Always had such nice artwork that Thirlwell chap don’t you think? Does it all himself, as you were probably aware, as has mostly been the case with his music too. The lengthy tune in tonight’s show is from the 12″ in the middle at the top there. You might also be aware that after popping up singing Bowie with the Melvins and orchestrating the strings on Zola Jesus’ album and tour he rounded out last year with a simultaneous release of a soundtrack album and new one as Foetus. Likes to keep busy does Jim. To be honest I’ve not even heard the new one yet and it’s almost as likely, at the very least serendipitous, that its inclusion is due to a friend bringing this wobbly old video gem to our attention.
The Sound of Progress – Pop Music according to Foetus, Coil, Current 93 & Test Dept
It is entirely worth your time and attention even though the picture quality is a bit uneven. Our man Jim rocks an appalling haircut but gives a fairly good account of himself. Tibet is, comically, a complete moody teenage tit, Balance comes off well and Test Dept. are earnest but also great and the most coherent in discussing the conceptual and political basis of their work. Indeed the serendipity marches on as this year brings us to the 30th anniversary of the miner’s strike and the very welcome return of Test Dept at AV Festival at the end of March. Whether that turns out to be anything more permanent is not yet clear but it would be nice to see them do a few events.
Elsewhere over at Dangerous Minds they had a lengthy, but interesting, guest piece on Foetus’s Nail and Hole albums which, it seems fair to say, essentially set out the idea of what Foetus was all about. It talks for the most part about his lyrics and persona – laying out a lot of stuff that you might instinctively have picked up on but might not been able to articulate. I’d never really thought all that hard about it, generally seeing it as cartoonish and fun (‘Free James Brown (So He Can Run Me Down)’ perhaps being the very pinnacle of this) while focussing more on the remarkably ambitious and singular music. But it turns out he’s got some impressive fans – as a few days earlier Dangerous Minds had unearthed this lost talk show spot from no less a lyrical master than Leonard Cohen who professes his admiration for Foetus’ ‘Gums Bleed’. It kicks off with a video clip for ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ and Cohen also talks amusingly about why his new record at the time ‘Various Positions’ has had trouble getting a U.S. release. I’ve never heard it elsewhere but could a love for Foetus’ early records have led to Len’s startling electronic reinvention/reinvigoration with ‘I’m Your Man’?