The opening track here, “Get Up, Get Out,” rolls in like a war-torn Transformer tripping and tumbling down a hill only to regain footing and run right over you, yelling the first line, “Get up! Get on up! Get up!”
That kind of urgent energy runs throughout Heartless Heathen, the new LP from Detroit’s masters of rowdy future-shock rock, Timmy’s Organism. Not that it’s not par for the crazy course. Leader Timmy Lampinen has been creating some of the most eviscerating, sizzling space-punk since the late ’90s (Epileptix, Clone Defects, Human Eye). But it is impressive, because even after all this time this might be the most physically sonic (sonically physical?) album Lampinen’s ever made. In any event, it’s cause for celebration in a music world that seems to increasingly suggest there’s no hot rock out there. There is, it just escapes to other planets sometimes to look for more intelligent life.
Check out the album stream premiere below, and see what else Mr. Timmy wants to yell about, below. Heartless Heathen is the trio’s third full-length, their first for Third Man, and comes out on October 30.
You recently told me this new album was your favorite recording you’ve ever done.
My overall favorite thing about making music is the recording process. I like to perform the songs in two or three takes, even one take if it works. Lay that shit down quick, because it can get kind of frustrating and mentally exhausting playing a song over and over. I like to take all my time with overdubs and mixing, that’s when the fun really begins! Crack a brew or 10 and slime the tracks! This is one of my favorite records because all the songs were written for a full-length release. The band—bassist Jeff Giant and drummer Blake Hill—and I all love good ol’ savage heavy rock ‘n’ roll!! And will always dig a cool ballad! I feel like this record has all of that with a nice flow.
Where/when did you record the new one?
We recorded at United Sound Systems in Detroit back in March on my birthday! I really loved recording there. My buddy Bill Kozy hooked it up for us. Artists/bands like John Lee Hooker recorded “Boogie Chillin’” there! Death recorded there in 1975! MC5, Bob Seger, Isaac Hayes, Funkadelic and more. A ton of classic hit songs were recorded at that studio. I could feel the vibe in the place. It was super inspiring. We did our overdubs and mixing at Hamtramck Sound Studios later through part of the early summer with Adam Cox.
Next time I don’t think I’ll record on my birthday though. We were offered Birthday shots of tequila minutes after the first track was laid down. I had to decline. My cousin Clay and Jimbo came in to party after we finished up, we hit every bar in the tri-state area, drank a flatbed trucks worth a Jezynowka! I Kung fu breakdanced physical comedy jokes. I woke up the next day with a black eye, and I blew out my knee somehow. So I limped myself back into the studio a shell of a man. We still busted out the rest of the tunes full force.
Who is singing those gal-like backup vocals on “Please Don’t Be”? That song is maybe the most straight-forward ballad you’ve ever recorded. Got a story behind that one?
Those are some glam rock angels, Masha and Nelly! Masha sang backups on the last two Human Eye records as well. I think rock ‘n’ roll albums should always have a cool ballad.
What are your favorite tunes on Heartless Heathen?
I really dig “My Angel” and “Back In The Dungeon.”
What do you think of them finding what looks like water on Mars?
There is water on Mars, there always has been. I’ve drank it.
If you could actually be put in a rocket tomorrow for a trip there, do you think you could do that?
Yes, I’m thirsty.
For now, you are still in Detroit. How’s the scene, as they say, in Detroit these days?
Detroit is cool. Lots of great bands, new venues and good food. You need a unicycle to live here now. People with tall bicycles usually get rats shot at them with sling shots.
Do you ever think about moving? There’s an invasion going on in Detroit, no?
I’ve always thought about moving, especially in the winter. The most I move is to grab a beer from my shelfless fridge. No where to set my hot sauce. Anyways, Detroit can be hard on your mind, it’s a tough place. But it is a nucleus for creativity, it’s in the water, it’s in the incinerator air! I don’t think I would move anytime soon. If I did it’d be to the desert or a beach. I’ve always wanted to get the hell out of here, but I love my pals and fam. Lots of people moving here, don’t know—I guess they heard it was cheap living? Not really. The rent has gone up a ton in Detroit. I like when I use to run every red light. If you move here, you better be real quiet or real friggin’ loud!
Timmy’s Organism musically is a little more of this earth than Human Eye was. What made you feel like getting a little more stripped down with Timmy’s Organism when it started a few years ago?
Playing stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll has always had a place in my heart. I wanted to do it again like I did in the Clone Defects. Human Eye could be like the ingredients to a delicious curry recipe or a killer mole. Organism is like ice cream and cake, or a naked person, or a taco.
Looks like Human Eye is back in action. Great show in Brooklyn a few weeks ago! Can you tell us plans for that band?
Start writing another album and play some shows!
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