dual pLOVER


Someone call me an ambulance...


VOLVOX - The Damage Begins At The Mouth

Youíve gotta get up on a pretty odd side of the bird cage to out-weird my music collection. Iíd never be so cocky as to say Iíve heard it all, but letís just say thereís enough aesthetic dents in my cerebrum to scare off even the Maaco people. Hearing "Uncle Meat" at age 12, "The Residentsí Commercial Album" at 17 and "The Wigmaker In Eighteenth Century Williamsburg" last year has forever warped me to the idea of "normal" or "bugged out." I can never tell anymoreÖwitness my decision to "get the party started" amongst a group of visiting friends by breaking out Miles Davisí "On The Corner" (hint: they came to Chicago to see Weezer).

Itís a funny thing when you live your life under the banner "Great art should be constantly punching me in the face," but after a while, youíre just not that easily fazed. Itís not that Iím jaded, but pots ní pans and funny voices just donít freak me out like they once did. Like a roller coaster junkie, looking for faster ní higher, itís that temporary sensory derangement that keeps me on the search. And like my first ride on the Magnum XL, my first time hearing Volvox, I realized that this one might tide me for a while.

Lester Vat of Australia was a pretty weird guy to start with, but then he fell through a glass ceiling (thereís a lesson in there somewhere, women of big business!) and suffered a neurological impairment of some sort that sends his body into a variety of spasms, I assume comparable to full-body Touretteís Syndrome. His singing resembles nothing so much as a member of Parliament (the policy-making body, not the funk band) taking the stand after six too many sherries and a handful of pills, mumbling and slurring in a most regal fashion. Age William Bennett forty years, conk him in the head a few times, stick a mic in his hand, and voila! He wouldnít be half as astute as Lester Vat, nor would he have Lesterís skill at hyping food products (check this lyric out: "Have you tried Lemon Fritz? Itís lemon, and itís fritzÖLEMON FRITZ!").

The band (one of whom was in an Alternative Tentacles band called Grong Grong at one time) do a bit of everythingÖabuse turntables, abuse upright basses, abuse cheap synths, abuse children (sorry, couldnít resist), and in general, punk the fuck out of the "Indeterminacy 1 and 2" blueprint.

"The Damage Begins At the Mouth" is an odds-and-ends collection, the tossaways of a short-lived band that only put out two records in its existence ("Bad Earth" has been rescued from edition-of-50 tape obscurity, also by dual pLOVER. At this time, the other Volvox release, "Pluto Pup and You" may not be so lucky). Naturally, questions like "does it hold together as an album" donít really apply here, since these songs spring into being as a reaction against coherence. Actually, itís almost more like a collection of would-be singles, in the sense that itís a set of 26 concise and unrelated thrills. And yes, I DO think "Bastardised Air Conditioner" could be a hit single. Who wouldnít find themselves singing along with a catchy chorus like this: "Thereís an air conditioner/in my throat/thereís an air conditioner/in my boat/thereís an air conditioner/in my brain."

The "American Idol" of my dreams sees the competition narrowed down to these finalists:

  • Lester Vat, Australia
  • Tom Smith, USA
  • Dave Phillips, Switzerland
  • Nate Young, USA
  • Adris Hoyos, USA

Öjust to see the look on Paula Abdulís face. My Ď80s-related traumas would vanish in one must-see two hour special presentation.

"Damage" is full of many such warped delights. If youíve ever desired to play Fernando Grillo and Van Halenís "Hot For Teacher" simultaneously, tough luckÖyouíve been beaten to the punch by "Bulbous Thing." In "Chock-o-Socks," an angry mob fuck up a tavern on a recording from 50 years ago. This mutates into a "Blubberknife"-era Severed Heads loop-panic before going completely bug shit (the way of all beautiful things in life).

I could go on and on, but my point is made. This album (and "Bad Earth," which will be reviewed next month) are odd records even by odd records standards, a big booger on the flaming rutabaga of modern avant-goofery. Donít sing along unless youíre really feeling it.

VOLVOX - Bad Earth


V/A - Rebirth Of Fool 2
SWEDEN - Same Diff
DEANO MERINO - Baby Crocodiles
DEERHOOF - Live Koala Magic
MERZBOW - Machininstil