Music Monday: Frank Zappa’s Midwestern Spawn

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Tin Huey
Before Obscurity: The Bushflow Tapes CD
Smog Veil

A reissue of art rock from the heart of the Midwest circa mid-1970s. Tin Huey were from Akron, Ohio, and share some of the more far-out music sensibilities that permeated not just the region (Pere Ubu, Devo), but the whole musically adventurous landscape of the 1970s. Bands like this, formed by competent if not downright talented musicians who strived to take the piss out of the music scene, lyrically and compositionally, seemed to exist in every town with a decent sized college. Cue the Gizmos from Bloomington, Indiana. Many of these bands of geeks got swept up (or lumped in) with punk rock when it hit. But most of didn’t even really fit the bill as outcast punks.

For Tin Huey, comparisons to Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and, to a lesser degree, Soft Machine all fit the bill. Plenty of dizzying key changes and tempo shifts to keep things interesting. They’re playing with music. Good stuff, particularly those who can really get down with the wacky and witty side of Zappa or more generally with weirdo Midwest skronk rock. These recordings were made between 1978 and 1979, some live, some in the studio. A few members went on to form the more pedestrian, but popular, Waitresses, but don’t hold that against Tin Huey.

 

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