We’ve all had those moments when it’s 2 A.M., the party’s winding down, and there are still quite a few people around who don’t get the idea that you’re way too drunk to stay awake much longer. But you also don’t want these people to linger around in your house after you’ve lost consciousness because they might steal your collection of Muppet Movie glasses or start cutting off their dirty dreads with your razor or whatever.
Well, have I got a solution for you! Pop any of these suckers in your CD player and watch the partygoers disperse. Now I just happen to like these CDs quite a bit myself, but I do understand that they have huge party clearing capabilities. And who knows, after a few listens you may begin to like this stuff too.
1 – Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica
Perhaps the greatest album ever made by anyone, ever, this 1969 masterpiece of disjointed acid-drenched blues rock and wacky poetry is sure to elicit many “What the fuck?”s as soon as you hit the play button. Upon the first few listens, it sounds like the band has no idea how to play their instruments or perhaps even what these instruments are. Then comes Beefheart’s growling vocals that sound like Howlin’ Wolf if he had grown up hanging out with Frank Zappa and taking lots of drugs. From the disjointed rock of “Frownland” to the free-association poetry of “The Dust Blows Forward and The Dust Blows Back” to the free jazz freakout of “Hair Pie” to the frentic howling of “When Big Joan Sets Up” to the retardo-brillance of ”Hobo Chang Ba“ all the way to the wacked-out instrumental coda of “Veteran’s Day Poppy”, the album bursts forth with insane engery and eccentric brillance.
After a few listens it may even all start to make sense; you realize that these guys really did know how to play their instruments and they really did rehearse every note until it was absolutely perfect. It’s just that the end product of those perfected notes doesn’t really sound a whole lot like rock music as most of us know it. It didn’t in 1969 and it still kinda doesn’t today. But really, who cares about all of that crap? By the time you get to the third track on this album, your indulgent party-fiends will all be way the hell out the door.
2 – Yoko Ono – Fly
Just the mention of Yoko Ono’s name makes many a music fan howl. It may astonish some of you that Ono has made over 10 solo albums, which is a fairly large accomplishment for any music artist, especially one who sounds like a screetching, insane, dying animal when she sings. For your maximum-strength party-killing needs, I reccomend 1971’s Fly, a double album filled with these tasty tidbits: Ono doing an Elvis impersonation to the 50’s rock of “Midsummer New York”; the pre-Krautrock of “Mindtrain”, whose coolness is sorta ruined by Ono’s vocal “sound effects”; the slide guitar rock of “Don’t Worry Kyoko”, featuring Eric Clapton (when he was still on drugs and cool); and the thirty seconds of a toilet flushing on “Toilet Piece.”
But you know, since the first disc has songs on it that actually kind of resemble rock and roll at times, you’ll probably just want to skip to the second disc, which is mainly sound-effect type pieces with Yoko wailing over them. There’s “Airmale”, which is supposedly from a John Lennon film(!) called “Erection”(!!!), which I really, really, REALLY have no wish to ever see if the opportunity, uh, arises. Then there’s the near-23-minute “Fly” wich is from the soundtrack to Ono’s film of the same name. God, you either marry or just are a Beatle and look what you can get away with! But you know, I must be a real sick sonofabitch because I really like this CD.
3 – Royal Trux – Twin Infinitives
Royal Trux is an enigma wrapped up in a question in the form of an enema. You probably haven’t heard of them even though they were one of the many, many bands who were swooped up by a major label in the mid-nineties rush to find the new Nirvana. They started out on the Drag City record label in the late 80’s making junked-up, dissonant, sometimes hard to listen to avant-rock, but by the time of their Virgin records debut in 1995 they sounded like the Stones circa 1971 with a chick who gargled razorblades for a singer.
Needless to say, they are one of my favorite bands in all of rock history. But for our purposes here, the only album you need to own is their second one, 1990’s Twin Infinitives. If you think Trout Mask Replica is hard to listen to, your ears and bowels will really reject this one. It was a double album, reluctantly put onto CD (there are only 4 tracks on the entire disc, one for each side of the original vinyl), and the songs sound about as far from ”Free Bird“ as Gregorian Chant would sung by rabid hippos. So in other words, it sounds like what would happen if you locked two raging junkies in a basement with a four track, some guitars, a primitive drum machine, a satanic bible, and all the heroin they would need to OD. In other other words, it’s a rock and roll masterpiece.
4 – Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music
“Give me an issue, I’ll give you a tissue and you can wipe my ass with it.” – Lou Reed
Ah, Lou Reed. If one ever needed a synonym for pretension, Lou’s face would undoubtedly be pictured right next to the word, all wiry hair and sunglasses in sweet leather jacket perfection. I’m sure you all know of Lou and his work: The Velvet Underground, one of the greatest and most loathsomely-referenced bands in rock history; his solo song “Take A Walk On The Wild Side”; the albums Transformer and Berlin; and this, one of the most reviled and confusing albums to ever come from a “major artist” in the musical realm.
Metal Machine Music was released in 1975 as basically a big middle finger to Lou’s record company, RCA. It’s another double album, with all four sides consisting of nothing but layered, abrasive guitar feedback. No songs, no vocals, just 64 minutes of noise that doesn’t vary. Some have seen it as a great work of avant-garde music, others as a daring experiment in single-mindedness, but one thing remains clear: it is an album that will make every drunk bastard in your living room run for dear life in the wee hours of the morning.
5 – Mosquito – Oh No Not Another Mosquito My House Is Full Of Them!
From the opening moments of this CD, when the ultra-distorted voice of Jad Fair (the brilliant mind behind the overlooked and underappreciated band Half Japanese) peeps out the words “Steve, can you pound on that thing for a minute?” and begins a crazed, indecipherable rant as drummer Steve Shelly (of Sonic Youth fame) does indeed pound on that thing (which sounds like a disused marching band bass drum badly in need of a new head), you immediately can tell that you are not listening to the last Creed album. In fact, by the reaction of your fellow party-goers, which will probably range from a few drunken “WTF?“‘s to immediate glances at their watches and even running out the door, you will be able to tell that you are listening to something really, truly special. An album so special, in fact, that it creates a rift in the very fabric of time and space.
You see, the CD is only 13 minutes and 15 seconds in length but it seems like a small eternity passes as you listen to it. Also, it guarantees that your guests will make an immediate and involuntary shift from your cheeto-covered sofa to the vast spaces of way the hell away from your house. Lest we not forget about the menacing guitar soundscapes of Tim Foljahn (of Two Dollar Guitar and Cat Power) that merge perfectly with the drum and vocal noise to thoroughly pummel and rape your mind, and subsequently pummel and rape the remnants of your party. So once again, this is a brilliant album that also just happens to be able to scare the bejeezus out of any tired drunky as dawn surely approaches. Buy it if you can find it!!!
So there you have it: five masterpieces that are sure to bring an end to your lame party misery. Find these and spread the good news, brothers and sisters!