Julian Cope’s Album of the Month

Liquorball - Evolutionary Squalor

Evolutionary Squalor

AOTM #109, June 2009ce
Released 2009 on Rocketship Records
Side One – Evolutionary Squalor Part 1 (18.49)
Side Two – Evolutionary Squalor Part 2 (17.01)

Note 1: Liquorball asked that their record not be streamed; a request with which I’m happy to comply. Ta muchly, J.

Note 2: David Keenan’s supreme underground emporium Volcanic Tongue has copies in the UK.

You’re Ugly & Your Mother Dresses You Funny

When my spies first told me Liquorball was back together after a full decade of silence, Lordy was I ever suspicious. Why on earth would the band wanna compromise three boner fido snot-gobbling classic 1990s LPs (LIQUORBALL FUCKS THE SKY, LIVE IN HITLER’S BUNKER and LIQUORBALL HAULS ASS)? I mean, with hobo/hunk/drummer supreme Mitch Fogelman out of the picture, couldn’t Grady Runyan, Feast & Co. just give the project a new name and leave us old timer fans to drool upon our Zimmerframes in a blissful oblivion of stoner incontinence? I mean, those old Liquorball LPs hurt and were even quite psychically dangerous to own. Moreover, if the music contained within their grooves had been housed in artwork true to Liquorball’s sound, then they woulda come enfolded in sleeves of asbestos brick laminated with anti-climb paint. I mean, back in the day, this band was one hoity-toity beast, so following up three epic barf-o-thons this late in the day could easily have been as Lame-O and as tiresomely Muse-O and Merely Achievingly So-so as both the reformed Rockets from the Tomb AND Television. Oh, the sleepless nights, the gnashing of teeth, the cold compresses to the forehead, brothers’n’sisters. I was a neurotic mess until I flipped this brand new sucker on to my Garrard SP25 and turned the volume knob Way (the fuck) Up. Hmm… the first few minutes had me worried. Where were the strangled-by-barbed wire guitar riffs that the Runyoid had previously served up as briskly and matter-of-factly as S. Squarepants on a Crabby Patty OD? Where was Feast’s fabulous sub-Shockabilly, sub-sub-Eddie Murphy ‘It … Was …The … Dukes’ pre-garrotted grunting? Where were those extremely troublesome non-riffs that had petered out into seemingly ever-unfolding soundchecks or those one-man (any man) displays of sheer stubborn showing off? Where were the random stop/starts? Before the end of Side One, however, my fears subsided as the latest addition to the sacred Liquorball canon gradually insinuated its weasly ways into my melted plastic brain … okay, so let’s cleanse the palette and start all over again; get this straight from the start. No, the External Cuntedness that was the old Liquorball’s trademark has vanished entirely, as have the Marzuraan-style lumpenprõle grunt-o-thons that made these protagonists so, well, subhuman. However, whilst the music of Liquorball is nowadays definitely made not by stewed orcs at the end of a 3-week-long Prague Stag, we can (believe me, kiddies) still rely on the good judgement of Grady Runyan always to play the Intuitive Non-Career Mover card and shift the whole schmeer so far sideways that, whilst he’s still putting the boot in, this time round it’s with a totally different type of steel toecap. Nice.

Featuring just two untitled sidelong tracks, the All New Adventures of Liquorball 2009CE still manages to showcase the aforementioned Feast, albeit in a highly reduced role here featured solely on bass plus former violinist Doug Pearson, who is nowadays Etch-a-sketching freeform synth doo-doo across the heavens with his Wiard 300 modular. Methinks Doug is to Liquorball what Aluminium Queen was to Monoshock. Cranking up the vibe still further, Liquorball has cleverly inveigled former Hives … sorry, Stooges free-sax player Steve MacKay into the band in the Special Guest role, like some Scrappy Doo-styled re-write to lend Added Pep to the old formula. And there’s the rub, brothers’n’sisters. For it don’t half work a treat! In One Fell Swoop, Liquorball has – with the addition of this mythical squawker – barfed forth precisely the kind of Highly Sustaining sub-sub-free jazz scrawl that we all thought woulda died forever after Miles Davis corrupted us with all those mid-70s post-Krautrock/proto-No Wave double-vinyl behemoths such as AGARTHA, GET UP WITH IT and DARK MAGUS. Yup, the Monster Munch’n’Pepsi Max teenage tantrum version of Liquorball is dead, replaced instead by high endurance older guys with a low budget, a fixed time limit and a desperate need to shit all the kack out of their overcharged minds whilst caught collectively in the sweet maelstrom of each others’ combined whinnying. Fantastic? I should cocoa! Recorded quite basically with the musicians all set up between the tight LP racks of Grady Runyan’s California record store, EVOLUTIONARY SQUALOR comprises of two ever-unfolding, ever-building, ever-regrouping pieces that greedily & intuitively cram into their performances the best bits of every Krautrock powerdrive, every surf instrumental, every Cleveland 1975 pre-Punk roar, every free jazz (Archie Shepp, Miles Davis, Art Ensemble of Chicago) lick, and then batter the thing until you can’t tell whether it’s a plaice or a haddock. So while Iggy From The Pru is still lamenting the loss of his cash cow following the death of Ron Asheton, fellow Stooge Steve MacKay has followed his heart to Ventura, California, playing a major role in re-igniting this old Liquorball project by contributing so much stellarly twatted sax that we old timer Stooges Nutters need no longer stare listlessly off into space imagining whole LPs of ‘Freak’, ‘LA Blues’ and ‘Asthma Attack’. Babies, if they so chose these Liquorball guys could do it for us! In the meantime, we can all haul ass (as the Runyoid would no doubt term it) down to the local vinyl emporium and cop this mighty EVOLUTIONARY SQUALOR LP, 40 minutes of Taliban level No Compromise. Better still, Liquorball have even upped the ante somewhat. For, whereas the old Liquorball sounded like nothing on earth, this new ensemble sounds like nothing in the Universe. If you buy one vinyl LP this year, revolutionary motherfuckers, make it this one by Liquorball. And if it sells well, maybe we can persuade Messrs. Runyan, Feast & Co to record a whole slew of these suckers; imagine these mad cunts once they’re back in the saddle! Gentlemen of the ensemble, many thanks for this hellride. Like that excellent first batch you hatched back in the day, EVOLUTIONARY SQUALOR is most serpently gonna give us all many years of listening pleasure, not to mention hefty psychic usage. Multi-tasking? U-Betcha!

Liquorball Early Discography

‘Come Fly With Us’ (Blackjack 1990)
‘Willie the Worm’ (BlackJack 1991)


BULBJACK 7" (Blackjack 1994)