fortitude that went into the making of this record. Don’t think. Just worship. In LuMP we trust!
OVERALL RATING: 9-9 Isn't that an R.E.M. song?
More than anything, a LuMP album is EPIC in every way - in length, in humor, in noise, etc. etc. But above all, LuMP is about FUN and LAUGHING YOUR ASS OFF. I swear, this thing is so funny, I put it on late last night before I went to bed (on headphones, mind you, the best way to enjoy an album) and just couldn't stop laughing. Even the thought of that photo on the cover makes the crack up. Now, whereas I could list every single song and comment upon it (like a lot of people just did) that would be pretty pointless so I'll just note the parts that I liked the best:
One of the biggest standout tracks is "Truck-Drivin' Cowpoke Eisenhower Companion", which proposes the hilarious idea that campaign buttons of 'I Like Ike' in truth say 'I Like Ike...Up the Rear'. "Lemon Peel Mmm (Live At Altamont)" is a decent song, but the intro, with someone screaming "Low-Maintenance Perennials" over the concert announcer sampled from the Doors album, is even better. Probably my favorite LuMP song ever is now "When Cheese Could Slalom", with some hilarious commentary and a nice melody. I'm disappointed that "Manholes...Ooh, I Gotta Tell Ya...Ouch!" only lasts a few seconds because it's actually pretty damn good, but oh well. Further songs I can't help but laugh aloud at are "Ampersand Is Rocking Detroit" and "Ol' "Balk" Stevenson", the latter of which features incredibly stupid and funny dialog from two young hooligans making fun of old rednecks. But perhaps the funniest moment on the album is "I Like Shit", with the brilliant rhyme "I like shit/it's a really good word/it rhymes with 'it'/and it's better than 'turd'". It's odd how absolutely nothing on the recording-portion of that track actually makes it into the final mix, except for the singing, of course...
Oddly enough, aside from those tracks (and some of the other more coherent songs) I actually found myself skipping tracks to hear the little in-between track jokes, like where someone would call up Mark on the phone and leave a demeaning message or someone would play back a tape of an old announcer and scream "Low-Maintenance Perennials". It's all some good shit. And I like shit.
* Chicago XX: Chicago's Greatest Hits -
Maxell 1997. *
First of all, I never thought this record would happen. See, after Jurassic, I didn't dang ol' live in Norcross anymore, not even for summers off! Then I done moved to drattin' New Dork City, and a follow-up seemed even that much less eminent. But then, I'll be shooted if I wasn't enjoying a delightful weeklong visit to my birthplace in March of 1997 (three and a half years after the "release" of Jurassic Park) when Mr. Matt Murray, at a table at Shoney's restaurant at about eleven o' clock in the evening, interrupted another predictable self-congratulatory shoot the breeze session by putting forth the proposition that you can petition the Lord with prayer. I shouted back, "You CANNOT petition the Lord with prayer!" So he suggested that we do a new Lump album instead. Not one to argue with genius, I said what the fuq.
Problem was, was that a NORMAL Lump album would be out of the question becuzzin I was only in town for one week, and that cock Matthew Terrebonne (who's not a cock) was spending most of his time either working or hanging out with that broad Corinna that he was dating. So an arrangement was struck. Christian and Matt Murray brunged all their equipment over to my parent's villa in the Caribbean (Danbury Village), so I could lay down basic tracks during the day. Then at night we'd grab Terrebonne if available and add some guitar interplay boopshedoo to some of his original compositions. Then after I left at the end of the week, Christian and Matt and friends of all would come in and finish the tape with overdubbed rock action and vocals and whatnot. So that's what we did! I had lots of likable melodies saved up from all those wasted years at college, so I got a-crankin'. Then we recorded some stuff at night and blah blah blah. The end result was... well, another tape my girlfriend hates.
But I like it! See, there comes a time in every band's life when it has to stop acting like a goddemm baby and grow up a shittle. Now, I ain't suggestin' that the Lump has become a big ol' serious angst rock machine, but I tells ya what - this is the first tape we've recorded since we all got out of school (Christian and I graduated, and Matt dropped out), so a sense of at least MUSICAL maturity was bound to creep through, regardless of all the offensive and stupid lyrics. We actually sound like REAL musicians (albeit completely hyperactive ones)! First of all, we've got lots of REAL bass guitar on there, plus some cool drumbeats from Terrebonne's new drum machine. And Christian (and don't pass out here) can SING now!!! And do so he does so! Not just la-de-da singin' like me either, but actual vocal MELODIES that he took the time to write and contract and leaf through the wings of change and dearth of white lies in today's modern music miranda. Crazy stuff he does! "They caaaaaaaaall it a palindrome!" for example. You ain't gonna find that kinda singin' brains on any other Perennial release!
And what is that? Well, for some reason, the production's a lot better. Christian says that it's because he mixed it through speakers instead of through headphones. It might also be because we didn't fill every nook and cranny with annoying noises. I don't know.... It's just that, unlike all our other tapes (with the exception of Condom? What Condom?), Chicago XX as a whole sounds not like a silly joke party with beer and sex, but like an actual album, with a whole bunch of SONGS. Not a big stuck-together collage of circus noises like Jurassic, but a bunch of really really great independent songs, separated by actual SILENCE between tracks!!!! That's the first time we've ever done that!
And another first? Are you ready? NO FILLER. We actually recorded too much material for the tape, so we were able to pick and choose the stuff we liked best. This "stuff we liked best" includes a lil' smooth modern R'n'B ("I Wish People Wouldn't Take Drugs"), a dab of horsecrap pop ska (we did a terrible No Doubt parody called "Clothesline" that ended up sounding so sincere and non-jokey that we retitled it "Piece Of Shit" to make our point a bit more clear), a flap o' cool funk ("I Believe All Women Should Have The Right To Decide Whether Or Not To Have An Abortion," which actually is funky, without even really trying to be like "Grilled Cheese Moon" or any of those other early tunes), a clink of ambient electronica ("Who'da Thunk Billy Graham Was A Pedophile?"), a flop of goodtime college acoustica ("I Like Dogs"), a mirnk of Counting Crowes-esque angstolia ("Canteen Full Of AIDS Blood"), a pjornl of twisty guitar existentialism ("Henry The Vegetarian Fellow"), and just trucks and trucks and trucks full of hardcore punk, high-speed guitar pop, and really offensive lyrics. I won't apologize, though. Going out on a limb this time, I decided to actually examine the sickest of my inner emotions (racism, sexism, misanthropy, etc.), and take everything to the extreme. It's TWISTED! To the extreme!!!
