Destroy All Monsters

Swamp Gas

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Swamp Gas is a collection of studio recordings made in Detroit in 1998 and 2001. This unique set -- which comes in a large baggie, enclosing a newspaper, sticker, and CD -- features music/anti-music by original Destroy All Monsters' members Cary Loren, Mike Kelly, and the trio's original guitar-terrorist, Jim Shaw. They're aided and abetted by guest musicians including Marnie Weber, Anneke Auer, and Loren's partners in his then-current Monster Island project: Warn Defever (His Name Is Alive), Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry), and Erika Hoffmann. The group combines to improvise anti-music/noise music along with the sampled voice of the late Sun Ra, which was remixed and overlaid from original source tapes, as well as sound loops supplied by the Japanese noise artist Masaya Nakahara (aka Violent Onsen Geisha). "The Voice of Silence" features a psychic channeling Madame H.P. Blavatsky, droning on about "the seven rays of eternity." The real highlight, however, is "Dexter 1966," an 18-minute Mike Kelly rant which includes excerpts from police reports of UFO sightings (filed in March of 1966 in Dexter, MI). This is interspersed with Kelly's DAM lyrics, which are sung to the melodies of such '60s radio hits as the Beatles' "Nowhere Man," Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly," Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound," and Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking." The theory at work here is that these popular songs were vaguely disguised messages/warnings of death and destruction to Earthlings, who required extraterrestrial intervention to save them from destroying themselves. Also of considerable interest is the accompanying Swamp Gas Gazette newspaper, which is chock-full of articles on UFOs, UFO-based religions, and "unexplainable garage band fictions mixed with descriptions of psychedelic trips and illustrated with cosmic clip art images. This includes outlandish apocalyptic theories behind the hidden meanings of classic rock tracks like "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (here, it's "In-A-Godda-Da-Vida"), "96 Tears," and other connections between the emergence of garage rock, the number "13," and Biblical prophecies of one sort or another.