Daily Archives: May 25, 2009

124. Butthole Surfers – “Electriclarryland”

When looking at the CD shelves, I sometimes cringe at the choices there.  Often its not about the presence of particular artist, but rather the album chosen from within their discography.

The Butthole Surfers Electriclarryland album coverThis sole glimpse into the world of the Butthole Surfers is well and truly in that category.

I know they were supposed legends of the US underground, holders of the Dead Kennedys flame, more credible than The Ministry, more shocking than The Cramps. And I know after a decade and half of well-credentialed obscurity, they delivered this CD and rode a wave of fame on the back of the  Pepper single.

Pepper sits out there with tunes by Cake and Chumbawamba, as ridiculously catchy, and embarrassingly smile-inducing.  You sort of know you should sneer but you cant.

Of course, as to be expected, has nothing else like the hit.   Some of the punky stuff is fun and horribly dated.  The more grindy industrial ‘tunes’ are skip-worthy.

The band does show genuine pop sensibilities at time.TV Star could be a Dando track. Cough Syrup jumps genres intriguingly and effectively. Jingle of  a Dog’s Collar sees the B-52s take on Pavement.

I just suspect there was more of substance in their back catalogue.

File under: Arriving too late at the party

123. William S. Burroughs and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – “Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales”

This CD sits at the unusual intersection of literature, spoken word and music.

William S. Burroughs and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales abum coverThe music is fairly incidental and subtle relative to the verbal content.  It really just some beats, a bit of urgent, skivvy-wearing discordant horn blasts and some industrial samples.

Its the Burroughs poetry and imagery which totally dominates.  He verbalises excerpts from several of his works, and most of them are disturbing.  This is the world of mutants, extraneous body orifices and cruel, lawless states. 

I once fell asleep to this CD (deliberately – i.e. I had put it on at bedtime).  I had some of the most disturbing dreams as I internalised Burroughs’ dreamings.  I guess it’s cheaper than hallucinogens, but I would hope for prettier pictures. 

For the Michael Franti completists out there, this is by far his artiest work, and, I suspect, much more the results of Ronny Tse and Charlie Hunter’s efforts than his.

Ultimately this isn’t something I chuck on for a relaxing listen. It serves much the same purpose as having Burroughs on the bookshelf – as a testament to some feigned hipster Beat Poet phase that thoroughly failed to impress undergrad girlies back in the day, and now gathers dust.

File under: Art with an extra heart