Northern Rocks Bear Weird Vegetable
Sacred Bones Records presents Northern Rocks Bear Weird Vegetable—the next full-length from London, England’s The Rebel. The alter ego of Country Teasers’ Ben Wallers, The Rebel dates back to the tail-end of the 80s—having existed side-by-side throughout Country Teasers’ prolific career—often releasing records at a steadier clip than Waller’s main project with songs too madcap to fit into even their William-Burroughs-by-way-of-The-Residents take on country music. Wallers’ characteristic self-aware irony and surreal gender/race ruminations are still present but sitting backseat in this more fleshed out concept album about decaying conditions on the planet 3AR7H. Although Burroughs comparisons are inevitable, Northern Rocks Bear Weird Vegetable could only have been scripted by The Rebel.
The album’s narrator is in a band, has a valet named Mulholland, but inhabits an otherwise unrecognizable dystopian landscape where evil science laboratories combat college radio personalities, and nuclear war with Iran is well underway. Important issues of today and tomorrow are touched on. In “Why Must I Pay?” Mr. Thatcher, a future Prime Minister, is excoriated for the rising costs of tea, rent, drugs and sex. In “Scarlett Johansen Conceiving the Design&8221; we are shown a horrific world in which starlets replace scientists as consumerdom’s inventors. In “You’re Just Like Tammy Wynette” the Radical Islam Problem is diagnosed by looking at the politics of ladies headgear, while in “Turtle v. Octopus” a battle between Lovecraftian ancient adversaries plays out, potentially affecting the future of Music itself.
This is the first Rebel album to be recorded in the studio with a live backing band...that band being the Country Teasers. In terms of sound, Northern Rocks Bears Weird Vegetable exchanges The Rebel’s clautrophobic home studio layers and d.i.y. effects for the improvisational band chemistry and controlled looseness of Country Teasers’ infamous live act.