Thursday, December 4, 2014

You've Been Complicated

The first in a series of post concerning my favorite records.
Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves (1979)

Some of my favorite songs appear elsewhere...Slip it to the Android, Animal, Something Rhythmic...but this is my favorite collection of songs by Chrome and one of my favorite "albums".*


Dig it...after almost a minute of gurgled moans and scrapes...the lights come on and they rip the MC5 a brand new a**hole.

Just as suddenly, it descends back into the muck...evidently to murder those riffs because the song reemerges with their entrails laid over an mechanical beat. It's deconstruction...not as an intellectual exercise but as an act of pure malice. It is completely unnerving, disorienting...and it is glorious.

Half Machine is a companion piece to Alien Soundtracks...a tighter grip on the idea. Found sound collages and industrial beats...bludgeoning these scuzzy riffs with a wrench. It's the sound of The Stooges in the process of being assimilated by the Borg.

This isn't an album that I merely's one that was written specifically for me. It's a record that fits perfectly into a space in my brain. There aren't many of those...but, there's enough to make a list out of.


* I really don't like albums...or I hate the idea of The Album. I'll take as many good songs as I can get but, this standard of releasing 8 to 20 songs as a coherent artistic, Artistic, statement every year is nonsense and ruination. It's a ridiculous standard that has eventually embarrassed everybody...including Mark E Smith and Prince. 
We all know who's to blame for this bull s***!

The last truly great Pavement release was a throw-off maxi-single...songs that were intended for the Silver Jews. There's a reason singles and EPs are so much fun. They don't bear the burden of being an ponderous bits forced into the aural narrative...tedious filler...just songs.

That's not to say it never works...I mean we have started with an album here but there will also be EPs and maybe even compilations. I refuse to adhere to the standard.


  1. Not a band I know anything about but they sound bloody good. I'll look them up.

    1. This is an issue that comes up a lot among those few people who wonder about it. Chrome should have it's place alongside bands like Hawkwind, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere a revered precursor of post punk and industrial music. They are direct link between...say the Stooges and Sonic Youth. No Butthole Surfers without Chrome. Despite the accurate observations that Pavement ripped off The Fall and Swell we shall see, they did as Chrome.
      Most people blame it on Damon Edge for carrying on the name after Creed had left the band...those records are mostly unremarkable (Creed has made some fine ones...Superior Catholic Finger). I also think it's because they could be really hard. Even with Throbbing Gristle and all the Nazi imagery...the Artistic intent was obvious. With Chrome...listen to a song like The Jaw. It sounds like a cassette recording of a serial killer's manifesto...there's no artistic flourish to it. Something Rhythmic, at best gloss, is a love song for a kinky worst, it's an expression of very dark impulses...and there's no punch moral.

      Of course they also wrote songs like's not all bleak.

      Either way they're criminally underappreciated...but, then so are a lot of the bands they inspired.

  2. Gloriously scuzzy. They sort of passed me by at the time, which makes no sense at all in retrospect. I was just listening to TV As Eyes and Something Rhythmic and I said to Mr SDS, "do you remember liking Chrome much?" because it was surprising me that I had no recollection of that being the case. He reminded me that when we stayed one night in a squat in Bath (while FoPI were on a 'mini-tour') our hosts kept playing Chrome and apparently we weren't that bothered about them! But, as I say, that seems to make no sense to me now in retrospect, because hearing them all these years later they are really tapping into something that has always been there inside me.

    1. It's a mystery...a mystery that really bugs the five of us. :)
      It is surprising that they got no play with y'all but obviously you weren't the only ones. Fix that s***.
      They've been name checked a few times but the only one's that paid direct homage to them were Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers...and those early records (those fantastic few releases) are clearly Chromed...and Pavement who were very explicit about their Chrome obsession. We'll get to that.

  3. At the risk of being thrown out of Low Cotton (again), Chrome is a band I've sold over a record shop counter several times, but, to the best of my memory, never previously heard. This stuff fits right in with my love of The Swell Maps, Stooges and a certain aspect of Hawkwind. During the second run through of these selections I headed over to EMusic and purchased the whole album. Unexpectedly fantastic.

    1. You know I had to drop the hammer on George this week for similar offenses but, this move might get your record expunged.

      They fit seemlessly into that crowd.

      Brace yourself and your billfold....we're soon to hear what happens when two middle-class kids from the suburbs and a wanna be Hawkwind dope addict pick this stuff back up as a lark.

  4. I've never heard of Chrome. But whilst playing a couple of tracks my partner suddenly found other things she had to do, out of earshot. Abstract nympho reminded me of the Butthole Surfers. And a whole lot better than Prince too, I must say.

    1. It's like the whole internet is trying to get banned.

      The Butthole Surfers were very much fans of Chrome and Gibby went on to do some stuff with Helios Creed.

    2. Did Gibby do any music with Prince? THAT might be worth a listen

    3. Ask and you shall receive...George now joins Spliff in ranks of multiple offenders.

      Another 5 minute ban...third offense is 10.