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Monkey Banana Kitchen . Family Fodder


staubgold 130
2014. cd . dl . lp

"Family Fodder exude an exhilarating sense that everything was possible, that there weren't any limits to imagination and humour. The scope of their musical range remains as dizzying and exciting as it once was." (Time Out New York)

Staubgold proudly presents the legendary first album from 1980 by UK underground heroes Family Fodder, for the first time reissued on CD and vinyl. The CD version comes as a lovingly assembled compilation (total running time: 79:52 min !). It features the complete "Monkey Banana Kitchen" LP, the 12" EP "Schizophrenia Party" (1981) and the 7" singles "Film Music" (1981) and "The Big Dig" (1982), all originally released on Fresh Records. Guest musicians include This Heat's Charles Bullen on drums, guitar, vocals, percussion and viola.

The Wire magazine listed "Monkey Banana Kitchen" among their "100 Records That Set The World On Fire (While No One Was Listening)" and wrote: "A loose collection of friends and, more often than not, wanderers, Family Fodder reached their apex (or at least one of them) with Monkey Banana Kitchen. The music took the ferocity of contemporaneous British punk and scaled it way back. They also eschewed the giant pop hook, replacing it with the hoop jumping of songs in three languages, instruments played for only four seconds, harmonic call-and-response motifs and opaque but symbolic political lyrics. Multiple reprises of phrases and fragments result in a much more subtle and effective memory-tickle. I can't count how many instruments finally made it onto the album, though piano (providing much of the rhythm), melodica, sax, synth and cowbell dominate. Their integrated eclecticism is actually layer after thin layer of dub, jazz and New Wave - peering down into this multi-ply music, you detect traces of structural complexity, and the pop that's there blurs. Lesson No 537 from Fodder members: participate only when absolutely necessary - knowing when to pare down makes it easier to transcend."

Family Fodder

Family Fodder was originally formed in 1979 by Alig Pearce - with a cast of thousands over three decades. They emerged from the melting-pot of 70s/80s London alongside This Heat, The Flying Lizards, The Pop Group, Slits and many others. The original formula consisted of psychedelic and new wave influences, incisive song-writing, improvisation, experiment and far-out dub mixing. They always managed to evade major exposure, but influenced generations of bands on five continents. Family Fodder was often more at home in the studio than on-stage, but completed several European tours as well as cherished performances in their native London.

The group released a series of compelling, now collectable singles and albums between 1979 and 1983. Described as "entertaining idiosyncratic experimentalism with pop sensibilities", they were best known for indie-chart hits such as "Debbie Harry", "Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling)" and "Savoir Faire". More recently, Family Fodder songs have been covered by Zion Train and Unrest, and they've been hailed as "unsung heroes" in The Wire.

Family Fodder also appear on the infamous Nurse With Wound list. "Their music was generally playful, a hint of dub and reggae mixed with absurd, blissful pop, with synthpunk and sometimes experimental instrumentation. Most of the lyrics were also sung in French, courtesy of original vocalist Dominique Levillain, a combination rumored to be of some significant influence over Stereolab." (Systems of Romance)