For those unfamiliar with Cherubs, here’s their story:
Formed in 1992 by Ed Hall, expatriate drummer Kevin Whitley (vocals/guitar), Owen McMahon (bass), and Brent Prager (drums), the Cherubs emerged on the Austin, TX, LSD punk scene with a jackhammer of nightmarish, rhythm-driven song structures and plenty of Butthole Surfers whimsy and terror to keep things more than interesting. Later that year, King Koffey of the Butthole Surfers released the band’s first album, Icing, on his Trance Syndicate label. Icing proved a strange concoction of repetitive, hypnotic beats, frosted with Kevin Whitley’s high-pitched howl. In 1993, the band issued the Carjack Fairy single, each of the thousand pressed sleeved in a different piece of wallpaper samples; an interesting concept, and one certainly not alien to the musical climate of Austin, TX. By the time the band’s magnum opus, Heroin Man, was issued in 1994, the Cherubs had called it quits, leaving a hell of an album in its wake, one of the most distorted, red-lined, oddball noise rock records ever made. Two years later, Trance released Short of Popular, a collection of singles, odds and ends, and outtakes from previous sessions.
The music is unlike what I’ve come to expect as a human being living on earth, and that’s definitely a good thing. After an absence of 20 years they are making a comeback with a new album – 2 Ynfynyty. It’s a testament to their lack of respect for conventional anything, and to the possibility of finding beauty in weird places.
“We get bogged down by minor details sometimes.”
Understatement of the year! I was given this video to edit and upload, which I intended to shorten because 17 minutes?!?!?! but I couldn’t bring myself to cut anything out of it. Every little piece of gear seems so precious to them, it’s almost like watching an episode of Hoarders. Everything in there has a story, a reason they like it better than everything else, some personal history.
“It sounds like, y’know, we were born in the desert from wolves or something, and that’s kind of a sound that anybody would want, really.”
Highlights include: a pedal designed to intentionally pick up radio signals like amps are wont to do, loads of push-button drum machines, and a love for the sounds that most new gear is designed to eliminate. They seem to exist right on that edge of chaos, where everything is working just the way they want it to, which is to say not at all as the manufacturer intended. They use the word undependable as a compliment, and shitty as a synonym for great.
Check out their new album on Bandcamp, out now.