Tom Fec will never receive the acclaim he deserves. This is to be expected from a man pushing 30 who goes by the name of Tobacco and titles songs “Lick the Witch,” Constellation Dirtbike Head,” and “Grape Aerosmith.” Then again, that never seemed to stop Animal Collective. What’s different is that Fec refuses to play “the game.” He doesn’t live in Brooklyn, hates doing interviews and generally doesn’t give a fuck. He tried self-mythologizing and found it tedious. Where there were once masks, now there’s just the music. Instead, he lives in Pittsburgh, enjoys hot tubs, Degrassi, and recently decided that his dream is to own a pizza parlor where he can and his friends can “bullshit all day long.” He’s also one of the best songwriters of his generation.
Granted, that smacks of hyperbole, but it’s not off-base. You can trace his style back to the source — Boards of Canada, Beck, The Beastie Boys, and a little Air. But ultimately, he’s already reached that rarefied territory mapped out by Raekwon a long time ago: I don’t want no one sounding like me on no album. The songs are instantly recognizable, hellishly catchy melodies, synaesthetic swirls of drum machines, disorienting vocoders, and sun-splintered Moogs imitating Mellotrons. There’s more at Pop & Hiss, including an interview where he discusses the potential demise of Black Moth Super Rainbow, Beck and his forthcoming rap record featuring Dose One, Serengeti, and Rob Sonic. But for consumer guide purposes, I highly recommend Maniac Meat, his sophomore solo record, whose sound mimics its the title — skuzzy beats sharper than butcher cleavers, bizarre vocals, and Beck. But that’s enough alliteration for one day, there’s tunes below. –Weiss