steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Coward Electronics

"Country Classics in a Power-Electronics Style" CDR


Genre: power electronics

Texas / Minnesota

January 2010

Coward Electronics, that incorrigible collaboration between Cock E.S.P.'s Emil "Viper" Hagstrom and Rotten Piece's Shaun "The Creep" Kelly, has put together this caustic dual-release with a winking eye for P.E. madness. The first half is a collection of country 'covers,' the second a sort of family album designed to imbue children with good manners and such.

The twenty-six second opener, "Don't Mess With U.S. Truckers," sets the tone nicely -- grating feedback is established, over which frantic, gasping vocals hammer out the thesis: "Don't mess with U.S. truckers/Don't mess with U.S. truckers/Or you'll wind up underneath eighteen Goddamn wheels/Aaaughghgugh!" What follows are more delicious power-electronics renditions of classics like Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'", and John Denver's "Country Roads." One of my personal favourites - "Wichita Linesman" - is also taken for a whirl, though its blissful melody is astutely indecipherable (read: omitted in favour of feedback and yelling).

But if mangled country anthems aren't your thing -- and, really, they should be -- look no further than the disc's second half, which is intended for moms, dads, and children alike. The family fun begins with a clever take on a familiar Whitehouse classic in "You Have To Say Please," whose riotous high point pledges: "You have to ask nicely!!!" The fun continues in a cavalcade of electronic noise and manic, dictatorial yelling -- e.g. "Never Talk to Strangers" (concluding line: "Never let them touch your private places!"), "I'm Coming to Your School," and the hideously abrasive "Look Both Ways". But the unparalleled highlight of the record is the flatly evocative "Sharemaster," a narrative by its titular creature who devotes his entire persona to espousing the virtues of generosity and altruism.

Sure, Country Classics' enjoyment factor stems from one lengthy ironic joke, but the disc's lasting appeal is achieved via stellar execution. I know 90% of my (asshole) friends cringe when I so much as deign to start this sucker up on the stereo, but anyone who can appreciate the embers of humour inherent in inane children's music, sincere country songs, and all-too-serious power-electronics should derive many a chuckle from this beast of a record.

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"Guamorrhea" live:

Michael Tau

[Vitals: distributed by the label, released 2009]