Return to Stupidland: Reviews
"Sweet Dreams, Buddy" is a must-listen: light-hearted psychosis.
After releasing a remarkable series of six cassettes (together more than 300 songs!) in 1997-98, Insert Piz Here went into forced retirement when mastermind Reuben Vinal packed off to college in South Dakota. Although recorded in 1999, the aptly named Return To Stupidland marks the welcome return to Demo Universe of this quintessential underground collective. Happy to report that digital fidelity has not spolied The Piz; although markedly more accomplished musically, Reuben and company are as absurd and anarchic as ever. An added bonus of the CD format is a booklet of lyrics to all 51 songs, a fascinating document of Vinal's surreal world:
"A man falls through the sky/He lands on the purple ground/There's a giant mouth on his stomach/And his nipples look like eyes/He falls next to a bouncing cube/With different expressions on each face/Then he walks through an arm/And he falls through the mountains and he's chased by Satan/And Satan goes and has sex with a/Slab of meat on a meat hook/An artsy painting flies by of a fish with tusks/And a pig walks into an igloo. "Ohh yeah, baby, that's why I do this. As with all Piz recordings, Return To Stupidland is best not taken all at once, lest your skull crack open and squiggly little creatures slither out, but if you appreciate the truly peculiar, here's a heaping, steaming plateful for ya.
I like it! .... STUPIDLAND is fun to listen to, funny, enjoyable &, at times, painfully discordant--in an enjoyable (hopefully not masochistic!) kind of way. I dig the sometimes toe-tapping rhythms & find myself humming some refrains (even after the CD is silent--a sure sign of success, as far as I'm concerned). I also appreciate the fact that STUPIDLAND has an uplifting spirit, rather than being a dark, negative downer. Definitely reminscent of Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, whose music I dug during the 60's & 70's. (I almost vaguely recall a concert of theirs in Chicago!) To me, STUPIDLAND oftens plays primarily like the music of the bardos (cf. E.J. Gold's AMERICAN BOOK OF THE DEAD, etc. ("And that's a good thing"! as Martha Stewart might say....) My only disappointment was that the photo-copying wasn't always clear enough for me to decipher all the lyrics. And I'm left puzzling over the graph (sound-waves? an earthquake?)....
- MaryKay Cooper
This CD kicks ass. The packaging is pro-looking, except for the noticeable spray-paint smell coming from the disc itself where it has apparently been decorated with a stencil and brown and black aerosol propelled enamel. Musically, it is beyond what I expected from the Piz->, many of the songs show great arranging and improv skills. The songs "Orange Boat Apple Circus", "Mr Dead", "Hey Psycho", "the Zoo", "Shrunken Heads", and "Sweet Dreams buddy" are particularly memorable for music and bizarrrrrrre lyrics. I imagine someone singing "hey Psycho" to me if I lived in a college dormitory or something. The Piz-> stays true to its LO-FI ethic and everything sounds like it was recorded in "the drainage pipe". The traditional Piz-> drumset of cans and plastic 5-gallon buckets sounds flat and lifeless as always. It makes you wonder what could happen if they wanted to make a big time album? Ah well, time stretches out before us infinitely and all things are possible. It's very much as if Tom Waits had sex with Frank Zappa's corpse while the chicken-head banjo kid from Deliverance watched and later he went to Juliard for 3 weeks and made an album about it.
If there's such a thing as silly pop, then I suppose there must also be sillier pop. Then there's Insert Piz Here. I can't accurately explain the sheer nonsense you'll find on Return to Stupidland. It's like Nerf Herder performing on crack with monkeys in their trousers: 51 tracks of utterly inane drivel, backed by chaotic bedroom rock, making for an album that's difficult to classify. If you're a ten year old boy, I think you'll really get this record. If not, you're left scratching your head. Song titles like "The Orange Boat Apple Circus" and "Enormous Amounts of Knitting" do little to clear things up. As a DIY exercise the album is brilliant; pulling together all these crazy sounds into something unified isn't easy. I'm just left wondering what the result would be if the minds behind Insert Piz Here were applied to something less...well, silly. If you're in the right mood (or high), Return to Stupidland could be the life of the party. Otherwise it's simply puzzling.
this is the best in terms of concept and ability, also creativity, but it loses a band feel much like our albums. contrived and shitt like us. We will never be good.
- Cud 2000
i like this album a lot. the zoo is the best even though it's a cover of a luna song. the museumship is excellent on this album. play mr dead for your living friends.
This is my favorite album.
- Reuben Vinal
I'm just listening to Return to Stupidland right now. I love it. I'm up to "The Zoo" at this point and will continue to listen through the end.
- Mr. Salty