Jan 21, 2009, 06:39AM

WEIRD SOUNDS: Wild About Jenkem

A new punk release is an early contender for Most Disgusting Theme Compilation of the Year.

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Our latest semi-regular music segment on Splice should, I hope, please all those who indulge in late afternoon burrito binges while cozying up to the “News of the Weird” section in the City Paper. With Weird Sounds, we intend to shed light on songs and albums that shouldn't feasibly exist. We're submerging ourselves in the scummy depths of music subcultures everywhere in an attempt to visualize sound in all its colors and variations. We're peeling back the skin if you will, in a pedagogic sense.

And what better way to kick off this segment than with a 10-minute punk compilation on the joys of fermented feces? I know, they have compilations on everything these days—from Ghananese automobile honk music to reinterpretations of Disney classics featuring Sun Ra. As far as I know Wild About Jenkem is the first album entirely dedicated to the pleasures of jenkem. What exactly is jenkem you ask?

The Gaye Blades, which includes Black Lips bassist Jared Swiley, explain the vital components of jenkem on their track “My Shit Belongs To Pee.” Essentially, you mix urine and feces (either found in sewage pipes or cultivated at home) in a bottle. Nick Storella addresses the next step on “Bottle and Balloon.” After laying the bottle out in the sun for some time, you attach a balloon to the lip, which will subsequently fill up with hallucinogenic gasses. On “Jenkem Stankem,” the Back C.C.s rip through a minute-long garage rock freakout as if just singing about the odor might induce hurling. And in the end, what’s the result? Party Cannon sums it up nicely when they sing “Get Fucked Up! Get Fucked Up!”

Generally speaking, the “A” side of Wild About Jenkem is the more fast-paced, headache-inducing player while the “B” side explores more laidback musical terrain. Some of the highlights include “Ballad of Leroy Jenkems,” a simple bluesy number that sounds like it’s being strummed on a Deep South side porch. Coconut Coolouts perform a charming surf-rock jam that might recall the psychedelic beach music of Wavves. “I Need You (Leroy)” by LiveFastDie probably tops all the competitors with scuzzy guitars and some soulful crooning reminiscent of the Dirtbombs.

For a compilation of 10 songs in 10 minutes, Wild About Jenkem is surprisingly diverse, mixing garage rock, fuzz-heavy punk, and even some rockabilly. Clearly, no one here is taking the jenkem issue seriously and I assume none of the artists have actually tried it except for maybe Gaye Blades since those guys are filthy. Jenkem use is most popular among the youth in the poorer regions of Africa, namely Zambia where the director of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development was quoted as saying “Initially, they used to get it from the sewer, but they make it anywhere [...] They say it keeps them warm and makes them fearless.”

Check this shit out at the Killer Diller Records MySpace, which I assume was not named after the 1948 film with Nat King Cole.

  • Back in '72, I spent a couple of months in Saan Pedro, Belize with Matt Poland. We used to do jenkem before we'd head up to the Ambergris Cay to go night swimming with the reef sharks. It does indeed make you fearless. If only we'd had this compilation back then.

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  • '72 was the year Kaufmann lost his right leg just above the knee. Later on we'd laugh that, for all the night swimming with reef sharks, he didn't lost that leg to the bastards. Naw, he lost it when he didn't settle up with Zbigniew, a Polish emigre who ran the jenkem racket in San Pedro. See, Zbigniew knew - like the guys who hawk piss for dope fiends to beat urinalysis - that the premium stuff comes from grade-schoolers. We never did ask how he got it. Anyway, when Kaufmann didn't pay up for the good shit, Zbigniew set his goons and a half-chihuahua mongrel named Lourdes on him. Never could stand that dog.

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  • Damnit, Poland. I thought we weren't gonna bring that up anymore. Though I do thank you for bandaging me up in the back of the old Citroen van and driving me up to Gody's shack north of the Boca Bacalar Chico. Haha. I remember I said just pour some tequila on it, it'll be fine. Ah, good thing we didn't waste good tequila like that, huh?

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  • Shit son that weren't a Citroen, it was an old-ass Renault that, if you remember, we won from Zbigniew about three months earlier. Gody sure was good people, though, sheeit. Until we all got into the movie business in the 80's and he ditched us and changed his name to Weinstein. He kept us out of the Sundance Film Festival all through the 80's, claiming we were making pornos or some shit. Man, they never did prove that in court.

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  • Well hell, Poland, let's be honest -- that 10min Donkey Show we added to our adaptation of Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory" was pretty racy -- even for the 80s. I remember Valentina Vargas used to do lines of coke off that donkey before filming.

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