A companion volume to the Screamin' Mee-Mees' career-spanning compilation Live from the Basement 1975-1997, Garbage Collage is unfortunately less self-deprecatingly tongue in cheek in its titling than one would hope. A lengthy 23-track collection of lo-fi home recordings stretching back to the duo's earliest days, Garbage Collage is a fine example of that point at which obscurantist collector nerd tendencies cross the line into a sort of compulsion. The St. Louis-based duo of Jon Ashline and Bruce Cole are an exceedingly minor band even as minor punk-era experimental bands go, but there was a bizarre wit and crude homemade charm to most of Live from the Basement 1975-1997, which is sort of an odd midpoint between Jonathan Richman, Captain Beefheart and R. Stevie Moore. But when one thinks about it, Garbage Collage is made up of songs that are too primitive, underwritten and weak even to make it onto the Screamin' Mee-Mees' handful of singles and the band's previous anthologies, including a pair of extremely bare-bones, lo-fi sessions recorded in 1972 and 1973 that were released on CD-R in 2001. So Garbage Collage consists of monotonous one-joke mumbles like "Disco for Drunks," 30-second improv fragments like "I've Been a Rollin' Stone" and random half-hearted demos like "The Jerseyville Bake-Off" (on which a potentially pretty good Guided by Voices-like pop song is all but obliterated by a too-loud rhythm track completely unconnected to the rest of the song), with little to recommend it to anyone beyond the most die-hard "obscurity equals quality" geek, and even they are unlikely to play it more than once or twice.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2