“Autobiographical Dynasty: 1996-2015”
(auralgami SOUNDS)

This is an appropriate release for me to cover on my 300th anniversary for Cassette Gods. That’s right! I’ve done 300 reviews! That’s 2,100 in dog reviews. Wow! I’m a formidable internet presence.

Actually, this is number 302, because I forgot to check when 300 actually came around. I sort of blew that.

Whatever, it’s appropriate because there are like 300 songs on this tape! Actually, there are only 30, but Autobiographical Dynasty is a retrospective, so of course it has to cover a vast swath of material within its reels. And it’s a great place to start for Bodycocktail, aka Zan Hoffman, aka “Kentucky’s Punk Crooner,” because there are so many recordings he’s released over the past 20 years that it would be an almost impossibly daunting proposition to find a starting point. Luckily, Autobiographical Dynasty is here to fill that void in your life and point you in a direction of intimate fulfillment that you didn’t even know you lacked.

Loosely sculpted around a proto-new wave framework (Bodycocktail’s categorization), the songs exist along a spectrum that includes both Suicide and early Ween. What you should read primarily into that is that there are no rules that Hoffman really plays by, except that he has synthesizers and drum machines and tinny guitars, and that’s just how it ends up working. It’s barely jokey – I wasn’t convinced at first that I shouldn’t be laughing throughout this, but there’s no way I can. It’s serious, and seriously engaging, although cracking a smile is pretty much a prerequisite.

So for 20 years Hoffman’s been concocting stuff like this in his laboratory, and he never moves along the same paths as the status quo. It’s like he was faced with choosing a direction that he would drive in, but instead he built the world’s first hovercar. Truly, where we’re going, we don’t need roads. (To paraphrase another mad doctor drawing inspiration from the 1980s.) These songs are in the air, and in the ground, and each is strange and unusual and tectonic in its landscape-altering ability. Bodycocktail is seriously too weird to live and too rare to die, a standard applied by Hunter Thompson to an equally unconventional character. Autobiographical Dynasty will carry you through the weirdness to an extraordinary new place. Can you handle it?

Oh, one last thing: why is there a picture of Paddy Considine on the cover?

Here’s to the next 302 reviews!

auralgami SOUNDS

--Ryan Masteller