[25 November 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Back when the Electric Grandmother was still based in my hometown, a weekly paper tried to review the album Pee Sells…But Who’s Buying?. The poor fool assigned the task just couldn’t do it. He called the title “oddly fitting” and that it was “a challenging listen in the sense that it’s hard to make it through the damn thing.”
Boy, did he get off light.
Go to the label website for Infinite Number of Sounds and you will see that the sitcom-core pioneer duo Electric Grandmother has seven albums available for free download. Little did most of us know that there were seven albums that came before those. Make a Joyful Noise: The Cassette Recordings 1999-2002 is a 100-track album that cherry-picks tracks from those early tapes. Pete Faust admits there’s a lot more he’s withholding.
A quick description of sitcom-core is in order: lots of songs about popular junk culture, preferably of nostalgic value. You will never meet a songwriting duo who has dedicated more electricity to the recording of songs based on the TV show Full House than Pete Faust and his wife Mary Alice Hamnett. The recording quality of these 100 songs is crude to say the least (which actually puts the Grandmother’s recent output in an even more favorable light), but liner notes courtesy of Faust help hold your hand through the maze of juvenile heckling at the Tanner family, dissecting the hormonal gravity fields in Saved By the Bell and being mad at Columbia House CD service for a $12.00 invoice. Those sure were the days.
The last song is called “The Pee”, which I like to think of as an homage to the critic who couldn’t make it through 32 tracks in 2005, the poor baby. Watch the video below, and don’t say you weren’t warned.