Sunday, March 04, 2007

Thomas Truax: Spook Show

(PsychoTeddy Records, 1988)

Here's one I forgot I had - an EP (or is it a mini-LP?) of very badly recorded synth-goth -- think of the most overwrought Cure song and then imagine it recorded on a 4-track cassette with Radio Shack microphones... This promo came to my post office box in the late 80's from Thomas Truax, whose PR photos (see below, too) suggest he was trying to cast himself as a pretty boy Edwardian vampire.

Truax has since been sporting more of a Mad Scientist personna - inventing instruments such as his "Hornicator" (a video showcasing the instrument is here) - he's also gotten better in his recording techniques. Drowned in Sound calls him a "one man anti-folk machine." At any rate, his website disavows this recording - there's no mention of it in the discography.

Couldn't really bring myself to digitize much of this except for the pretty little music box instrumental (unintentionally made prettier by the "vinylizing" effect) called "Above My Bed." Listening to it reminds of music you might have heard on a Tim Burton movie of which I was a big fan in the late 80's even though I never got much into the "goth" thing.

I've included a newer song below from Mr. Truax (hope he doesn't mind), which I kind of enjoy, called "Escape from the Orphanage" and it's readily available at his website here.

An accompanying Truax show review to the Drowned In Sound page compares Truax's live performance to Tom Waits saying, "because there's a creativity about it and an attractively skewed aesthetic at work..." He appears to be playing 'round UK and Ireland at this point in case you want to check him out.

"Above My Bed" - from the out of print Spook Show
"Escape From The Orphanage" - from the 2002 Full Moon Over Wowtown

For your enjoyment, here's some of the PR material that was included in this promo EP I received when I was still doing a fanzine:

Love the "cat and mouse photo" above. I've researched but can't find any reference to co-producer Frederic Harris having been associated with Klaus Nomi.

Promo photo from Spook Show package
Although all the parts on this record are played by Truax, his touring band line-up is in the promo materials above. Bassist Stephan Wichnewski (believe that is the guy second from the left but go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong) played on Yo La Tengo's New Wave Hotdogs and the President album in the late '80s.

There was also a nice little hand-crafted lyric sheet put together in a format like a mini-zine.

More links:
Saved Round:
Truax claims in his bio he is an illegitimate son of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and works as an animator on Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken.


adam said...

I saw Thomas Truax last year, in a tiny club with an even tinier crowd. He ignored the stage and just came and played in the middle of us all, getting people to join in on his various homemade instruments and occasionally jumping on the bar or running off into the toilets to continue his songs. One of the best performances I saw all year, I would be very happy to go see him again. said...

Hey, let's please hear the whole album (ep?).

And the woman (presumedly) on the far left in the promo photo looks like the kind of girl I always wanted to date in high-school but could never work up the nerve to talk to.

Jim H said...

I didn't digitize the whole EP cuz I didn't really *like it* but can do that if people are interested and Mr. Truax doesn't complain (I'll send him email) - perhaps just do a quick conversion to MP3 and throw the sides up as two big files.

Jim H said...

Chust a quick update -- I got a message through to Thomas and he said it's okay to post the rest of the album so I'll work on that over the next few days.

Anonymous said...

jim, i have something to tell you. how can i contact you personally?

Jim H said...

My email is on this page.