Egg Punk

Silicone Prairie ‘My Life on the Silicone Prairie’

For years, the term ‘plastic soul’ was an insult, dished out by the genre’s true devotees toward the crude imitators of the Motown and Stax roster of artists, condemned for their perceived kitschy and inauthentic hijacking of the soul sound. It took a restless and audacious David Bowie, fuelled by cocaine blitzed hubris and glam rock’s descent into self-parody firmly in his bloodshot sight, to embrace his ersatz mimicry of soul, stating ’75’s Young Americans as “the final report of plastic soul. Its squashed remains of ethnic music as it survives in the age of Muzak, written and sung by a white limey.” With classic cuts like the title track and ‘Fame’, in addition to being invited to perform on the seminal Soul Train, Bowie’s synthetic interpretation of soul proved to be commercially successful and lauded in the African-American community he was purporting to emulate.

What would a ‘silicone prairie’ sound like? The juxtaposition of polymer artifice and rustic pastures perhaps has already been given a soundtrack by the litany of art-punk subversives that exploded across Ohio in the mid seventies, acts like early Devo, Bizarros and Pere Ubu scoring a particularly agitated and acrid experimental noise informed by the barren dust storms of the Mid-West rather than the urban decay of the burgeoning New York scene. The special Great Plain post-punk spirit has rubbed off on Kansan artist Ian Teeple. COVID forcing time away from band duties in Warm Bodies and The Natural Man Band, his lone project Silicone Prairie is a lo-fi bedroom retreat of four-track punk stretched and elasticated into impressive contortions of rubbery branches into psych-rock and sunny, indie jangles.

The scope of influences belies the Sci-Fi maths cover of My Life on the Silicone Prairie, although album opener ‘PD2TB’ conforms with the geometric alien artwork, a taut fizz of nervous bass and sinewy guitar that hits with a dose of alienated menace typical of his eggpunk brethren. Elsewhere flashes of distorted synthpunk spits on tracks like ‘Open Module’, a gloriously infectious garage-rock number soaked in atonal synth defects, while the feverish ‘Dance to the Beat’ injects a shot of Talking Heads gritty, neurotic rhythms circa Fear of Music. An intriguing detour into spacey instrumentals crops up on the trippy ‘Song for Patrick Cowley’, a homage to the titular producer of Sylvester’s ’78 disco classic ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real’ and a plethora of gay porn soundtracks, borne out of a noodling session on an old Behringer synthesizer, Teeple’s own imitation of Hi-NRG disco.

The secret weapon to My Life…‘s distinct character is Teeple’s affection for the sunlit folk rock of The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield fed through the avant-garde psychedelia of The United States of America, a unique palette of sounds for the weirdo punk scene Teeple is associated with. ‘Lay in the Flowers’ fuses Violent Femmes indie with heady flutes that roll along with pleasing, rootsy country rock testifying to Teeple’s deft bounce between disparate tones and styles. Expert acid rock erupts effervescently on the thrilling ‘Born into Trouble’, a fantastic demonstration of electric fretwork and a killer solo, and warped, layered vocals just about harmonise on ‘Song for the Eagles to Sing’, even a minor foray into soft rock must be bent and misshapen in true, Mid-West punk fashion.

By the time My Life…‘s final track ‘Come Away’ ends with a hissing tape erosion, we come to understand exactly what a silicone prairie would sound like. The ‘plastic folk rock’ that is conjured from the queasy rubber landscape of synthetic plains and polystyrene expanse is impeccably realised in Silicone Prairie’s debut effort, retaining enough of the jagged bite to thrust Teeple to the fore of the synthpunk vanguard, but exceptionally infuses the weird with an affecting heart of melodic light and breezy hues that instils a much needed sense of uplifting affirmation in our upside-down world.

Headlice ‘Vol. 1’

There aren’t many releases that trigger a neurotic, sensory creep of itches and bodily invasion fears. If the very band name and titles like ‘Bacteria’ and ‘Nit Comb’ weren’t enough to set off a frantic flurry of frenzied scratching, then Russell Taysom‘s comix front cover depicting the crawling turmoil of a nest of lice gnawing through a punk rockers skull is sure to get you furiously scraping your scalp till there’s blood and skin under your fingernails.

A thoroughly mutant and septic variant of synthpunk has been making a nuisance of itself Down Under. Across Sydney and Melbourne, miscreants such as Research Reactor Corp, Gee Tee, and the litany of aliases from Billiam have been spewing a uniquely alien-fried mule of acrid garage rock. Long ensconced in Brisbane’s irritated flesh, the self-described criminal organisation known as Headlice have wormed their way to the front of the weirdo revolution and spat out their debut EP via Bargain Bin Records, a six track pestilence of expert, slime-soaked rock ‘n omeprazole.

The four Lice’s (being Ed, Red, Shred, and Fred) tear through Vol. 1 like an Amazonian candiru shredding your urethra. Half a dozen rancid eggpunk numbers spiked with venereal disease that manages to hook you with a guileful catchiness amid the scuzzy thrash. Each component of Headlice meshes with sinewy potency, Ed’s snotty vocals fluctuating between bratty sneer and feverish howl, Shred’s rubbery keyboards congealing with Red’s swaggering bass and all held together by Fred’s merciless drumming fury, there’s not a trace of fat or fucking about across the EP’s eight minutes.

Like all good infections, Headlice will hopefully only spread further and lay many more tapes and 7″s onto an unsuspecting populace, Vol. 2 being diagnosed by a doctor before being released by any label. A wholly welcome synthpunk contamination, Headlice are Top of the Pox!

Gee Tee ‘Atomic’

“Irreverent monsters in muscle cars” is how Odd Rods describe themselves. A series of trading cards by National Lampoon’s B. K. Taylor depicting various cartoonish creatures in oversized hot rods in the vein of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Rat Fink. #3 in the initial ’69 set is Gee-Tee-O, an über cool green goblin with buck teeth and shades sporting a straggly beard of coarse, rodent-hair, impishly pushing his skull gear stick into full throttle, smirking as he risks death in the chase of the acceleration high.

Cars, racing and speed were initially the sole subject matter for Gee Tee when forming in 2016. A lo-fi scuzzy garage rock project fronted by Aussie Kal Mason as former band Draggs ground to a halt, Mason decamped from his native Gold Coast to dive head-first in the weirdopunk revolution happening in Sydney spearheaded by kindred mutants Research Reactor Corp. and Set-Top Box. After a string of fantastically polluted rock ‘n’ roll releases and side projects with the aforementioned R.R.C. and Drunk Mums, Gee Tee show no sign of slowing down as they drop latest EP Atomic via Italian label Goodbye Boozy Records.

An infectiously corroded little Wurlitzer melody surrounded by strutting indie riffing opens the EP on the buoyant ‘Kombat Kitchen’ a fuzzed-out flaunt of garage murk that touches on the organ-driven sounds of ? and the Mysterians. Second track “Mutant World” shoves a straw up your nose and fills your mind with coke, blood and slug pellets, a feverish and electric synthpunk stomper that Gee-Tee-O would proudly exit this world in a fiery crash to. ‘Atomic’ is a beguiling beast, some no-nonsense pub-rock chug with a scratchy vocal delivery akin to War’s Low Rider. It shouldn’t work, perhaps it doesn’t, but you’re too taken with the warbling theremin to care. Things ends on a note of pure rock ‘n’ roll zest were it soaked in sewage and radiation, a bright and upbeat bopper with a killer chainsaw solo piercing through the noxious film.

Atomic is another gloriously rancid little fucker that further cements Mason’s reputation as one of the leading figures in Aussie scuzzpunk but skilled enough to allow sharp pop-hooks in his lo-fi murk. Messy, greasy, weird, and all the better for it.

Spit ‘n’ Static! 1020 Radio #14

‘Sexual freedoms turned into corporate schemes!! Viruses plaguing your thoughts, plaguing your souls!!!’⠀⠀⠀⠀

The acrid, stinging fuzz of Spit ‘n’ Static! corrupted the 1020 Radio studio today, the usual synthpunk splatter we all know and love knotted and twisted with a little alien sleeeeeeze for good measure! Careful…this one bites! 🦠📡👽👌⠀⠀⠀⠀

Electro-spectral entities by Paloma Kop

Spit ‘n’ Static! 1020 Radio #13

Bristol’s 1020 Radio got wrecked with the 13th dose of synthpunk sludge that is Spit ‘n’ Static! ‘Catch the wave’ same slime same face for another hour of garbled alien interruptions and slimy dead channel fuzz!! Don’t fight it, you gotta ride it out!!! 👽 👌

Dummy ‘Comedy Rock!’

If you don’t laugh you’ll cry. Us 20/30 something’s are a stretched, inside-out bunch, pulled apart by unending labour extraction, fascist ascendancy and certain environmental catastrophe, we’ve developed an uncanny ability to have a good time in the face of such nihilism. Throw an unprecedented, global viral pandemic in the mix and our last recourse is to usher in the new wave of weird, warped and slimy egg punk for the topsy-turvy end times.

Comedy Rock! is the second release from Dummy, being one of the many projects of Minnesotan Sean Albert including Belly Jelly, QQQL and Skull Cult. Taking lo-fi DIY to its nth degree, primitive drum machines, atonal keyboards and fuzzy guitars are all handled by Albert himself, all buzzing together in a fizzy bottle rocket of corrupted energy.

Fervent punk vigour is firmly established on first track ‘Personal Panopticon’, riff attacks hack and slice then switch to jerky picking all saturated with a goop of unintelligible vocal gunge. This fungal fusion of punk urgency and psych effects course throughout the tape but Albert’s musical dexterity allows for other flavours to keep things from being one note. ‘Nights’ is a gloriously upbeat number, tinny rock infected with poppy synth melodies sound like a Cars or Cheap Trick song were it desecrated beyond recognition. Alien slacker warbles and squeals on the distorted ‘Insulated’, D.C. hardcore pummels in the fog of loops and trickery straight out of the more aggressive end of Locust Abortion Technician.

Bent, broken, and crooked, Comedy Rock! is the perfect soundtrack to our collective navigation of a world growing more farcical every day, channeling the pervading confusion in its pulverised compositions and offering a streak of cathartic verve deep within the sputtering pulp.