Thing of the Day
A THUMPERMONKEY ISN’T JUST FOR CHRISTMAS….
December 24th 2010
Merry Christmas Joseph Suttle
Er, let’s let the Thumpermonkeys take up the story:
A while ago, we got a request from Houston, Texas...
"My name is Julia and I really like your music. My boyfriend (Joseph Suttle, you may have corresponded with him on Facebook a few times) is absolutely in love with your music. If I could, I would buy him a plane ticket to the UK to see one of your shows. But, seeing as I'm pretty broke and that's really f*****g far away, I was wondering if you could do me a favor. Joey and I have started a sort of war on who can one-up the other with presents. During the last gift-giving scenario, he took me hang gliding. I think it would be really cool if you could record a short (ideally somewhat musical) video..."
How could we resist!
We're not sure it beats hang gliding, but we present to the world 'Merry Christmas Joseph Suttle', featuring the previous Thumpermonkey Lives! lineup, (Mike Hutchinson on some of the bass duties).
Have a deeply weird Christmas, Joseph!
Hear the results here….
Silly youtube vid here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-LUX-oCMPQ
And why is Joseph Suttle in love with their music? Here's an album review from the Organ archives:
NOV '09: THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! - We Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy
Fire (Genin/Tooting Bizarre) - In which an unnoticed Sarf London band,
twinkling away doing their good and frankly slightly odd stuff down there
in the badlands explodes into an outrageous supernova, outshining half
This album, these six epic songs, have ideas way beyond their station: huge depth, big sound, immaculate arrangements, and a big, big voice. It's a lot of things, and greater than the sum of its parts: unashamed proper prog, lifted, by an avant sensibility, out of cheesy traps, yet swapping the harsher elements of experimental and avant rock for something more melodic, for refined guitars and real singing. Main man Michael Woodman's downright classy voice is like a polished Peter Hammill, all power and in tune and spot-on vibrato. That fine voice is delivering twisted, complex melodies and equally twisted, happily ambiguous lyrics, the combination is thrilling.
There's nothing quite like Thumpermonkey Lives! but I can guess where they're coming from: they're the English Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, a more experimental Van Der Graaf Generator, they've got some of the headbending melodies of Time Of Orchids. They've been threatening this for a while, with a great debut album and much time spent hothousing their talents in their Immersion Composition Society lodge (you what? Go on, Google it, I dare you) - but We Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy Fire is still a surprise - a classic, even. Stuffed to the gills with possibly unconscious references to good things - hints of Yes, moments of Cardiacs-like odd sounds, loads of Gentle Giant - crikey. Throw in some Alex Harvey and Bowie and The Associates and Bobby Conn, a touch of Melvins if you like. It's challenging only in that the melodies are thick on the ground and take you off in many directions, but that the complex mathyness underlying much of the songs is made easier on the ear by Woodman's voice and the warm, clarity of the arrangements.
I can see both followers of hard-boiled avant-rock
and fans of more traditional prog bands like Porcupine Tree getting this,
and if Thumpermonkey Lives! ahem, live a bit longer, the big prog festival
organisers could well be beating a path to their door. It's a shame
to pigeonhole them, though - this is just compelling stuff, complete with
lyrics to dig into (I love the demented Vivian Stanshall-ish storyline
of Proctor Cylex, the Grendel-like menace of Whateley) and
for Woodman to wrap his voice around. It doesn't matter that they sound
a bit like some of the more obscure prog bands like Tamarisk, Citizen Cain
or England, they're better at it; stranger and more ambitious musically
than anything within the limits of that old prog rock scene.
You can imagine Thumpermonkey Lives! as they go about their lonely compulsion,
like so many of the bands I love and namedrop: playing those gigs sandwiched
between the local Oasis and the local Kasabian, some pub in the greasy
perenieum between Croydon and Clapham or the Midlands or maybe Stateside
equivalent. There's a couple of lunatics down the front who've hitched
for eight hours to see them, and behind them the unmoving, unblinking rows,
pints tilting, jaws thunking en mass on the floor. Their ears tell them
that here in this grotty room is a band as remarkable as any that ever
walked the planet, playing just for them: most of them won't believe it.
Out of that audience one or maybe two will offer the hitcher lunatics a
ride to tomorrow's gig, maybe the whole tour. The son of the headline band's
drummer will write their name on his school rucksack, and his friends will
sing the lyrics next time, and let it be known that this doesn't happen
to those bands that sound like Kasabian.
It happens to the Thumpermonkeys, the real underground bands who dare to be different, to go with their convictions... Go check it out, then go tell someone, spread the word, go discover Thumpermonkey Lives - www.thumpermonkey.com (Marina Organ)
Thumpermonkey Lives! play the Unicorn in Camden on New Years Eve and we’ll take Christmas day off thank you very much, next Thing Of The Day on December 26th.