King Tuff, aka Kyle Thomas, grew up in the small, weird town of Brattleboro, Vermont. When he is not massacring audiences with his nutzo electric rock music, he enjoys oil painting and drinking black coffee till his eyes are like piss-holes in the snow. Sometimes he wishes on a nose hair when he can’t find an eyelash. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Ahh yes, the Foxywoxies have really done something this time. …And Star Power is the sonically demented twin of last year’s breakthrough, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, a black magick sheep who can barely talk and just makes wicked sweet grunting noises when you tell it you love it. This album is a perverted shit-demon with Hollywood sunglasses constantly fucking the line between perfect pop and an amateur teenage punk jam session, a through-composed mountain of ideas that will delight the freaks and send the squares shitting and running. Salty black sprinkles of soft Satan glimmer all over it.
I saw Foxygen once. The Keebler-infused chocolates had just started to kick in when they took the stage. The setting was magnificent: a stage out in the country, families with giggling chunks of children, old timers flossing toothless smiles with fiddle bows. I was excited to see the band play, being a fan of 21st Century Ambassadors…, so a few friends and I gathered near the side of the stage. Within seconds, my mind shook into excitement and confusion. I first noticed the three sexed-up backup singers, wildly shaking and mooing with demonic pleasure in their jeweled eyes, and the band, young as teenage Hell and slashing away at a stab-wound groove. Singer Sam France in all his Iggy-Jagger-in-no-shirt-leather-pants glory. Instead of singing he was clicking and hissing into the microphone and I immediately burst into laughter. Was this a joke? I had no idea. Everyone in this band looked and moved and sounded like micro-miniature maniac nymphos.
My mind was fizzing as the special chocolates dissolved into my smiling womb. Were they purposely fucking with this poor crowd of folkies and mushroom-brained musicians? I turned to see my friend, also zapped out of his skull, running for the door and trying not to vomit. I moved in for a closer look. They started the intro to “San Francisco” and it sounded like underworld classical music, with Mr. France and his singers all moving like a robot marching band from Rivendell High School. My pupils fully dilated, I saw something stirring behind the drummer. A stray sound man looking for a lost input? No. Aha! Of course! An inter-dimensional creature was behind all this madness, of course! THE DEVIL.
Back to …And Star Power. I glance at the track listing and UNHOLY FUCK there it is, like a crimson beacon in the void: “666.” I was right! HI LUCY FUR, I SEE YOU HIDING BEHIND THE LABEL OF MY NEW FOXYGEN LP, YOU DON’T GOTTA HIDE, LET’S ROCK!
Throughout the next 82 minutes, you may question why these very talented musicians made this very weird album. You will say, “Are they just trying to fuck with my already fucked mind?” I think so, yes. At the same time, it seems, master-master starfoxes France and Jonathan Rado are experimenting very freely in the studio and then perhaps saying, “Fuck it, let’s just make this the record!” which is secretly what every musician wants to do. The demos are always more interesting. The demons are always more interesting.
SP is a piss-stream-of-consciousness pirate radio station run by DMT Tinkerbells. A station where all the classic bands you know and love have been twisted up into strange yellow pretzel creatures. Here’s some poetic thoughts I urinated out while listening:
“How Can You Really” cums in with its sweet sexual breath of “coconut wind.” Hidden voices like the ghost of Rundgren, late-night Subaru sex drive through cool misty air.
“Cosmic Vibrations” of a green plastic guitar. Out-of-tune brown rubber dildo guitar. Long, long, long-schlonged song sipping cough syrup through a radio antenna. Computer hippies on digital acid. Rave Davies.
“You & I” tape-piss-hiss all over Neil Young’s house. Trades tone for piss and it’s daring and wild.
“Star Power” begins with Mr. Rado’s star piano and a psychobabbly loose sweatpants jam band, and then we get to the great “What Are We Good For?” section where the Poet is swerving through security like a ceramic donkey!!!!!
Sounds like Manson on leads, White Album alfredo sauce. Demented seventh chords. Leads me to believe the next Foxygen album will most likely feature mostly fretless bass.
“I Don’t Have Anything/The Gate.” Hey, Mr Robinson, WTF is going on with this song? “Really, really beautiful music,” squealed Satan, “Jim Van Morrison sends his best wishes to your strange juxtaposin’!”
“Mattress Warehouse” — haha, I love when songs start out with someone saying “ROLLING!” Like the Roadrunner on a terror joy ride down Sherbet Garbage Lane.
The eyes are big black but like… I’m stuck to my seat like frog pancakes. “Flowers” is a standout beautiful song, like when Jack and Jill fuck up on top of the hill until Jack’s jack cums unplugged and the song just spills out.
“Wally’s Farm” — in the guitar-player biz it’s what we like to call a “Flerbly Warbler.”
“Hot Summer” starts with my fave moment: a hilarious voice saying, “This song is called ‘hot summah’” in a Boston accent! Makes me want to ride the T to Hahvahd Squayah. France has a really sweet, relaxed voice, yet he chooses to speak in tongues most of the time, to my surprise and approval!
“Cold Winter/Freedom” is a basement tape of baby Satan saying, “Hold onto yr butts and get ready” and uh oh — this song is a #1 hit in the Brainshit Dimension.
And now we take the Synthavator down the seven levels of Foxy Hell, bitch! “Can’t Contextualize My Mind” — ahhhh, finally, here we are hanging at Beezlebub’s fiery bar, Astaroth playing pool with his foul viper stick, snorting cheez wiz off a flaming hot Cheeto.
“Freedom II” is like a Rolling Stones flea circus singing and prancing upon the shit-wiped pages of a copy of Rolling Stone.
Ewwwww… chewing! Why! Why you gotta do that to me, Foxyyyy??? Don’t you know I can’t listen to people chew?! I’d rather put pus worms in my ears. “Everyone Needs Love” comin’ out the other side of the Foxhole into a beautiful field of McCartney-faced flowers all playing bouncing basses and short-haired Lennon fingernail clippings, like shit-hippies in the Summer of Blood.
So …And Star Power is possibly the strangest rock album of the year. What at first seems like a vast collection of off-the-cuff-pop non-songs, after repeated listens starts to soak into your brain and turn it magenta, like cauliflower in a Tupperware container full of beet juice. I’m proud of the Foxies for making something this weird. It’s there in your face, but it’s also partially invisible; it exists between dimensions and we can only hear random bits of the stereo field creeping through. It’s sneakily catchy and I find myself humming it as I go about my day, navigating the dry, baked-turd landscape of LA. …And Star Power is maybe what would happen if Tame Impala smoked crack.
By the end of this album, you’ll find F-GEN caressing your pillow and you’ll have to learn snake language to understand them. It’s your strange next-door neighbor in a universe where Sunburned Hand of the Man is more famous than Beyoncé. It’s a crazy shit-mess of ideas, as if a bunch of classic rock records were sent to a recycling factory which attempted to turn them into new records but accidentally added some new Unknown Goo in the process. That Unknown Goo is called Foxygen. I love that about it. I’m a Keebler and I love everything.