Yes, we're kidding. No, we're not the hateful bastards we make ourselves out to be on this tape. (Song titles include "I Hate Everybody, Especially Homeless People," "Do Handicapped People Have Any Idea How Much Of A Pain In The Ass They Are?," and "All Women Are Lesbos.") But every once in a while, you just have to sit down and say, "Why do I feel these things? Where does all this hate come from?" Then you gotta make a joke out of it and call it art. So, speaking for myself, I'd say that this just edges out Jurassic to stand tall, don't you fall, as our finest recording of all time, and would have been our finest by a longassshot if we'd had more than a week to collaborate on it. See, the whole "song" thing is kinda tired. I would have preferred to take the time to come up with a ridiculously confusing way to present the songs (interpolating songs into the middle of other songs, never really having any breaks, etc. etc. like Jurassic but doubly inaccessible), but if you're lookin' for a diverse group of catchy aggressive songs, hey man, there ain't no better place to look. And there's a little bit of awfully funny stuff on the tape too, though for the most part we don't sound like we're kidding at all (the melodies are all so serious-sounding, and there's none of that "good time Lump party atmosphere" the kids would dig if any of them would ever listen to our crap). I love it. It rocks my ass. Rock, ass, rock!
Is it okay for me to love my own creation? I hope so, because I do. We three really gave it our all, or at least half. Send me a blank tape and I'll show you what rock of the '90s is all about! We ain't no joke. As far as I'm concerned (and I am concerned, dammit), this is one of the best six albums of 1997, up there with The Flaming Lips' Zaireeka, Ween's The Mollusk, The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking, The Fall's Levitate, and Negativland's Dispepsi. Call me stupid and full of myself if you want, but it's not EASY to create music that completely pleases you. Especially on home equipment. But we did it. And I love it, and will continue to love it. It may not have the wild messy poopsoup atmosphere of guitar noise and chit-chat that envelopes Jurassic from end to end, but all the songs are so darned GOOD!
Of course, now Terrebonne lives in Boston so this'll probably be the last one. Unless we get signed!!!!!
This is Elma Dee's finest hour, so why is there no mention of Elma in the liner notes? These new drumbeats, along with almost mistake-free playing and the new vocal approach from Christian help propel this one to greatness.
As far as the maturity thing you talked about, well, I still think the lyrics are funny. Yes, the music is more mature, but the lyrics still had me laughing.
I think this is your best album. There is pretty much a consensus among people riding in my car that this is a great tape. "OJ Simpson", in particular, seems to be a listener favorite around these parts.
I can't get the chorus of "OJ" out of my head. Goddammit, I can't...and it's not my favorite song on here. "Dog On Frasier" has one of the most ripping guitar appearances they have ever done. I love Christian's singing (and the melody) in "Bob Spelled Backwards"--he should do it more often--I've heard the melody *and* the guitar line of that one somewhere before, but I just can't remember--who cares? I dig it...it's also nice to hear Mark clearly and forcefully yell "Suck my dick!" at the end of "Let's Put the X"..."Canteen Full Of AIDS Blood" is catchy, too. I heard it as a Bowie/Spacehog trip, though..."Lorp And The Pain" is funny--the right mix of salty and sweet...the "hidden track" (which, as near as I can make out, is "Secrets of the Incas") is really catchy, too--and has possibly the most inexcusably offensive lyrics they've ever written--what did you expect? Yanni? But how can I describe the ways that "Those Milk Commercials Are Funny" succeeds? This is a bona-fide hit single, folks! Do you hear the guitar line there? It RULES! The atonal vocal RULES! I wish they had repeated that guitar line all the way through, but it RULES!
Love the foldout, and the cover is their most tasteful ever, but it's a liiitle bit rehashed, and X's digital manipulation of the photos is getting too good--I missed some of the jokes until Mark pointed 'em out. But hey! Don't take this as bitching! I love this album, and give it a 10. It's more subdued than Tamara, but it's by far their strongest "work". You'll dig it like truffles.
So in finishing, great album. I can't really compare it to any of your other albums as i've never heard them, but that's life i guess.
n the positive side, I thought the music was great. All 200 or however many there were songs had unique and different music, and almost all the riffs were really kooool and really good. I'd definitely say that that was the best part (besides the song titles). There was one part that the drum machine got annoying though, I forget where. I THINK it was somewhere on the beginning of side 2, the part with all the drum rolls over and over. It just didn't sound right. But anyway, back to the positives, I really liked the slower, more "alternative" sounding songs better. I think that's because on the really fast ones, and especially the short ones, the vocals and the music did not go together at all, or so I thought. Also, those songs tended to have worse vocals, more like some hillbilly yelling, while the slower, longer ones had singing that made more sense. Also, on the songs that were more of "talking songs", I definitely liked them when they were longer. Maybe it's because there were so many songs, that the short ones got lost, like they weren't long enough to belong. Mabye if there was less stuff? I don't know, that sorta makes sense to me cause I thought "Truca" was a great ending to side one (besides the secret song that I DID hear). Hmm, what else? I don't know. I thought some of the reoccuring themes for songs were good, except the "Ice Cream Man" stuff. I didn't like the slowing down and speeding up shit. I really didn't mention too many specific songs, did I? The Matt Pinfield stuff at the end was real good. As for the lyrics, I'd say that I really liked a lot of them, but some I didn't care for very much. I really can't say which songs were which, cause they're split half and half throughout the tape. I liked them more than I didn't though. I'll give you some of the ones I especially liked I guess: The first song, "AC/DC", "Working Classhole", "Truca", "Billy Graham", "Weekends are Bonus", "Ponytail in Public", "Milk Commercials are Funny", and "15 Minutes of Fame". Those were the most memorable for me, I guess.
