Before I get started, let’s make one thing clear: I have spent the last 25 years digging through LPs, internet archives and mounds of other ephemera searching for the most extreme examples of absurdity in the pop format. (I’m painting pop with a pretty wide brush). Formula bores me, and has from an early age. As a result , I have a pretty extensive cranial encyclopedia of moronic glory.
In my role as mentor for so many youngsters, I’ve found that many pristine examples of weirdo rock have been lost as time goes on. My intention here is to spotlight ten grade A, prime beef nuggets of this particular (loosely defined) genre.
I hope you enjoy the following tunes. I know I do…
1 – The White Noise – Here Come the Fleas
It can’t be stressed enough how difficult this must have been to create in 1969. Tape loops and circus vibes from BBC Radiophonic Workshop vets.
2 – Thinking Fellers Union Local 242 – A Lamb’s Lullaby
This was the best live band I ever saw. Guitars as jagged knife cuts. Falsetto nerdism. Brutal. I love this track.
3 – Big Cherry – Come in Bonzo
I believe this one is an ode to a dog whose dinner is now ready. There have been days in my life when I listened to this song on repeat all day. I’ve had many odd days.
4 – ..and the Native Hipsters – Mr. Magic
This is probably their most accessible song. I don’t really know what more to say about it, so I’ll let its alarming bonkerosity speak for itself.
5 – Boeing Duveen and the Beautiful Soup – Jabberwock
Produced by Tony Visconti of David Bowie and T Rex fame, this one is just stupid. Late 60s British psychedelia setting a Lewis Carrol poem to the swinging sounds of the time. Primarily designed to entertain dudes with squire haircuts.
6 – Ricky Wilde – I am an Astronaut
Teen idols were a bit different in the early 70s, apparently. Does this make you feel uncomfortable?
7 – Sun City Girls – Soft Fragile Eggshell Minds
From their seminal “Dante’s Disneyland Inferno” LP. Musically, it’s basically a Dylan parody. Lyrically, it sounds like my dad.
8 – Gong – Eat that Phone Book (coda)
Unreal musicianship. Hippie idiot lyrics. Scarily catchy. This one is off of their “Angel’s Egg” full length, which is the second record in the “Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy”. This was VERY formative for me at the age of 20.
9 – Family – Larf and Sing
This groove is NASTY, at least until they get to the Viking pool hall sing-a-long part. This was One of Syd Barrett’s favorite bands right around the time he lost his mind.
10 – Scott Walker – Epizootics
On the surface, This one’s not as silly as the others. Once you listen to the lyrics a bit, you realize that he’s actually joking. Oh, what fun holidays must be with this dark genius weirdo.