[personal profile] alexbayleaf posting in [community profile] rec_me_music
I have no particular theme or reason for posting these, other than that I really like TISM and think more people should know them.

How to explain this band? They're from Melbourne, Australia, and they play music that's somewhere in between quirky, funny, horrifying, and undergrad philosophy, all while wearing masks. They're like evil, scatologically inclined mirror universe version of They Might Be Giants. They're rumoured to be accountants and schoolteachers by day. Their members go by names like "Ron Hitler-Barassi" and "Humphrey B. Flaubert" (references to footballer Ron Barassi and children's television character Humphrey B. Bear, for the non-Australians reading.)

This quote from Wikipedia will give you an idea of what they're like: "By 1985 the band was playing regularly around Melbourne and soon released their début single, "Defecate On My Face" (1986), a 7" vinyl packaged in a 12" sleeve with all four sides glued shut"

I never saw them live but one time, I was meeting a friend who was working reception at a community radio station, and I had to wait a while for her to finish her shift. While I was sitting there, a stampede came through, shouting and pushing people out of their way, all dressed in black and wearing ski masks. It was TISM on their way to an interview.

The songs I'm about to link are those that are easiest to find on Youtube, which means the more recent stuff. But I got to know them through their earlier albums, "Hot Dogma" and "Great Truckin' Songs of the Renaissance", from the late 80s/early 90s. Those have a different sound (more like Australian pub rock, less like dance music) so it's worth hunting down some of that if you can.

Anyway, without further ado...

1) (He'll never be an) Old Man River



"I'm on the drug, I'm on the drug, I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix."



2) Greg, the stop sign!



The guy who's first to use cocaine
He'll end up in a court of law
As a prosecuting QC
Remember the school captain?
Success was matter of time.
I can hear her now as she screams,
Greg! You missed the stop sign.

This song is based on the TAC (Transport Accident Commission) shock ads that started airing in Victoria in the early 90s, showing horrific car accidents and their aftermath. It talks about how the kids who are rebels and losers in high school often turn out to be mainstream, and the kids who were top of their class... maybe end up smeared under a semi-trailer. Yeah. Catchy chorus though!

3) Thunderbirds Are Coming Out



I just love this video. Filmed in a single shot, it features a whole bunch of obscure-to-the-point-of-complete-irrelevance Melbourne bands, including a local suburban high school band, performing the song. TISM only appear (masked, as usual) in the final seconds.

4) Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me



This is probably their best known song, since it went viral because of the cute video.

So anyway, I love 'em, but I have to add a warning (if you made it past the poo humour, mocking celebrity overdoses, death-by-car-crash, and all the rest) that their music is frequently offensive, albeit usually in a satirical vein. Many people hate them, and with reason. So, proceed with caution.

The band probably says it best...

5) We are the champignons



I've been crucified by all the scribes -
You can't see my back for all the knives;
The commentators have done all they could:
And fair enough - I'm just no good.

I try my best, there's no excuse;
You come to realise that it's just no use.
It's about time everyone understood
The simple fact - I'm just no good.

This latest effort is pretty drab;
Try Harem Scarum, they're always fab.
Turn off the radio, I know I would:
Let's just face it - I'm just no good.



If you're interested in more, pretty much all their stuff is on iTunes. Best Off is their greatest hits compilation.
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May 2012

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