Tag Archives: Lo-fi

Fergus & Geronimo – Funky Was the State Of Affairs (2012)

Fergus & Geronimo - Funky Was the State Of Affairs (2012)

Fergus & Geronimo are a duo from Texas who formed around 2008; Funky Was the State of Affairs is their second full-length album after Unlearn (2011).

It’s really hard to know what to make of Funky Was the State of Affairs, it is evident that Fergus & Geronimo keep their tongue very firmly in their cheek, but they don’t seem to be as overtly satirical as they perhaps wanted to be; and, in that respect, they feel like a more narrowly focussed Ween, Mothers of Invention or Residents. So they tend to stay in fairly safe musical territory; on the whole, this is lo-fi indie rock with a great deal of influence from the late 70s/early 80s, but interspersed with pretty obscure short skits, taking in paranoia, intergalactic dating, conspiracy theories and elevator muzak. 

No Parties is the first song on the album and, along with later track, Off The Map, sounds a fair bit like the B-52s. Continuing in the same vein, Roman Tick harks to the punk/garage rock era, sounding like the Buzzcocks or Stiff Little Fingers, while Spies is a totally anachronistic track compared with the rest, sounding like the Kinks or the Small Faces, and seems altogether out of place (not that the “place” is easy to place, if you know what I mean). Earthling Men is pure Devo-influenced choppy pop and Roman Numerals is an ode to the titular numeric representations, discussing everything from Star Wars prequels, Rambo sequels and World Wars to volumes of books and Boyz II Men, all in a They Might Be Giants crossed with Sesame Street style (in retrospect here, this track reminds me of The Most Unwanted Song, a “scientifically made” track incorporating all the most hated musical cliches, made by artists Komar and Melamid, along with experimental musical composer Dave Soldier, who composed for Sesame Street on a number of occasions). The title track, Funky Was the State of Affairs ends the album and is a fairly good rhythm and blues freak out, with wailing sax, pounding drums and funky basslines, again anachronistic to the rest, but a suitable closer.

Overall the scope is relatively narrow and it all feels a bit like a joke you don’t quite get or don’t quite find that funny. Not to be completely unfair to Fergus & Geronimo, the music is good, but It is hard to tell where their honest intent ends and the satire starts; almost as though they are a bit less satirical than they think they are. Maybe a few more listens will make me “get it”?

Favourite tracks: Roman Numerals/Wiretapping Muzak I, Earthling Men, Funky Was the State of Affairs

Bandcamp link: http://fergusandgeronimo.bandcamp.com/album/funky-was-the-state-of-affairs-lp-2012
Spotify link: Fergus & Geronimo – Funky Was the State of Affairs
Sneak peak: 

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Ergo Phizmiz – Eleven Songs (2012)

Ergo Phizmiz - Eleven Songs (2012)

Some people are weird. Some people are really weird and some people are subtly weird. Some people are weird because they try to be weird and it’s an affectation. Some people are just naturally weird.

Ergo Phizmiz is weird, subtly and completely naturally.

Some people take themselves way too seriously. Some people just can’t be serious at all. Some people you just can’t tell whether they are mocking or are being earnest.

Ergo Phizmiz is in the last category.

If you have listened to any of Ergo Phizmiz before, especially his work with People Like Us, you will probably know him as more of a sound collage/sampling/plunderphonics artist; but, as expected, you never know what to expect from him!

Eleven Songs is an idiosyncratic lo-fi rock/indie album. It is whimsical and fun, and since hearing it this morning, I have been singing these songs all day! Despite the non-mainstream appeal, these eleven songs are damned catchy! Unusual meter, lyrics and melodies keep the interest high at all times!

The overall sound reminds me most of The Kinks, (early) Pink Floyd, some of the more unusual Beatles tracks and at times, even Ween and The Billy Nayer Show. With completely off the wall lyrics (“I’ll write your obituary and stick it on my face” – The Penguin; “Come away with me; kidnap the Pope” – Lafcadio; “I don’t believe in what you stand for, I don’t believe in what you sit for, you sit for your dinner, I don’t believe in your dinner” – I Don’t Believe), the comparisons to Syd Barrett are further drawn and fair.

On first listen, I didn’t think I would love this album so much, but its so infectious! I challenge you to listen to it once and not want to immediately go back to the beginning and begin again.

Favourite tracks: The Devil in the Belfry, I Don’t Believe, Ophelia

Spotify link: Ergo Phizmiz – Eleven Songs
Sneak peak: