I can get into super drone, experimental weirdness that is basically just sounds, the weird manipulation of a single tone, instrumental, slowly building (this is better on a full length obviously) it can be a little pretentious sometimes...it can really be taking itself too seriously, it's humorless and challenging. Sometimes it's too much of an investment. Like the foreign films on netflix I get, I really want to see and then they sit on the coffee table for weeks. I kick myself for not watching them later, but can't a guy just watch snookie get into a fight again?
But then there are the Cave Bears. It's the other end of the spectrum weirdness that blows my mind and is equally rewarding in a completely different fucking-around-seriously way. Everyone wants to get together with their friends, get drunk, make some weirdo music in the garage, which is what Cave Bears are essentially doing, but in a way that's pretty unique, and is a tiny window of something totally genius. This is like a found cassette on the side of the road, or at the thrift store, it's exactly what you've been looking for for years...it's completely insane, there are no rules to music, I think it's good to be reminded of that. I get obsessed with a genre, who's slightly outside the box, but just adding to the insane movement that's already started. Cave Bears are starting over with a basement full of instruments, capturing amazing moments, and are genuinely funny. That's important, I'm in on the joke, you realized in the middle of what you were singing how this is going to sound, and you can't keep it up anymore.
This is mostly a conceptual single about a crawlspace. I can imagine they rehearse in someone's attic or basement and there it was...that creepy tiny door that leads to the crawlspace. Or the pull down rickety ladder in the ceiling. That abandoned place in the house where you can't even really store things, it's just an empty area where all kinds of things/people could live. It's inherently scary...Cave Bears are dong their best to get that across through this free form rehearsal jam insanity.
Crawlspace Pt. I:
First off, this is the cheapest quality cassette tape that cuts in and out, I had to start the record over a few times thinking it was pressed wrong somehow, but I think it's just the master itself either being so overblown it gates out or the 4-track was sitting on top of the kick drum and it vibrates the record head out of place every other beat. It's a complete mess. There's no beginning or end... They are adding another level to the sound of someone like Foot Village, maybe they knew what they were doing but chances are they just caught that moment that can't be duplicated, or would sound contrived if they ever tried to repeat it. This isn't the kind of band that's going to play live....this is it. We caught these imperfect moments, and pressed them on vinyl because it's the only place they are going to exist. The song starts over and they start to do something about a barbershop quartet, which immediately devolves back into more lyrics about the crawlspace. The vocals are too close to the mic, or running around the mic. I think what's so inspiring about this is it's so unfinished, so raw, but I can completely relate to it, unlike the weirdness of Ariel Pink, or Gary War, who are doing something just completely alien, I can't imagine anyone even producing it.
I'm not positive where the tracks break up but eventually 'Electric Dog' starts as some kind of Tom Waits character sing growling over some real jazz on LP playing in the background (who knows what), but the lyrics are truly inspired:
your hindquarter starts bleeding / here comes Electric Dog againA finger gets jammed on the tape rollers exactly where the vocals are, nice touch.
I like moonbeams / lazer beams too / Electric Dog gonna burn you
And that's just the A-Side.
The crawlspace theme is back, I have to think an altered state of mind was at work here. Free form drums, sometimes a capella, Starting and stopping the recording to get just disjointed passages, don't get me wrong it's a nightmare, completely unlistenable, but it's not often you hear this total honesty. It was even recorded over a classical cassette which plays through before 'Beetles Rock' which is either the best tribute song I've ever heard or it's about insects, either way it borders on Daniel Johnston unintentional beauty. I'm going to cry.
I love the inner label art, these great color illustrations, and the insert is full of weirdo scribbling and a Bed Bath and Beyond portrait. The whole thing is a suburban wasteland masterpiece.
I can only imagine what a test pressing at the plant sounded like, they must have been double checking the equipment.
Go get this from Feeding Tube records, who are probably putting out equally as insane records...a truly great find.