Locals Only: Guinea Worms

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After more than a decade of brilliantly bizarre punk 7-inch singles, cassettes and limited-run homemade CD-Rs, Foster had plenty of material to cough up.

"I just gave them everything I could find," Foster said.

All told, Foster handed over a dozen discs' worth of "Worm rock," which label honchos Adam Smith, B.J. Holesapple and Sean Wright helped him pare down into the 22-track double vinyl "Sorcererers of Madness (4rd Year in a Row!)."

Although the first pressing of 550 sold out last Wednesday - a consequence of the Worms' favored status among the breed of vinyl junkies who discuss music on terminal-boredom.com and listen to New Jersey radio station WFMU - a few copies have been set aside for Friday's release party at Cafe Bourbon Street with The Frustrations, Terrible Twos and The Unholy Two.

Foster started Guinea Worms in 1997, and the current lineup of Gary Brownstein, Danny Moreland and Chuck Della Lana has been together since 2005, but they've never done a conventional album release. Instead, Foster typically scrapes together a batch of recent recordings, burns about 50 copies and distributes them at shows.

"I didn't want to put out a vanity CD," Foster explained. He later added, "I don't really see the point in LPs. I see the point in hit singles. I'd much rather just keep putting out singles and MP3s on the internet or whatever."

Thus, the fact that "Sorcererers" exists at all should inspire rejoicing among fans of off-kilter punk acts like The Fall and Country Teasers. The mammoth 82-minute set compiles tracks from 2001 to '09, culled mostly from the homemade mini-albums. Thanks to Foster's peculiar way with words and music, it's a remarkably consistent listen.

Many of the more thunderous songs - "Taking Lives," "Bugged" - are built on the band's trademark dissonant, disjointed low-end riffs. Foster's rockers hit hard, but they come at you sidearm, which keeps them kindred with laid-back but equally skewed offerings like "After Our Party." Zany curiosities like "Zingers" and "Apples in the Oatmeal" fit right in with the nauseous dirge "Oliver Reed."

Then there's the lyrics, which usually spin out from some title that's gripped Foster's imagination. He's fond of clever wordplay ("Hi resolution/ Goodbye resolution") and hidden jabs. As he put it, "Sometimes I just try to say nasty things without saying nasty words."

Sometimes his barbs aren't so shrouded; "Drunk In Yr Uggs" gets its point across quite plainly. But even at his most straightforward, Foster is a chronicler of the absurd, reflecting a weird world in all its nauseous shades.

When: 10 p.m. Friday, March 5

Where: Cafe Bourbon Street, Campus

Web: myspace.com/guineaworms