LP – Edition of 450
CD – Edition of 300 –
We were first introduced to the music of Gregg Turner when he was with VOM, the explicitly post-musical punk-tongue-monster he inhabited along with Richard Meltzer, Metal Mike Saunders and others. From there, he and Mike formed the Angry Samoans, who spewed an insane blend of garage/bubblepunk/hardcore noise to well-deserved acclaim. But the Samoans began including folk rock moves inside their spectrum with 1986’s Yesterday Started Tomorrow EP, and most of the work Turner’s done since then has contained this element to one degree or another. People who haven’t heard Gregg’s recordings from the post-Samoans era may be surprised by how straightforward and outright charming some of the material on Chartbusterzs is, but he acknowledges both Jonathan Richman & Tom Lehrer in the credits, and well he should,
But this is not all völk väncy, the opening track, “Kremlin Dogs, “ with stinging lead autoharp by Billy Bill Miller (of Blieb Alien and Cold Sun) should remind everyone how deeply involved Turner was with Roky Erickson’s post-prison revival. Roaring psych pus of the highest order. “The Box,” Turner’s splattery next chapter to the tale begun by the Velvets with “The Gift,” is another chunk of most excellent gore. As is the solid garage grunt of “Look in the Mirror.” But I have to admit that some of my faves are quieter tracks like “Franz Kafka” (which I believe is ripe for an immediate cover by Yo La Tengo) and “They Took You Away,” with the great Ronn Spencer on harmonica.
Heard as a whole, the album — which has been playing on constant rotation in the background for well over a month now — is a goddamn gem. And almost surely the best album by a math professor since Lehrer’s last LP, released half a century back. Hopefully, Turner will not keep us waiting that long for another blast from the numerical underground.
As Dee Dee Ramone so elegantly put it, “1-2-3-4!”
-Byron Coley, 2016