X__X – “X Sticky Fingers X” (2014)

The Cleveland art-punk/no wave band X__X only existed for a handful of months in 1978. The brainchild of John Morton, they filled the gap between the demise of Electric Eels and Morton’s move from Cleveland to New York City. During that brief period they recorded a couple of unusual singles before going dormant for the next three decades, re-emerging in 2014 with a compilation called X Sticky Fingers X.

I’d never heard of X__X until recently when I ran across a reference to the group in Henry Rollins’ new book Hey Fanatic!!! Vol. 1. They seemed interesting enough so I tracked down a copy of the comp on Discogs. Morton described X__X as anti-music and they were known for “playing” things like lawnmowers and power drills (and you can hear a drill on X Sticky Fingers X), with their few live shows often devolving into physical violence.

To contemporary ears the songs are hardly anti-music or even no wave. Sure, they have some grating qualities, especially the oft-used repetitive guitar notes that quickly become like fingernails on a chalkboard (and that pesky power drill…), but for the most part the songs have structure, even if at times they are eccentric. Most of the tracks were culled from live recordings, and while that’s evident the sound quality is decent overall, especially given the era. It’s hard to pick a “favorite” track, but if I had to I’d go with “The Social Whirlpool”. Your mileage may vary.

The cover is a bit, well, sexual, so I opted to post the back cover with the post. If you want to see the front in all of its glory, you can see it on Discogs HERE.