HUMAN TOILET | LEAP YEAR | 711 SPLATTER 7" VINYL RECORD
A fun thing for a bands to do before the band’s collective dream (of “making it,” proving all the high school haters and embarrassed parents wrong, getting far enough out of their bullshit hometowns that their individual teen ghosts and childhood trauma and managers at Target can’t follow) dies an inevitable, ignominious death, is play a little game called “RIYL.”
RIYL is an acronym used in band biographies, one sheets, and all the other industry mandated literature that DIY bands pay differently specialized cocaine users thousands of dollars to dispense to the class of intellectual Lord Fauntleroys known as “music writers.” This is done so that said writers, when fully embodying their job requirements of “comparing one musician to another,” will not have to extend their descriptive imagination to places that might strain whatever tenuous psyche the industry mental health plans allow. RIYL stands for “recommended if you like,” and it’s usually followed by the three or four artists the band in question can stand to be compared to. The listed bands should be obscure enough to flatter the critic and popular enough to potentially woo the last living consumer without working internet/earbuds. This slap and tickle of writer or potential fan must be maintained while walking the fine line between delusion and self-abasement. I.e. instead of “Led Zeppelin,” say “White Stripes.” Instead of “Throbbing Gristle,” say “Missing Foundation.” Of course band can just list their slightly more popular peers (Say Anything is a popular choice for Weezer cover bands) but that runs the risk of the listed artist denying the comparison behind the listing band’s back, maybe in front of someone who might otherwise have been inclined to make out with some or all of the now totally humiliated band.
Long story short; RIYL is your only chance to get famous. Also, RIYL will suck the soul from your body, and expose the desiccated corpse as poseur.
Human Toilet, who gave up the ghost in 2013, have a new 7” of old songs about what they excelled at; failure and self-sabotage.
Human Toilet was singer Suarez, guitarist Diamond, bassist Young, and drummer Cran. The band, gleefully too dumb for one kind of bad hardcore and too smart for another kind of bad hardcore, set out to be a Jesus Lizard rip-off band and succeeded beyond their wildest expectations at sounding like The Cows covering Lazy Cowgirls. They put out one LP and one EP. The extended player, Leap Year, was about the dissolution of love and spirit. It was recorded by Martin Bisi, who has arguably had a hand in at least a third of the great “dissolution of love and spirit” records of the last fifty years. If we’re counting UNSANE’s Total Destruction, Cop Shoot Cop’s “Room 429,” and Ciccone Youth’s “Into The Groovey.” Which we are. Far be it from me to assign any conscious, sentient intention to Human Toilet, but it doesn’t feel completely out of pocket to allow for the possibility that Young, Diamond, Suarez, and Cran were going for something in their choice of Bisi. If not a staking of a new claim, then at very least an elbowing into a certain tradition. An insistence upon being included in a stylishly forever-out-of-style society of wise-ass knuckle draggers and art school mouthbreathers. The tradition of those who play punk rock but roll their eyes at the term; the scum rockers, pig fuckers, and noiseniks; the jerkoffs who related to Cobain’s pain and chemical proclivities, but never his cheekbones. Noise rock! The music for those who never need a “LOSER” t-shirt to telegraph just where they’re at.
RIYL: sitting in a dark room, googling Shannon Selberg’s name, hoping he’s OK.
There used to be a weird schtick, amongst some nerds on the garage rawk end of the noise rock spectrum, to claim real bossy-like that The Beatles objectively sucked and single handedly ruined rock music. Pretty dumb. BUT WHAT IF THE NERDS WERE RIGHT??? When the Human Toilet 7” was recorded, in the essentially pointless year of 2012, they had to make their own way, memeless. And Human Toilet sounds like the Fab Four never made it out of The Cavern. Suarez’s outfit exists in an alternate timeline where the history of Rock and Roll is a throughline that directly goes; Big Mama Thornton, then The Sonics, then the first Surgery LP, then Human Toilet.
RIYL: a cretinous refusal to kowtow to the Royal Family.
Human Toilet’s lyrical concerns are Suarez’s perverse pride in his own crapulence, his refusal of any dignity his lovelorn heart correctly felt it did not deserve, and a quickness to laugh at his own misbegotten plans before some dad/boss/God-jerk figure gets a chance to. Using a vocal methodology that draws from a diverse palette that ranges all the way from “Jealous Again'' era Black Flag to “Loose Nut” era Black Flag, Suarez channels the ickifying mean spiritedness of “Slip it In,” but takes the blind contempt that fueled a young bohunk Rollins and aims it at the only appropriate target; himself. There’s a degree of wit to this level of self-abnegation. Or bravery. Or just pigheaded charm. Sonically, Human Toilet exists within the vaunted tradition of Dope, Guns, and Fucking In The Streets. The drums are Donkey Kong barrels being thrown down latticed corridors in the direction of stumpy italian men. The guitars are mountainous. In that the riffs are huge and were also sheared off the grave-robbed pelvic bones of Leslie West. The basslines are fat and coiled, like the climbing gym ropes that were inarguably just the beginning of the humiliations that Human Toilet traffics in.
RIYL: Marty Feldman’s performance in Young Frankenstein.
Lesser souls and minds might see Human Toilet as a noise-ROCK outlier amongst the label’s catalog of oceanic drones and scabrous techno, but Hospital Productions is first and foremost, a freak scene. Save the “highly functioning” for the indie rock crowd, Human Toilet found “barely keeping it together” so bourgeois a concept that they broke the fuck up in 2013. Like heroes. And now Hospital Productions have given Human Toilet the memorial they truly deserve; a limited run 7”.
RIYL: small victories, livable shit, febrile agitations in the face of anodyne monoculture, clawing through one’s pain until reaching some meager, but still viable, semblance of dignity.
HOS-711 on 711 splatter vinyl. Edition of 250.