All in all, I enjoyed it. It was at the very least fun to hear your stuff. It's better than anything that I can come up with. That's all I know. It's not exactly what I expected, but lemme know if you ever play any shows in the city this summer, I'd love to go. Hmm, what else? I think that might be all for now. I know what I said might have been a little too general, and the songs I said I like the most aren't exactly consistent with what I said I liked most in general, but those ARE my favorites, and what I said IS how I feel, generally speeking. I guess that's it.
So anyway, what two CDs would you most recommend I buy after Chicago? If the next two CDs are half as good as Chicago, eight dollars would be well spent.
Luckily, you and I have gotten to hear one of those bands.
The Low-Maintanence Perennials. Chicago XX: Chicago's Greatest Hits. Ah, yes. This is one of those albums that can make you laugh out loud, ejecting cranapple juice from your nostril onto your vinyl cusion, just as it's rocking your proverbial socks off. Quite simply, it's the Pet Sounds of the sarcastic Georgian early-twenties set.
It's like if the creators of South Park made an album. Only it's funny.
Where to begin? I'll try the beginning. "Oh, the Helpfulness of a Clock" is a good song. But "That Dog on Frasier" is better; a hydraulic, glistening guitar riff duels with a pounding industrial (Casio-esque) drum assult, while the vocalist waxes poetic on the merits of TV canines. "Ice Cream Man: Introduction and Overture" recasts the classic Van Halen tune as a tape-warped bass workout, like Cliff Burton's "Pulling Teeth", only without the decapitation. "I Hate When Old Records Go 'Kihh!'" and "Postmodern Fish--Alternative to What?" are both funcore masterpieces that refuse to leave your head. "All Women are Lesbos" strikes a valid note in these days of hunger and malice. Pat Robertson's favorite must be the tender ballad "Lorp and the Pain", an ironic meditation on the validity of religion in a world in which children call people "retard" and "cripple". "I Believe All Women...".....
Hold on. I just looked at the track list, and I realised I have 38 more songs to go. Should I name-check them all? What would be the point? It's 90 minutes of humor, immersed in brilliance and peppered with fake drums. It just may be the best rock album of 1997. If I owned a record company, I'd sign these guys in a minute, and proceed to lose millions of dollars.
Albums are either good, or they're not. This one is.
The only punk I have really been exposed to before this CD is this christian neo-punk everybody listens to these days. What they call punk-rock now is sort of a crappy oxymoron, but if the older stuff is more like some of the songs on this album, I think I shall delve into it a bit.
"That dog on Frasier" has a wonderful guitar tone, and the atmospheric pop of "Lorp and the pain" and "I wish people would n't take drugs" hints at something missing from most of your other songs, and who could not enjoy the epic "O.J. Simpson"????
Side two however, was a real letdown - the sexual innuendo suite ( lets put the X into...) was hilarious - but the album totally loses me after that, memorable song titles disguising forgettable songs, oh well...
Don 't get me wrong, there's some brilliant guitar playing here and your music is a refreshing change from other "90's rock" - which I personally think is 95% shit ( that's why I'm a techno fanatic) but too much of those little humorous ditties gets really tiresome after a while - and there's just too much monotonous punk energy for my tastes.
I won't say any more though - I could n't play a guitar to save myself!!! and I admire any-one who can get off their butt and record music! so I'll give it a generous 6.
You see, the thing about this album is that you can't really enjoy it as music. The tones, while gloriously fuzzy and distorted, are so swarmed together in a mass of out-of-tune dung that any melodies that attempt to escape this audial tornadoe die on the way out. And the vocals, while extremely creative and fuckin' hilarious, seem so completely unrehearsed and out-of-time with the song that I've arrived at the conclusion that this isn't music: it's art. Art so interesting. Art so destructive. Art so pure and inescapibly reflective of our merry-go-round world that it leaves you reeling for days.
It doesn't matter what the lyrics are. It doesn't matter what the music is. Hell, it doesn't even matter if someone enjoys dogs "up the rear" or contemplates the moral issues of lesbianism. This is all at once disturbing and funny. Interesting and moronic. The most beautiful thing you've ever heard, and at the same time the worst pile of feces ever forced on unsuspecting air molecules in the entire history of man. As a portion of the athiest/existentialist/dadaist segment of our American culture, I can proudly stand up and say "Now, at last, someone has finally made a piece of music that acurately reflects the brown-stained smearage of plastic that is our society. Dig in and don't finish until you start throwing up!
Oh, and why isn't "Most Weather Sucks (My Ballsac)" on the CD? I was really looking forward to that!!!
Oh the helpfulness of a clock- I recommend you throw your clock away, as time is unimportant when listening to a LuMP record.
That dog on Frasier- Hey guess how long it takes the LuMP to insult someone on this record? (a) 2 hours, (b) 2 minutes, (c) 2mins. 47 sec., (d) 2 days, (e) all of the above. Send your answers to… email@example.com
I hate when old records go ‘kihh!’- This song reminds me of that Dramarama song off of Box Office Bomb – It’s Still Warm, which is a good thing.
Postmodern Fish- Ever drink grape Kool-Aid? It creates electric green ones…
All women are lesbos- At least all men want to believe this is true.
Larp and the pain- Larp is good, and I believe there is a message here. I’m not sure just what it is though.
I believe all women…- Sounds like firehose on a weird, twisted acid-trippin’ joyride.
Having sex with a girl- …is especially fun if it’s a real one.
AC/DC’s latest album…- Don’t you hate it when bands regroup and they just don’t sound as good as they used to? It never works so why do they all have to try it. It’s like musicians and heroin. It never ends in anything positive. Oh well… sometimes you do have to beat a dead horse.
Theme from PBS special…- I’ve never heard anything like this on public television before.
I hate everybody…- Angry, angry, angry – Move over Rollins. There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is LuMP.
I like dogs- Ah… acoustic guitars are so pleasant. Every dog I played this song for has been placated by its soothing charm. Hey did you know that dog spelled backward is god?
What the hell’s a baby part 1 and 2- Reminds me of Paper Bag’s I Smoked Dope With Judge Ginsberg.
Henry the vegetarian fellow- Oh, but I love the beefy vine with a little salt and lime. Or is that Jose Cuervo? I don’t man, just bring me more drinky…
Having sex with a boy- …is almost most as fun as having sex with a girl.
O.J. Simpson- Now why not have a LuMP song about O.J.? I mean everybody else cashed in on his “misfortune.” And who better to exploit a media frenzy than the LuMP? Now this song is unique, however, in that it is epic length clocking in at 7:10. That’s right 7:10. Woah! Listen to the group vocal. I laughed out loud.
Trucca- It’s too short to truncate.
Crunchy death secrets…- Reminds me of that Galaxie 500 song, Fourth of July. Go buy the record and compare it for yourself. Next to Mark Prindle, Dean Wareham is my favorite guitarist.
Piece of shit- It’s just so funky, like an early eighties pop hit. 99 sez luft-balogna! LuMP it up 80’s style. Be sure to include a full assortment of deli meats.
Alcohol solves problems- Sure does... just ask the Butthole Surfers.
Bob spelled backwards…- Do you remember that They Might Be Giant’s song, I Palindrome I? That was an awesome song. So is this one. Hey did you know that god spelled backwards is dog?
Leaves of ass…- I sound my barbaric YAWP! – Damn! That sweaty toothed madman is always good.
Who’da thought Billy Graham…- This song is proof that not everyone should go to church on Sunday.
Weekends are bonus- Latin lesson: bonus = boner
Do handicapped people…- Language conversion: bubblebutt = whelliebutt Is this song politically correct? No, its LuMP!
Corbin Bernson…- Trivia quiz kids: What uniform number did Corbin’s character wear in the smash hit movie, Major League? Send your answers to… firstname.lastname@example.org
Finicky guy with two thumbs- All wait staff can empathize with this one. Yo, gargoyle, more food! Now bring me more drinky…
Getting my cavity filled- You are a talented songwriter. Who else can rhyme handjob and ramrod in the same song?
Canteen full of aids blood- Don’t sing this one around the campfire on a camping trip. I think I heard them cover this song on that TV show Salute Your Shorts… or was I just having another blackout? I don’t know man. Bring me more drinky…
Having sex with a lesbian- Sex, sex, sex, sex, Essex, sex, more sex, xxx. Is there anything else more entertaining?
Those milk commercials- This one made my body feel good!
Our fifteen minutes of fame (edited for time)- Now hold on a cotton-picking minute! Andy will not be happy with this one. We all need… no; we all have to have our full fifteen minutes. Crispin Glover stole my gold telephone so now I can’t call God and complain to him about it either! Hold on. Wait a minute. I just realized something. We’re dealing with the LuMP time conversion chart. (1 minute LuMP time = 6.92 minutes real time) It’s all okay! Hooray! Hooray! Now where’s that damn elevator with Nico in it?
Ice cream man--coda- “Led Zepplin? Oh yeah. I like him real good. Got all his records, ‘specially like that there Stairway to Heffun.” I like Hairway to Steven better and so do the LuMP. Hey wouldn’t it be cool if the LuMP put out a record with no song titles. Now that would be 74 minutes or mayhem, but the kind of mayhem I’d like to see.
Jinx has pimples- How many names can you think of for THE male appendage? Send your answers to… email@example.com
Well there it is boys and girls, the final LuMP record to review? Perhaps… but remember… there are always Mark’s solo projects.
Reins must be traded in any long haul; no one mind can incessantly impart novelty. The LuMP were like this, though we didn't know it. From the first, our egos wrestled for dominance: I insisted we record some of my songs even though they weren't half as funny, or half as poppy, or half as peppy. Mark homogenized our sound with a mercilessly flat guitar tone and, during one period, a zealous attachment to his delay pedal. Matt continually pushed for slower, dirgier, minorish noodlings. And Elma never seemed to shake that 4/4 bass-snare-bass-snare beat. On the other hand, we each had enough confidence and prescience to allow foreign expression to creep into our personal agendas: Matt's somber melancholy became infused with grandstanding Prindle theatrics. Mark found new joy in the wickedly bent timbres I produced, eventually becoming more attached to noise than I had ever been. I discovered that relaxing my iron production grip often resulted in innovative anarchy far more intriguing than any amountof proficiency or polish.
This album is about all those things. Youth, structure, light, chaos-a bunch of nouns indicating a considerable range of feeling and accomplishment. We want you to laugh at these songs, or tap your toe, or be confused, or be energized. Most satisfying of all to me is that there is a "LuMP sound," and it's not just the fake drums and surreal obscenities. It's the one overarching concern which permeates every untelegraphed change: you must be interested. We must capture you; your attention is our target. Say what you like about us, Chicago XX even more than Jurassic Park is full of an insane, desperate struggle to challenge and involve.
It's there in "Henry the Vegetarian Fellow," a tumorous effusion from the tissue of Jurassic Park's "Dicknose." It's there in "Postmodern Fish" as the anxious feedback and nerve-screeching chord chunks of Matt and myself threaten (some say manage) to overwhelm Mark's far-from-fragile melody. It's there in "Those Milk Commercials Are Funny" or "Alcohol Solves Problems." Everywhere, you hear us trying to keep you amused. Sometimes, of course, we falter and fail. Everyone who listens to Chicago XX can find a place where the clown-act's manic grin feels forced, or the blistering rock aggression staggers toward incoherence. Not every note is the right note, and some steps are missteps.
But this album is ninety minutes long. It was recorded and overdubbed and mixed and remixed (and remixed and remixed and remixed, some songs as many as eight times) in a total work time of about 60 hours. It probably takes the Rolling Stones that long to find comfortable chairs. Doing it fast is no excuse for doing it wrong, but doing it fast and still getting so much right is impressive.
I won't tell you which songs to listen for, because this is your album now (heck, the ones I mentioned above aren't even my favorites). Sure, we made it for us: the production gimcrackery and lyrical smartmouthing were prerequisites to keep us interested. But art is about assimilating another view, finding a disjunct set of priorities and giving up your own personal history in its favor. Those soaring moments when art makes you feel huge and limitless-at least I hope you've had this experience-those moments are not when philosophy is on parade. They are simple. They show another mind, and its struggle to express.
I am not claiming anything important for us. Just that we have done our utmost, our personal goddamn best, to do something truly affirmative. Modern radio and record stores are far, far too full of bands whose sense of worth is based on achieving smoothness, universality, and "chops." No no no! The artist's job is not to reiterate points whose fullest expression is of dubious value anyway. You say, "Where haven't we gone?"
And then you go there.
I know I haven't said much about the album. Here: it's rock'n'roll, strongly punk-influenced, but with occasional smatterings of other styles swirled in. It's frequently fast, loud, and angry, but sometimes none of those. Maybe it sounds like Ween, or the Butthole Surfers, or the Cows. Maybe not. It tries to be young and vital, mature and polished, and sounds just as confused as that seems. Wears its brain on its sleeve. Laughs at pain and profanity. Hates complacence.
See? You simply can't sum music with words, big or little. So here, finally, is what every positive record review has ever said (between the Greil Marcus quotes and high-flown diction): I like this album. Many of my friends do too. I think you will too, though almost assuredly not for the same reasons, or to the same extent. But try it out.
In every instant we are trying harder than usually thought possible. And surprise-we succeed a startling percentage of the time. Can you hear how much we love music? Matchbox 20 don't even like themselves.
We're trying to be an antidote.
(Below is a list of technical notes that Christian put together - he didn't ask me to post them, but I did anyway, so read them if you want to!)
"Oh, the Helpfulness of a Clock"
The first track recorded during the Chicago sessions, with Mark playing the main melody line. As soon as we were done recording, he overdubbed a second lead and a bass. August sessions added my piano "riff." Like most of the songs on Chicago, we didn't know which lyrics would go with this one until after all the basic tracks were down, when Mark and I linked words with music.
"That Dog on Frasier"
Originally a Prindle serious song about a girl (shock!), this appeared on his solo tape produced by me as "Rest." Even back then I thought the riff totally kicked arse, but the production certainly didn't show it. I first edited this on my computer, but I couldn't get it loud enough without adding ugly digital distortion. The first analog mix for Chicago was VERY heavy, which made it seem much less punky. I wish the cymbals didn't distort, but ah well.
"Ice Cream Man"
From the second day of Chicago sessions, with Chris Noble playing bass and Mark manipulating the pitch control as he sings. Noble had no idea this distortion was going on.
"I Hate When Old Records Go 'Kihh!'"
From day three of the Chicago sessions, this is essentially a Prindle solo tune. He plays both guitars and the bass. Due to improper grounding, Mark's volume knob makes that squealing noise from the beginning and end, and those tiny bursts of feedback between notes of the chorus. The original vocals were done at Matt Murray's house at around midnight, waking one of his roommates. Oops. Several months later, I resang it with less effect on my voice so that I could make the song a bit less muddy.
"Postmodern Fish--Alternative to What?"
From day one, with all the principals present. One guitar each is played my Mark, Matt, and myself (Mark playing the melody), with the bass overdubbed by Mark the next day. The original mix was much groovier but sacrificed Mark's hyper guitar shenanigans, so I remixed it. It took me about ten takes to get a version of the final imprecation that sounded just right without clipping.
"All Women Are Lesbos"
One of the last songs we recorded on day four, when I decided there wasn't enough punk on the masters. This music is from an Iris Daylillies song, but MUCH faster. The lyrics came, with a slight change, from a track of the same name also from the Daylillies era. It's a total in-joke, so don't feel bad that you can't hear Matt Murray's wondrous delivery.
"Lorp and the Pain"
From the first session, Mark again playing guitar and bass and singing harmony with himself. The flanged-up, distorted-out bass was originally much louder, which nearly ruined the song. This mix is far less like Jurassic Park than that one.
"I Believe All Women etc."
From the second day, this track features Matt's new drum machine and two tracks of crazysexycool bass from the Terrebonnemeister. To me it sounds like a modern Fall track, what with its dance beat, catchy simple bass, and distant jangly guitar motif. The swishy noise is a maraca made of aluminum foil and salt played inside a metal bucket. I was too embarrassed to sing the lyrics, so I made Matt Murray do it. He chose such a perfectly funny voice, that I no longer think the lyrics are hateful at all. They're just so overstated.
"Having Sex with a Girl"
Lyrics written while Mark was taking a shower. Music stolen from the ID and sped up. Terrebonne's acoustic guitar added much later to give some edge to the chord changes.
"I Wish People Wouldn't Take Drugs"
From day three, with all principals present. Terrebonne runs the wah, Mark plays keyboards and operates the drums, and I played bass. Matt's girlfriend Corinna sings this one, with Mark taking over at the end for the second section, which was originally a different song. I overdubbed the second bass as soon as we had finished. I dumped Matt's guitar down and back on to bring it right to the bleeding edge of clipping.
"AC/DC's Latest Album"
The music comes from the early LuMP song "Why Not Shorten Probably to Prob'ly?" but is in a totally different rhythm in order to fit the drums. Mark's added bass guitar makes it sound more like a punk tune than it is. Frequent LuMP guest Dave Merrill lends his bitter tone.
"Theme from the PBS Special"
When Mark played me the riff from this one, I told him that it sounded like Appalachian music. He obliged by writing lyrics to go to it within thirty seconds. Recorded on the first evening, this track is another near-solo Prindle deal, with him playing both guitars and pumpy bass. I added washboard and pigcalls much later.
"I Hate Everybody"
From the second evening, this riff was developed by Matt and Mark on the spot. Two heavy distorted basses and two chunky guitars make for a wild ride. The swing drum breaks and samba whistle were my contribution, as was the speed change.
"Most Weather Sucks (My Ballsac)"
This was originally a composition by Mark's band Lima, but their drummer was incapable of maintaining the punk speed for very long, so whenever they played it, it would slow down drastically after the first verse. Mark emulated this in a solo composition from day three, making my keyboard overdub a real hassle. In revenge, I only wrote one keyboard part that plays throughout the song, even though Mark plays about twenty different things. This only adds to the queasy disorientation of the song.
"I Like Dogs"
A Terrebonne number from day two, with Mark's bass guitar and my preposterous drum machinations. Matt added another two guitars later. Originally this was going to build to a sort of "concrete soundscape" with various chopper noises, small arms fire, and other Vietnam-like samples, sort of like the first song on the Wartime album. I decided against this and replaced it with five tracks of my voice.
"What the Hell's a Baby?"
Tracked down on the second evening, this song is by me. I play the note lead, and Mark and Matt provided much-needed depth with other guitar bitsies. Several months later, unsatisfied with the emptiness of the song, I added the distorted punk bass.
"Baby Part Two"
Probably the least accessible song on the album! Each of the three of us plays a guitar, with a bass added later by me. There is virtually no melody at all, and the speed/key change at the end is unsettling.
"Henry the Vegetarian Fellow"
Another inaccessible number, co-written by Matt and Mark on day four. Terrebonne is really into slow dirgey numbers, and Mark is into weird note trills. I operated the strange, strange drum rhythm, and then later added unpredictable semi-harmonies with the vocals. What is going on here?
"Having Sex with a Boy (If You're A Girl Or Homosexual)"
Punk music stolen from the ID song "Jewelry" and put to better use. Another one of the last songs we recorded, it features a dumb Prindle hammer bit at the end!
Guitar played by Chris Noble was originally accompanied by a VERY messy delayed Prindle bass. Faced with the prospect of throwing the song off entirely, I eliminated the bass and added a Springsteen diatribe. The vocals were improvised by me as I sang them, except for the first line. The title of the song comes from a very early Prindle solo track.
The "epic" for Chicago, "O.J." was laid down by Mark solo during day three. Months later, I slapped on a little bass to make it seem fuller. The first minute of the song was truncated because it was sort of boring. The vocals are a combination of takes three and five, with backing vocals "flown in" from take two. Months later, Mark became disenchanted with the racist "joke" at the end, and changed the last two lines of the song. I resang them, added a great double-tracked scream, and got on with my life.
The last song recorded for Chicago, this wasn't done until October. Mark pressed the button on the keyboard, and we did the vocals. During the original master sessions, we had recorded a tinny version of this song that was going to feature overdubbed vocals for no reason.
Yet even yet months later, while remixing the album, I re-recorded the song myself. No big whoop.
"Crunchy Death Secrets Of The Incas" (bonus track at end of side one)
Following a rare yet depressing ten-minute "creative block," Mark developed a particularly dull metal riff to which Matt added a nearly as dull backing guitar line. I suddenly caught a whippersnapper of inspiration and wrote a simple 4-note harmonic bass line that Mark instantly fell in love with. We played our parts together and later I added some violent lyrics I had written. It was not originally slated to be on the album, but Mark loved the song so much, he insisted that I edit it down so that we could fit it at the end of side one. This is the only reason that the song is unlisted; we created the album cover before Mark convinced me to remix the song and include it.
It took two days to convince Matt's girlfriend Corinna to sing this song, but only two minutes for Mark and Matt to write the music. Intended to be a No Doubt parody, it instead sounds like a lousy attempt to break on radio. The first mix had Mark's guide vocals as a hilarious undercurrent, but I decided to replace them with my glossy backups. The song is supposed to end with a horn section playing a support riff I wrote, but technical problems prevented this. As a result, the sound is depressingly mono for the last third.
"Alcohol Solves Problems"
Another sludgy Terrebonne track, with a surprisingly Doors-like lead by Prindle. The stupid vocal delivery just adds more heavy vibes, especially during the "slowdown" at the end. In actuality, none of my vocals on this tape are pitch-bent; I just sing deeper here.
"Bob Spelled Backwards is Phenomenal"
I started the ball rolling on this one when I asked Mark and Matt to come up with "a straightforward rock song." While they riffed away, I searched for an appropriate drumbeat. And landed on this one. I broke the news to them gently, and the rock song became a weird anthem with astoundingly full guitars. Terrebonne's hammery note holds are especially cool. Mark's lyrics were written without line breaks or rhymes, so I experimented until I came up with a sort-of odd vocal line.
"Leaves of Ass By Walt Shitman"
Mark's bid to prove he could write a ZZ Top song and then play it faster than them was tracked down by him alone on day three, hence the false start. On the lyrics sheet it originally said "Autoharp solo in 6/7 time" but I had a bit of trouble making one. So instead I wrote an excuse why it wasn't in the song and had pal Mike Doyle read it. In a burst of typical unplanned LuMP energy, I grab the mike from him and yell "Oh don't you know it baby!" at the end.
"Who'da Thunk Billy Graham Was A Pedophile?"
Mark recorded this one solo on day three as well, playing this guitar line in a fashion totally foreign to him. He probably expected me to go noise this track up, but instead I just added "atmospheric" percussion tracks and suave read lyrics by Richardson Jackson.
"Weekends are Bonus"
The second track recorded for the Chicago sessions, Mark altered his usual hyperactive style with the dumb bridge. Chris Noble overdubbed vocals on day two, and I added the descending/ascending keyboard noise in July. Terrebonne's bit is the smooth bass which starts the track, also done in July.
"Cute Things Are Inherently Better Than Ugly Things"
Based on a Prindle solo tune, Matt's note-playing guitar gives this track real backbone. We couldn't seem to get a mix of this that Mark and I liked: I did the vocals four times before he ever heard it, and again after that. The drums originally were supposed to carry all the bass, but ended up not providing the requisite smoothness, so I added a bass guitar.
"Let's Put The X Back In Xmas"/"Let's Put The Ween Back In Halloween/"Let's
Put The Arbor Back In Arbor Day"
Bass by Prindle and feedback by Chris Noble made for a horrendous cut-throat listening experience. Two wicked guitars were added by Terrebonne, and I only faded them up for a few seconds! Mark's vocals originally were attached to different music (all three songs were once separate tunes), so I dumped them off and back on.
Backwards-reverb guitars performed solo by Mark on day two. Mostly he just dicked around; I edited off a minute and half from the beginning. Later, I added a punky bass bit. Matt Terrebonne was told he was adding a guitar solo about ten seconds before I hit record, which is why it flings all over the place with a casual disregard for tonality.
"Corbin Bernson And The Unlikely Career"
Using the music from the ID song "Greenpeace Guy," Mark and Matt created a skippy little number. I like my vocal delivery in this one, especially considering I wrote it in about a second.
"Finicky Guy With Two Thumbs"
Originally, this came right out of "Proactive Revenge". However, the transition took too long so I dumped it. This is more of that "classic" Mark/Matt interplay, this time from day two. Had I been able to find instruments for rent, this song would've had a didjeridoo and a zither in it.
"I Can't Wear a Ponytail in Public"
As befits the subject matter, this was first sung by Mark. But the reverb used made it impossible to turn up the guitars for fear of burying the vocals, so I had to redo it. A VERY distorted Terrebonne guitar lick just adds to the fun.
"Getting My Cavity Filled"
A very poppy Prindle tune from day three receives the Terrebonne treatment, with a little sparkly guitar line almost buried in the mess. Falsetto backing vocals improvised by me support some wispy work by Matt Murray.
"Proactive Revenge Kicks Ass"
At first I didn't like this tune, but after a while that hyperspeed guitar line grows on you. Mark and I spent quite a few minutes getting the backwards bass right, and now you can barely hear it. Terrebonne windmills some chords into the mix.
"Canteen Full of AIDS Blood"
Though it's supposed to have a cello at the end, the production on this one nevertheless kicks butt. This is the last tune the full group recorded at the master sessions. Essentially a Terrebonne solo tune, the keyboard is Mark's only contribution. I did a better job at recording the various acoustic guitars than I probably should have been able to.
"Having Sex with a Lesbian (If You're A Lesbian)"
Not really punk, but a good facsimile. Mark's guitars, Matt's bass, and my gargly backing vocals all make a messy morass out of this number.
"Those Milk Commercials Are Funny"
Despite the presence of an irritating amount of hiss, this is a really catchy number from day four. Terrebonne's note run adds just the right quantity of boogie to Mark's main line. Not the best production on the tape, but the fact that even a weakly made song like this kicks so much butt is testament to the album's coolness.
"Our Fifteen Minutes of Fame (Edited For Time)"
This spoken-word attack on Matt Pinfield's name-dropping idiocy was the only way we could think of to salvage this dance number from the master sessions. Matt's bass skips along well, and the empty production is buried under a couple of really ugly voices.
"Jink Hates Pimples"
This strongass track from day four has some of the best production of any LuMP song ever. The kooky drumline by me and Mark and Matt's chorused distorted guitars all add up to some fun. A stereo note guitar added later by Matt is the first guitar sound we've ever had that sounds EXACTLY like I wanted it to. In order to maintain the hypnotic feel, Mark and I tried several different singing approaches, including a very screamy one. We settled on this, which is no great shakes but doesn't distract from the guitars.
So yeah. This one's earned a permanent spot on my CD shelf. I'll put it right next to Peter, Paul, and Mary!
On the subject of singing, I'd like to point out in my defense that my vocals all sucked and that bastard Christ Smith wouldn't let me re-record them after I heard how bad they were. I can actually sing okay now, and I can do a decent Glenn Danzig impression-this meaning the old Glenn Danzig, and not the one that just yells into a distortion pedal, whom anyone can do a decent impression of-and yet I'll probably never get the chance now, with the ding-dang band all scattered across the damn country, instead of making more irritating music.
Let me digress once more to point out that the Dystopia version of "Glenn Danzig Sings in my Church Choir" features Prindle calling him "Glann Dinzig," because he wasn't paying any damned attention to what he was saying.
I miss the LuMP being around, even though I know Jack T. Shit, publisher of fine religious comics, about making music. Of course, when I do sit in on a song, it's...well, I'm one of the most easily embarrassed people in history, so what happens? I get all the songs about abortions and butt sex. Still, it was something that was cool to have going on around you. They did in fact write some really cool and fucked-up songs. "Dog on Frasier" makes me want to go running around a Wal-Mart with a pair of hammers, bashing the living crap out of all their merchandise, even more than I usually do. The lyrics to "Billy Graham"...well, me and a couple of other guys were in the room when these were read into the mike for the master recording, trying not to burst out laughing all over the vocal track like the bunch of total unprofessionals we are. I cannot help but love the dog poop out of "Lorp and the Pain," especially since my current job working at a news station owned by that right-wing blowhard gasbag Rupert Murdoch, a job which would cause Jello Biafra to personally crap in my mouth if he ever found out about it, allows me to hear nightly reports of people praising God every time something terrible-yet not as terrible as it MIGHT have been-strikes their lives. Fucking Christians.
To the guy who said that the LuMP aren't as important as Mark thinks they are, well, no; not to YOU, they aren't. But when you're doing something you really like doing, and do it just the way you've always wanted to, it takes on a meaning that the rest of the world can't experience. When Joey Ramone named the Ramones final album as his pick for best album of the year, he was being honest. If he didn't love that music, he wouldn't be making it. He'd be recording the brilliant "Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking part 2" with Roger Waters and Roger Waters' ego.
I miss Joey Ramone, as well, though that's a bit more final.
I am unfortunately not so far in on the in that I'm in a position to accidentally burn all the American Idol Audition tapes, or better yet, dub over the songs with LuMP material, but OOOOOH! if only. The world needs a band like the Perennials more than ever when we live in a world where the kids think it's cool to sing karaoke to the sort of tediously mediocre swill that their parents fall asleep to, and receive enormous recording budgets to be a sock puppet for some professional ballad-composing computer.
At least the LuMP is fucking trying! WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE? Huh? Motherfucker?
I have, of course, never put forth the notion that you can petition the "lord" with "prayer."
The bizzare spell checker on this computer just suggested I replace "fucking" with "Fucking." Technology will save us all.
The Penultimate Dystopia Of Obsession - Maxell 1999.
Well, okay, for a little while longer, if that's okay. See, the whole point of this box set is to create a huge ridiculous package (tons of "music," a book, some cheap merchandise and a video) dedicated to picking apart (in no particular order) the career of the most important artistic conglomerate in the history of the universe, the Low-Maintenance Perennials. But the book will take a while. Probably another year. The CDs, on the other hand, are coming along handily. Ha! And let me tell you something - it sucks. But it's hilarious too! Starts off with a "reunion" track, created by gathering the three surviving members of the Perennials (Elma Dee died of a marijuana overdose about two months ago) together in a studio with genius producer and Electric Light Orchestra founder Jeff Lynne to "sweeten" a fucking awful old song called "Teeth" that was originally supposed to be on Tamara, but was forced off to make room for the brilliant "Fritos Stole My Map." And, just for the record, this updated version of "Teeth" may very well actually be the final song ever recorded by the Low-Maintenance Perennials all in the same room, so cherish it while you can. Especially since I wrote both the words and music in less than two and a half minutes.
So, after "Teeth" brings a tear to your nose, you are plunged into the past, where you find early tracks by all three chief members, followed by about twenty-five minutes of horribly recorded pre-mixer Iris Daylilly and Perennial material that we felt you really SHOULD hear because all the songs are pretty darned entertaining but we never bothered re-recording them (classic titles include "I Hate Bad Things," "I Wanna Make A Movie About Chocolate," and "Can Dick Save Wang?"). Great songs, but sludgy like a tub of molasses (adding fake drums slowed down the music, for no good reason). After that, we lead you through another several hours of atrocious outtakes, alternate versions of Lump classics, live material, early works, solo projects from the self-proclaimed "Lump era" circa '91-'97, and even some brand new creations dredged up from the ashes of the Chicago sessions. It's funny! And pathetic too!
Kind of the polar opposite of Chicago XX, The Lost World presents the Perennials as a band who absolutely CANNOT write a good song. I know it sounds painful, but it really is very, very funny to hear things like the live version of "Mike Franklin" in which Matt's rhythm guitar isn't even close to being tuned, and you can't hear my lead at all. Or the version of "Jello, Iced Tea, And A Slab Of Fried Okra" that sounds like the tape recorder was four miles away from the band. Or how about the alternate version of "Black Hole" featuring a really happy keyboard line that fits in with the rest of the song about as well as Bobcat Goldthwaite might have fit into the lead role of Schindler's List? Ha! There's like 300 songs, and only like four of 'em don't suck ass!!!! Clap again and call us the jidiots we are. But DO take note that I put all of these songs on there for a reason. Some of them are so bad, they're funny. Some of them are so FUNNY, they're funny. Some of them are catchy early tunes that we never re-recorded for our official CDs. Some of them help demonstrate what we do in our free time away from each other. And some of them are the best darn solo tracks we've done!!!! Well, aside from my brilliant Nature's Smelly Ass CD, of course. See, we really DID get better and better through the years; we just don't give enough of a fuck to go out with any dignity. Keep the peace! And see if you can't get us signed, so we can afford to make more rock and roll music!
That said, there are literally HUNDREDS of really entertaining tracks on this thing. You get to hear the Iris Daylillies!! You get to hear what the LuMP sounded like live!!(really bad!!). Mark has been rhyming "fish" with "dish" and "cow" with anything else that rhymes with "cow" for about a decade and a half!! Matt's solo songs are really good!! Just tons of interesting and/or funny stuff. Too much to go into greater detail. I couldn't give this set any higher than a 6 however because there's just tons of boring filler. I mean, how many versions of "Shoe Church" does the world need? Even ONE is pushing it!! And don't forget all the silly keyboard instrumentals. And the 90 different takes of "Overpass."
In conclusion(the hallmark of a half-assed piece of writing), though I only gave this a six, I'm having a great time with these cds and my cd player's skip button. Oh and most of disc one is really really funny. OK I'm done.
The set starts off with the final reunion track of LuMP. The music is pretty bad. At least the ending of it is an absolute riot that cracks me up. After that, the tracks are a random mix of LuMP, Iris Daylillies, solo projects, Chrys N The Mums (aka Christian and Mark), and Sonic Butthole Dozer (improv LuMP).
First the bad, almost any track that is labeled live is unlistenable for one reason or another though most often usually bad sound. Too many versions of "OverPass", "...And Cars Whizz By", and "Shoe Church". Alternative versions of tracks that already appear on the primary LuMP albums are inferior. For example, "Oh, the Helpfulness Of A Clock" seems exactly the same as the album version except that it has the bass pumped at an insane level. Covers of other bands are pretty bad though "Nothings Shocking" is good for a giggle. Congrats guys, I've heard dozens of covers of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", but yours is by far the worst (well, unless you count that Meatmen song as a cover). Any track with the word pi/pie in the title are weak - I see why Mark cut them off the CD version of the Solo Album.
Now the good, there are some insanely funny tracks and some cool riffs.
"A Cow (the Birth of Rock and Roll)" has such stupid rhymes that is it is a delight. "Dr. Sjoblom" is the result if Weird Al did Motley Crue.
"I'm A Whiner" totally channels early Meatmen and is my favorite track in the box set.
"Livin It Up Like Eddie's Dad" I know from Mark's redo of it. If I heard the LuMP version first, I would have hated. However, as a parody of Mark's solo version, it is really funny. I can't think of another case of an artist taking a total goof of a song and turning it into a good serious song.
Now, I've heard the original "OJ Simpson" ending. Mark made a great decision in canning it and rewriting it. The one that appears on "Chicago XX" is much funnier.
Mark labeled "Football University" as the "weakest song the LuMP ever recorded". I disagree and find it funny.
"The original full-length coda to the solo album" really didn't deserve to be cut off the CD version as it is great. It was not easy, but if I was editing the CD version of the Solo Album, I'd restore it and throw off Bob Hope, Copious, and Waffles and there would be just enough room.
It has great ripoff versions of other artists and you never know what to expect next and is kinda like the silly version of "Hitler Was A Vegetarian".
A piece of advise for Mark about "non-existent track (i accidentally hit "record" on my cd recorder)". When you come up with a song title like that you sound like a doofus. :-) You see Ciccione Youth did the same thing but labeled it as "Silence" and pretended it was art. Mr. Bungle just didn't say anything about that 30 seconds of silence at the beginning of their album.
On to Disc 9, first, the words of Mark himself on it:
"Me and Christian doing 're-recordings' and 'reinterpretations' of 'classic' Lump material – I recorded my parts in NYC, then mailed the tapes to him, he added his parts and mixed ‘em down." The songs that I don't know are not too bad. As far as the rest of the album, you know how bands will say "we did this great remix of our last album". Well, this is the LuMP version of that.
Anyway, this review has dragged out about as long as the box set itself. I plan on extracting out my favorite tracks onto a single disc. I'll give that disc a solid 8.
The scary thing is that if this is the Penultimate, what's going to the be the Ultimate?
Mark Prindle's Bandcamp page - CDs only $1 each!
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