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[Off The Record]
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Thinking Fellers Union Local 282

Along with pals Sun City Girls and fellow Bay Area noise heroes the Caroliner, arch San Francisco experimentalists TFUL282 have a knack for spiking their Euclidean exercises in pop disfigurement with a dose of perverse lyrical humor, à la Captain Beefheart. Hard to describe, the Fellers’ style is a mish-mash of Sonic Youthian dissonance, tape loops, found sounds, and crazed vocals from multi-instrumentalists Brian Hageman and Mark Davies.

Before the band maxed out, in 1996, from years of exhaustive touring, they’d taken their art-fractured rock to the outer limits and back (most notably on a trio of Matador releases), even flirting with semi-accessible hooks on I Hope It Lands (Communion, 1995). And not much has changed in the musical universe of Bob Dinners Presents. Engineered and co-produced by long-time collaborator Greg Freeman, the disc moves in metrical fits and starts, adopting a cut-and-paste approach that undermines ambitious but schizoid tracks like " Sno Cone " and " Holy Spirit. " More cohesive, but still odd, are " You in a Movie, " with its infectious insectoid groove, and " The Barker, " a blender of grinding guitars that sends up rock-poseur emoting.

Given that TFUL cobble together ideas from their free-improv rehearsals and suture them into asymmetrical units, a little unevenness is to be expected. But instances of dark melodic tension ( " Everything’s Impossible, " " El Cerrito " ) and one melancholic pop tune ( "  ’91 Dodge Van " ) notwithstanding, Bob Dinners feels a little too randomly spliced, even for these musically accomplished art-school cut-ups.


Issue Date: April 19 - 25, 2001

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