Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Static Disposal, 1976; reissued by Anopheles; available

21 tracks, 76:42

The cover alone should tell you the world wasn't quite ready for Debris'. Being a post-punk band in a pre-punk world, they really had the odds against them. Sure, there were similar contemporaries like Pere Ubu and MX 80 Sound, but those bands sound tame in comparison. Imagine the Stooges jamming with Chrome with some guests from the New York No Wave scene and you have a good idea of how this sounds. Seriously deranged synths and pounding drums collide with Echo-Plexed guitar and way-out vocals, sometimes accompanied by everything from woodblocks to a circular saw. Opening track "One Way Spit" is pretty indicative; the track opens with what sounds like a madman counting down (out of beat!), followed by a guitar line straight out of FUN HOUSE. Then the synth comes in with all its bleepy-UFO glory. "Female Tracks" features female vocals reciting the definitions of "female" and "tracks" over another dadaist splurge. "Witness" is an almost jazzy spoken word number with Christian lyrics (!). As if that opening salvo wasn't strange enough, the weird factor just keeps going up on every successive track. The trio of Oliver Powers, Chuck Ivey and Johnny Gregg set out to make "the ultimate record". While that's VERY subjective, the results contained herein are indeed wonderfully refreshing. Tracks one through eleven are the album proper, which was originally untitled and put out on the band's own label. It was also supposed to serve as a demo, and was sent out to various magazines and record labels. A particularly scathing letter from EG is included in the liners. The remaining ten tracks are rehearsal recordings, alternate versions, an outtake from the sessions, and three covers. One of the covers is from the pre-Debris' outfit Victoria Vein and the Thunderpunks; tellingly, the other two are renditions of songs by John Cale and the Stooges ("Gun" and "Real Cool Time", respectively). Oddly enough, while slightly rougher in quality, the bonus tracks are every bit as exciting and unique as the album proper. As a whole it is a truly delirious ride through the mindset of three musical outsiders in the nowhere town of Chickasha, Oklahoma. Given the band only existed a year (summer '75 to summer '76), this is nothing less than the ultimate document of a true legend. It's really a shame they missed the punk bandwagon, but they probably wouldn't have fit in very well with the "simplicity is all you need" mindset of punk's early years anyway. This comes highly recommended to fans of music's eccentrics, especially those who always wondered what the Residents would sound like as a punk band.


Lucifer Sam said...

"Being a post-punk band in a pre-punk world, they really had the odds against them."

Ah, well spoken! This is actually one of my favourite albums. It's nowhere near "perfect", but just so goddamn mindbending and asskicking it's incredible. If I were to start a band I would want to make something like this (or at least I would force all band members to listen and learn from this)... Guitarwork is unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Debris' is still alive and well but known now as Bite Me. Find them on Facebook or Twitter. They are playing at the Norman Music Festival on April 26th. Good review, by the way