Wednesday, January 18, 2012

FAT WORM OF ERROR
"Brickfaced Vol.2" c40 (Yeay!)

http://yeay.suchfun.net/images/tapeimages/y034fwoebf2.jpg
I'd be quick to name Fat Worm of Error as my favorite live band playing right now. The five member group of Jess Goddard (vocals, keys, costumes), Chris Cooper (guitar), Tim Sheldon (guitar), Donny Shaw (bass), and Neil Young (drums, elctrnx & Yeay! Plastics proprietor) are so much more than the sum of their parts and create sounds so far beyond what is usually expected from a band with such commonplace instrumentation. Fat Worm is far for commonplace. In fact I would go so far to say that there is not a single other band that has ever made such sounds. Sure, there are other bands splashing their post no-wave antics left and right, there are other artists creating fractured electronic blorp-scapes and there are a few costumed noise rock bands still left hanging on, but FWOE is a complete synthesis of everything that has been awesome about the American underground for the last 30 years.

The band of folks who are mostly in their mid-late 30s and early 40s has some serious pedigree, with two of it's members (Cooper/Goddard) hailing from the Bay Area's otherworldly historical reenactment troupe Caroliner (look it up. If you don't own every LP, most are still kept in print for roughly $7 a piece...write agenerak@yahoo.com). Not to mention each of the member's A-1 side projects and loose SF connection to Deerhoof from days of yore. FWOE makes its home in the forests and brick towns of Western Massachusetts.

While they may not outshine Caroliner in the concept or costume department, Fat Worm's broken down, off rhythm composition/improv takes off in surprisingly new directions. Nothing is tied down in their universe; riffs disappear as quickly as they are introduced, off-time vocals land like a ton of bricks over rapidly shifting ground. Parallels could be drawn to a band like Arab on Radar, but FWOE's work is less coarse and brutish. This gang is more like a chamber music ensemble; their strength relies less on overpowering sonics, but on subtle interplay between their constituent parts.

I've probably seen this band play 20 times and it took a little while for me to realize that what I had initially taken to be complete improvised cacophony, was in fact a finely developed Harmolodic songcraft (Ornette Coleman fans take note). At this point I could probably sing along to these lurching odes to disconnectivity. One of the most wonderful things about the Fat Worm crew is the innumerable treasures that repeated listens hold. The band is set to go on tour this spring. Get on the mailing list to stay updated.

To the matter at hand: is Brickfaced: Vol. 2 a good place to start? I'd suppose so, it's a fine collection of unreleased snippets recorded over the last five years. The group's perverted charm shines through over the course of tape's 40 minute run time and I imagine you could become hooked from just listening to this document. But for the uninitiated, I would strongly suggest starting with the Broods LP released last year on Ecstatic Peace and Open Mouth Records. It really shows Fat Worm operating at the height of their powers. Whereas, their early cassette and cdr work with pretty scattered, and their long playing debut CD/LP on Load showed the signs of considerable post production work, "Broods" really captures the organic beauty of these five individuals playing together in one room. That's not to say that you shouldn't head right over to the Yeay website and buy Brickfaced right now, it's only $6 ppd and it will surely sell out quickly, but once you get started, you'll want to track down all of the releases in the band's dense catalog.

Find Yeay Plastics here. One of the few bands reviewed on CG with a wikipedia page. Their live exploits have been heavily documented on youtube. There are tons of Fat Worm jams to listen to on the Free Music Archive, including a complete download of Brickfaced Vol. 1 from 2003.

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