REVIEW: Torture Shoe “That Last Stage of Syphilis Really Caught Me By Surprise”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

That Last Stage of Syphilis Really Caught Me By SurpriseApproaching this disc blind, one might expect to hear Dinosaur Jr. simply by the packaging. If not then the outrageously humorous song titles, as if J. Mascis decided to say fuck it all I'm going balls-out. Not quite, but not far off, either. What is served up instead by Flossy Lomar's Torture Shoe is an all-out drum and bass attack that drops instantly with machine-gun-like precision, forcing one to hit the deck and peek out cautiously. Those familiar with DJ Spooky, Atari Teenage Riot, DJ Krust, Decoder or Apex Theory will find a similar feeling with Torture Shoe. There's nothing wrong at all with this; in fact, Lomar wisely mixes up his slappy tempos before they become yet another tawdry string of DJ-mixed loops one can easily find in boardwalk T-shirt stores or on Manhattan street corners. Torture Shoe's instrumental variables make the disc come off more like an orgy of digita than a limp-dicked jerkoff, and the song titles represent the snickerdoodle money shot.

It's best to savor the song titles to distinct this disc from Torture Shoe's contemporaries. I Don't Smell Like Urine Anymore, Jackie's Finger Hurts; Does That Mean Cancer? and Donating Expired Food to Flood Victims hints that Torture Shoe is trying to blossom a bitter flora of sarcasm made famous by, say, The Dead Kennedys; but lacking a social conscious. This is more like The Dead Milkmen electronica-style. Slicing Ankles, Perfectly Good Ova and I Have Never Before Used the Word Stratagem During Conversation are other howlers, as is A Scoliotic Spine in My Stomach. Before he gets too in over his head, however, Lomar scoffs himself with Skip This Track and This Song is Weak and Should Not Have Been Included.

Torture Shoe's craft is often groovy, as on Slicing Ankles, and with the noticeably Herbie Hancock-spiced Donating Expired Food to Flood Victims. There are plenty of cool synth tweaks ala The Art of Noise, most notably on Perfectly Good Ova, while the slower showcase jam, Taste the Arm, legitimizes this wacky project with its hipper-than-thou stride. Finally, Lomar chooses to tweak his listener with the deliberately narcoleptic ho-hum mockery of I Have Never Before Used the Word Stratagem During Conversation.

Essentially, where Torture Shoe succeeds is in the midst of its blowing-raspberries mentality. Lomar, formerly of West Virginia and now setting up shop in New York, carries a moody ambivalence about him. Believing his audience to be an "indifferent and unimpressed public," he passively shoves his music to us, "all presented in this misguided belief that the populace may be even slightly engaged by this content; as it currently stands, few derive any form of enjoyment from such knowledge other than Flossy himself." Having once worked in a West Virginia rehab center, it seems obvious where Lomar gets his dark sense of humor. Perhaps J. Mascis would be proud.

Contact Information:
Post: Torture Shoe, 351 Sixth Ave. #2, Brooklyn, NY, 11215, USA
Phone: (917) 355-9577

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