Take the number 'Swingers' Club': rapid notes from a stun-guitar, paired-down beats and dissonant loops accompanied by Gibby Haynes screaming through a bull horn: not exactly what you’d consider house-music in its purest form, but a House Record this is.
In the years 1990 and 1991, it seems the members of the Butthole Surfers had a lot of time on their hands. And the muse was good to them.
Piouhgd was in the can by mid-1990, but their new label Rough Trade decided to release 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' as a preemptive e.p.
Neither Gibby Haynes or Paul Leary had expressed any great enthusiasm for Piouhgd, and this lack of belief may have been partly responsible for the band drifting apart; attracted by the creative freedom and liberty offered with side-projects.
King Coffey appeared to have the greatest itch, and created the independent record label Trance Syndicate (later to put out Roky Erikson, Coffey's own band: Drain, and ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead); Paul Leary went off and put together his excellent The History of Dogs; and Gibby Haynes and Jeff Pinkus, not to be outdone, devised a little 'Dance Music' project, and the short-lived Jackofficers were born.
Pinkus, one of the vast number of bassists the Surfers had on their books throughout their career (they used-up bassists like Spinal Tap used drummers), through longevity seemed to have found a permanent place with the band; permanent enough for Haynes to take him along for the ride; and what a strange, crazy ride it is.
Sample heavy: everything from Hendrix and James Brown to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Mission Impossible to cult British TV and a selection of wimpish utterances from bathetic Ollie North (remember him?).
The style changes from song to song. Absurd ('L.A. Mama Peanut Butter'); singalong ('Do It') and even commercial [?] ('#6').
Some tracks are very dancy and at times this album sounds a little like Orbital or the Propellorheads (appearing a good four years or so before either of those bands made their own breakthroughs), and at other times you are firmly reminded of its genetical inheritance, as occasionally it really kicks ass and wigs out; especially during the aforementioned 'Swingers' Club', the best track on the album: manic and intense, chaotic and frantic, perfectly emulating the live sound that was so associated with underground and psychedelic music of that time.
And dance music had firmly infiltrated into the underground, influencing all areas of alternative music.
Rough Trade, which was so often the case, were able to capture and package this sound so well; both on this album and on the Jackofficers' label mates the Gaye Bykers on Acid's Pernicious Nonsense, which Rough Trade also released at the beginning of the new decade.
If you know that album, when you listen to Digital Dump, comparisons are inevitable.
The final track 'Flush' really does break the rules.
Very bleak and sombre. Very dark, sludgy, and rather Scorn-like.
Impossible to dance to: a total floor-clearer.
The end of an album; the end of a night; the end of a band; and in some ways, very much the end of an era.
The Jackofficers - Digital Dump (1990)
Time Machines (Parts 1 & 2)
L.A. Mama Peanut Butter
Don't Touch That
An Hawaiian Christmas Song
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