Samuel mentioned this amazing 12" split he was doing with Jo Jack Talcum from the Dead Milkmen when I saw both of them perform at the cakeshop a while back and when it showed up on my doorstep I was psyched to hear more of Sam with the Boo Hoos live gritty power punk sound, and of course Joe Jacks latest.
The first track, "This Edison Nightmare", has Samuel's distorted tin can screamy vocals over a muted distorted guitar jittery strum just to blow it out at the end of every verse, cymbals crashing and power chords in quick succession. The chorus is an epic anthem from all bandmates joining in the punk sea chanty.
Next up is "Dogs", has the Boo Hoos working on a punchy chaos rhythm with off key synth and Samuel singing like a low end monster, just to throw off expectations for the catchy power chorus.
"Dull and Boring" lays into some punk speed with the Boo Hoos trading off vocals back and forth with Sam, repeating the title, keeping it utterly anti dull and boring. It's why music is created in the first place. How many songs exist about boredom...which makes no sense relating that sentiment the most unboring way possible. But I guess it's the plague of present generations, never-enough mentality. I'm bored didn't exist in your parents vocabulary! They were trying to walk to school barefoot.
There's a lot of those post-hardcore sounds of Fugazi, especially in "Do the Pinewood Box", working a weird time signature of stutter chords into a chunky unexpected melody.
They have a great live show and it completely translates on this record, concise power punk, sweaty and loud that left me wondering why I'm just getting into these guys.
Saving the best for last, "Fine was the Night" rounds out Samuel and the Boo Hoos side with a culmination of all this energy, epic backup vocal ahhhh melodies under "We are going to break you!"
Joe Jack Talcum's side is classic, that up front loud great nasal vocal, along with his completely unique lyric view that is the pull of every track, which find him returning to his familiar themes of cars and original sin.
"Yesterday I was talking to my sister", which I'm sure is based on an actual situation, is the all to real conversation about her interviewing to be a teacher, "show the people you need to show their kids where they're going". Those chemically dependent kids need guidance. That's what made all the Milkmen tracks so incredible to me growing up. These everyday minutiae moments edited down to these genius observations, so hilarious and sincerely true. The powders join in vocally for that real school choir effect.
"Green World" is a more somber themed track about taking a shower and clogging the drain up with sin. I love these visuals he comes up with, and who else could deliver this lyric:
Whats it all about
are you the catch
I've been trying to catch?
why haven't you been caught?
the lines sounding completely sensible, working as only his literal metaphors can. Conjuring up catchy melodies on another world from the instrumentation, finding their own rhythm, like the best Dead Milkmen tracks. Joe is an icon, we are lucky to have him still writing and performing. I'm lucky to hear this.
"TMI", is a great relationship song, all those intimate questions belted out in his straining high vocal running out of air. A real singer songwriter, it takes someone this naturally talented to make you realize how it's still possible to get away with just the acoustic guitar... and how does he keep doing that, song after song? When he sings "Is death a meaningless void?" in the middle of an otherwise honest sounding love song it goes beyond merely being funny.
"Come Ride my Funnycar" wraps things up with a bouncy organ number delivered in Joe's alternating particular spoken word then belting sing-a-long melody verse, a real poppy jam with an out of control acoustic solo.
Check the insert for further funnycar reading. If you haven't thought Joe and Big Lizard in my Backyard in a while, it's time to revisit starting with this.
Get it from Grotto Records, with another amazing screened sleeve from Meatbag, melting singing faces in purple and burnt sienna (oooo... fancy name) with an insert that reminded me this isn't only a split with Joe and Sam, but the entire band. The members of the Boo Hoos, (including Samuel's sister on drums!) played on Joe Jacks side as the Powders. (I just got that). Joe even contributes to the Boo Hoos side with vocals and keyboard. A one of a kind collaboration and record...the complete package. So great. Between these two bands and this sleeve art, they can't be around very long.
JOE JACK TALCUM / SAMUEL LOCKE-WARD - "just add tears" - LP - $15ppd
newest full length split effort between PA legend joe jack talcum (feat. the powders) and iowa city wonder boy samuel locke-ward (feat. the boo hoos) - this chunk churns out a basket of pop slaughter from dead milkmen's humble gent breezing through sticky sorghum. on the flip sam rocks it harder then patty hearst's trigger finger. housed in silkscreened covers by josh mead.