CD REVIEW: Maximum Headlessness "Songs To Sleep To"


CD: Songs To Sleep To
ARTIST: Maximum Headlessness

Who'd have thought that the worst-named CD of 2008 would have "The Last Great Album Cover" on it? If you can sleep to the industrial-tinged and overdriven electropunk stylings of Jett Bailes' guitar and sample-based bursts of rock, you:

A. Have a severe form of Narcolepsy, no big deal...
B. Are in a persistive vegetative state (that's not funny)...
C. Suffer from death...call the Law Offices of Danny Cline...

The cover of the CD pulls you into Bailes' insane motel world; he's taken the available technology and made something by himself that few bands would ever do, winning originality points. Seriously; how to describe the 15-song (listed) effort of some of Bailes' older stuff, plus some of the new?

It's like falling asleep watching TV, and dreaming of starting a band with Trent Reznor, Gibby Haynes, and maybe Beck, all of whom may have been on "Trioxin 245", or at least Marijuana, at the time.

As Bailes comes on on the remedially-named nihilistic thrash 808-blipped number "ABCD" he screams "What do you care what I say anyway?" Is it ironic or rhetorical? Most of the talking on the songs are samples -- it's a veritable cavalcade of celebrity samples on display on the tracks. You have (to name but a few):

Jack Nicholson as the POTUSA in "Mars Attacks"
Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"
Don Knotts, and
Biff from "Back To The Future"

Aside from letting the samples do the talking, Bailes' original lyrics seem like broken-hearted back-handed crack speak.

"Lesbian Surf Nazis" along with "Scroobles" and "Grunge Is Dead" seem to have the coolest guitar-driven sound. Compared to the more synth-based material with the more ridiculous sounding vocals, these types of nuggets stand out.

"Ghost Pains/The Sickening" is a slowly-building good example of Bailes' more experimental synth side, maybe. I don't know what he wants to do with his sound -- neither do you, and that's what makes it cool.

Bailes, having left behind his band-related involvement in I Am Ahab, has been pursuing this Maximum Headlessness (now solo) thing, and it rocks. If I'd have bought this CD, I would be satisfied.

For the closer, we get to hear "The Last Great Album Cover" by Billy and the Floating Eyeball of Doom; a mandolin-soaked ode to the LP and their "psychadelic landscapes" and an anti-movie star mp3 ringtone polemic. For me the song sews the CD up quite nicely. And, it shows that regardless of your feelings about the state of rock, Bailes has taken technology and done something way more DIY than most of you will ever do. Listening to him rock the fader on the samples, the vocal layerings, and the miscellaneous synth noise in general gives you a kind of sight -- you should listen to the CD (remastered by Russ Fox) with headphones on.

The only thing that sucks about Maximum Headlessness is that there are no shows. Kudos to Bailes though -- he's done something totally unique, and it rocks.

Check out the WVRockscene Q&A with Jett Bailes here.

No comments: