Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Totally Dad - Video For the Snake (Abandon Ship Records CD-R)

Here's a mysterious one. No info at all on the sleeve and the Abandon Ship website only offers that the group's a trio who live a hermetic lifestyle and cook food for each other. Not all that helpful, I know, but what do I look like? I ain't no biographer! Let's cut to the chase, eh?

The first track, "Miami Beachi Futuri," has a title that screams James Ferraro to me, and actually the sounds aren't that far off. Weird warbbling 80's synth style with odd as percussive noises in the background that sound like someone mechanically feeding springs into a juicer. The synth stuff approaches the absurd here, getting pretty epic in its spazzed out approach. Weird opener, but pretty glorious in its nonsensically/ deliriously fun stance. Like one too many rides on Zipper or something.

Probably the funniest part about the opener is that it's pretty much the only track like it on the album. Most of the disc is filled what guitar improvisations that don't sound too far off from some of Zac Davis' Sky Juice material. "The Painted Plate" does a pseudo blues thing with guitar and bass that goes absolutely nowhere but whose twangy delta feel still comes through. "Camel Coat" has this strange little upbeat tempo running through it, which is odd in relation to the non-sequitor guitar playing that twangs away nice and stoned like. It's the little riff that couldn't, you might say. Fun and a great sound though, it's another example of those groups that master the art of keeping it off: off the beat, off the harmony, off the edge. "Totally Dad ft. Dark Nest" is bass, guitar, synth (maybe?) and drums, and really displays the unit's penchant for almost Sun Ra style un-cliches. Everything is kept just over the wrong side of together, but with the same sort of successful approach as the Shaggs, if even more amazing because they're likely doing it on purpose. Probably easy to underestimate just how difficult it is to play like this. Or maybe not...

Track five, "The Neighbors II," is nearly silent. Really tough to pick out anything here until a piano thing comes through and little weird whistles and things... almost sounds like they're hiding outside the neighbors' house and jamming to their piano practices and then overdubbing some guitar... creepy style. "Nothing Hurts" is an echo chamber of guitar and weird tape sounds (or maybe it's just crowd scramble) but there's a Loren Connors sound here, if even more angular and abstract. Nothing fits, but in a beautiful kind of way. Following that is the 30-plus second "Donis," a synth epic with unfitting guitar twanging that keeps it just as off and weird as the rest of the disc. "Grape Kite" is eight minutes of Captain Beefheart style jamming, just totally out of control and wily as hell. Probably the most full absorbing thing here on here, totally sucks you into its crazy world. "What Was Worse" closes the disc with an almost free jazz blow out, guitar just going all over and drums really pummeling. Sounds like Last Exit as covered by Harry Pussy. Really crazy little disc, and still available from the label, Carbon and others for cheap. Worth snagging.

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