This is an Ad for Cigarettes

[Ache Records,]

Acid music is a genre that could encompass just about anything, anytime and certainly, if the mood and substances are right, anywhere. How you define this musical variety is entirely up to you. Depending on the hits you take, even listening to disco and pop would make for an interesting experience. Having said that, these two releases fit an imaginary mould in their vibrant refusal to conform.
Vancouver native Andy Dixon who is the brain behind Secret Mommy knows a thing or two about non-conformity. He documented the sound of the tropics on "Hawaii 5.0". Then, with "Very Rec", he made a stab to comment on recreational areas in his neighborhood. This time around, Andy's focus is to concentrate on his talent as a songwriter and storyteller. In bringing lots of his friends together into the studio, Andy had just one stipulation which was that no instrument could be electrified. Idea was to create the most "anti-electronic electronic album" ever, which was full of real, homey sounds. Much of the music on "Plays" has a tendency to fall into the cut'n'paste category as rich woodwinds swirl with Andy's twangy guitar picking which is then smothered with wild percussion and strangely appealing vocals. One of the highlights on the record is the appeasing, windy violin playing from Jesse Zubot. The way it's mixed on top of the jarring cut'n'paste routine of the songs makes it the glue of the whole bit. Despairing effects on the record make it akin to a walk in a long buffet line. You start any song off with an element - jarring guitar lines, follow that up with some crashing cymbals, walk through a soup of effectively spliced vocals and end up with some mash-up fireworks for dessert. How many times have you heard ukulele used in an electronic pop song? "Grand About the Mouth" does just that to excellent effect. One of the best improvising passages [if you can call it that - improvising was done afterwards in the studio] ends up on "Up on Mt. Okay". As Shane Krause blows some wild baritone, Merida Anderson provides some squeaky vocalizing, while Lee Hutzulak doubles up on acoustic guitar along with Dixon. Studio improvisation or cut'n'paste mayhem. Who cares when it tastes so damn good!
Andy Dixon's "rock" project Winning strikes gold on their debut release "This is an Ad for Cigarettes". Pure guitar/drum/percussion variation with piano thrown in for good measure makes for some wicked and wild tonnage. Percussionist Paul Patko and guitarist Gregory Adams make for some fine ruckus of the highest voltage. If anything, this is more like hard rock meets staunch stop-and-go routines from another galaxy. If anything, I imagine Secret Mommy playing like this if they were a real rock trio. Let's say Dixon is the propelling force here. If that's a case, then he's trying to move the electronic cut'n'paste factor onto the stage. It works quite well, in fact, as the songs are sparsely broken up into motifs and crazed sub-sections that are self-contained. Don't expect much of this stuff to make real sense [this is acid music after all]. Best thing is the lyrics. From "Top Fan Mail":
"Pride pukes down the back of your blouse
We've colored a hundred moneys but they're still worth the same
Campaign coffins and salaried expression (Who does it for free?)
We've sold a hundred units but we can't change our name

It's nothing personal, it's just good business.
I traded your face for a circle and a 'C'"
On "I Killed a Fox that Killed a Hen" you get an impression Dixon is rallying up troops for a marketing seminar. In the same way our Canadian darlings NoMeansNo put some good sense into hardcore, Winning puts some jagged edges into the hard-rock, post-haste sounds.
Like a big fuck you to the whole world, these records rock with attitude to spare!

- Tom Sekowski

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>> SECRET MOMMY - Plays / WINNING - This is an Ad for Cigarettes

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