Cargo Cult/Texas Biscuit Bombs

Cargo Cult/Texas Biscuit Bombs (Modern City Records)

Vinyl Platters

Cargo Cult/Texas Biscuit Bombs

(Modern City Records)

Austin post-punk quartet Cargo Cult (1985-1987), starring former Big Boys mouthpiece Randy "Biscuit" Turner (1949-2005) and future Jesus Lizard guitar machinist Duane Denison, cut demos at Ben Blank Studios for what the band hoped would follow up its Touch and Go debut, Strange Men Bearing Gifts. Mixed off a CD burn of the last surviving cassette, its precious sliver of Red River history holds down one-half of this double vinyl "Two-Headed Cobra," a boutique package from French indie label Modern City Records, with bios, mini Xerox'd show fliers, and a set of 20 8-by-10 black-and-white gig art reproductions, matching Cargo Cult and Turner's Texas Biscuit Bombs with the best of Austin's inglorious post-punk past: the Dicks, Butthole Surfers, Hickoids, and Brown Whornet, etc. Cargo Cult divides seven songs over two sides of gray vinyl inlaid with aurora yellow highlights, which contrasts the appropriately dank, hell-fried Munsters mash of opener "I Can See Miles and Miles of Miles Davis," Denison's dinosaur pulse trolling for bash as Turner barks like a commie Drag worm. Better still is the succeeding "Cutting Paper Dolly," wherein Don Davis' reptilian bass taunts the guitarist's soon-to-be-trademark chugging lunge and jazzabilly solo, with Biscuit raving like an untamed R&B punk writhing through the late 1940s. "Computer Date Killer" needles its uptempo into your eye with the serial precision of 1991's Goat by that aforementioned David Yow band, while A-side closer "Aleister Crowley's Dead" races more future Rev. Horton Heat like hot rods at the hop. The flip side furthers a Jesus Lizard agenda with the moody angularity of "Roses and Thorns" and metal tangle "Ant Farm." Closer "Meanest Man Alive" name checks Chuck Norris and John Wayne on its way to sounding like a Faster Pussycat outtake. Four stars. The second LP, orange vinyl with a vanilla swirl, opens with a pair of studio tracks from Turner's last group, Texas Biscuit Bombs, 2003, "Yelling Down a Well" and a cover of ZZ Top's "Heard It on the X," plus two shows a year apart, 2004/2005, at Rudyard's Pub in Houston. The art punk bop of "Yelling Down a Well" is voiced by a much older, wiser, at times retiring Turner, but then the pace at which the fourpiece tears through the Top tune belies that. A live sampling the following year opens with the Big Boys' fractured "History," plus a romp through three additional Big Boys breakdowns, and the chunky chain drive of Creedence Clearwater's "Proud Mary." A fiery, Bon Scott-aping take on AC/DC's "Rocker" bests any price of admission and/or download here, before Big Boys closer "Baby Let's Play God" flexes the undiminished, Jello Biafra-like gullet shake with which Turner wrote himself into punk annals. The so-called "other side" preserves the singer's second-to-last performance, beginning with an instrumental classic rock mini medley, then it's into the Minutemen's clustering "This Ain't No Picnic." There's no containing this blaze, which includes a cover of Space City rockers Really Red's "Teaching You the Fear," and an audience-assisted free-for-all on the Dicks' closing "Hate the Police" that'll bring a tear to your eye. Brush it dry with a reprint of Turner's lengthy period essay, "The Flies of Texas Are Upon You," that traces the alternative scene as if by Zero Mostel mastering a theremin. Another four stars. This Two-Headed Cobra's off the charts. (The Biscuit Bombs' record release shines up Trophy's, Saturday, Oct. 9, during the Hickoids' four-night Austin Corn Lover's Fiesta.)


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Cargo Cult, Texas Biscuit Bombs

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