Sweat La Familia: Tobacco’s Sweatbox Dynasty

Chris Daly looks at Tobacco's Sweatbox Dynasty, due out April 19th.
By    August 14, 2016

Chris Daly knows sleep is the cousin of death.  

At 4 a.m. ET most weeknights, Adult Swim runs a series of the most fucked-up, fake infomercials you ever will see. I say “most weeknights” because I sure as hell am not up at that ungodly hour, though I do set my TiVo to pick up new shows at that vampiric hour. More often than not, these are nightmarish visions than run the gamut from really disturbing (“Too Many Cooks”) to really, really fucking disturbing (“Unedited Footage of a Bear”). With his upcoming Sweatbox Dynasty (due Aug. 19), Tobacco demonstrates that his is the only music appropriate for the bumps that run during that ungodly half hour.


Following a burst of creative energy just after the release of 2014’s Ultima II Massage, née Thomas Fec went into a self-imposed musical exile, stating, “I felt I’d done everything I set out to do. I thought maybe I’d go away for a long time, and I went a year without even plugging anything in.” The creative fast apparently did him well, as Sweatbox Dynasty, his second release on the Ghostly label, is perhaps his most intense solo release to date.

From opener “Human Om” onwards, this is the sound of crayons melting in the hot summer sun on your back porch, a swirling amalgam of Garanimals’ oranges, browns and greens. These are 70s soundtracks to your childhood nightmares where you’re running in slow motion while the knife wielding maniac steadily progresses towards you with a look that speaks of ill will in your general direction. Tobacco always has gone heavy on the effect pedals, and the distortion plays out to full effect on tracks like the cold sweat inducing “Gods in Heat” or the UFO creepy “Dimensional Hum.”

Even cleaner, less distorted tracks such as “Warlock Mary” eventually devolve into the same audio sludge that Tobacco has perfected. Album closer “Let’s Get Worn Away,” perhaps fittingly, goes out with a minute and a half of static hiss, punctuated by a garbled synth before silence. It’s almost as if he realizes that late night fever dreams have a way of going on seemingly forever. Or at least until the sun comes up again.

Listen to the full album stream at NPR