Like some cosmic collision between NRBQ, Marcel Duchamp, Pee Wee Herman, Captain Beefheart, the Ringling Brothers and Spike Jones, the Chandler Travis Philharmonic is utterly charming and totally unpredictable.
Since making their recorded debut as the Philharmonic a dozen years ago, the band has released 20 – yeah, count ’em, 20 – albums, sporting such intriguing titles as “Let’s Have a Pancake,” “Y’ Gotta Have the Mental,” Let’s Music,” “The Dog Ate My Album,” “The Sound of Food,” “Monkeys of Nothing” and “Le Spectacle de la Lizarde!!!”
Their latest album is “Tarnation & Alastair Sim” (Sonic Trout, 2007), although things are a bit confusing as the CD cover simply says “Kitty” and the CD itself is printed with the word “Al.”
Anyway, here’s a list of eight things that you’ll find on “Tarnation & Alastair Sim,” the latest album from the deliciously demented Chandler Travis Philharmonic:
1. There are 48 total tracks on the disc.
2. Twenty-six of those tracks clock in at less than one minute in length.
3. And three of those tracks are less than 10 seconds in length.
4. Three of the tracks are actually crank phone calls from comedian George Carlin.
5. There’s a decidedly demented deconstruction of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.”
6. There’s a blitzkrieg rendition of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” which was seemingly recorded over the telephone.
7. There are also a batch of great original tunes, including “Jesus Teaches Lloyd Price About Remote Controls,” “Festering Hope Ministries Presents: The Flaw” and “Climactic Arrival in Florida of Dirigible Long Thought Lost.”
8. But most of all, there’s lots and lots of fun.
The Chandler Travis Philharmonic – a self-described “eight-piece technicolor extravaganza” – makes a rare foray into Nippertown for a concert at The Linda in Albany on Friday, September 25.
But wait, there’s more…
It’s not all about the zany. Every once in a while, Chandler Travis gets serious. No, really…
And after you give a listen to his brand new solo album, “After She Left” (Sonic Trout, 2009), you’ll be left wondering why he doesn’t get serious more often.
It’s a beautiful album of bittersweet, melancholy ballads. There’s an unlikely, but surrprisignly effective, wistful, nostaglic rendition of “My Bonnie,” the captivating “Call Me Back Home” (co-written with the Duplex Planet’s David Greenberger) and the sorrowful samba “Ask Too Much” (penned by Chandler’s former musical partner Steve Shook).
There’s a hushed intimacy and quiet restraint about “After She Left” that seeps directly into your bones – a complete 180-degree turnaround from the exuberant, extroverted musical antics of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic.