These Hands of Mine (Skin Graft 1998 )


Like many of you, my phobias are somewhat irrational. I flinch at the sight of Great White Sharks. When Deep Blue Sea came out, I had to cover my eyes during all movie previews because I couldn’t bear the sight of animatronic sharks on the big screen. I even get nervous on boats due to the possibility that a fin may break through the waves. Rollercoasters are another thorn in my side. I’ve ridden on some rickety devices and screamed like a baby after the first moments of an incline. However, I always hold this album in high esteem for its ability to provide retard strength on a trip to Kennywood Amusement Park.

I was visiting Pittsburgh and we had the bright idea to get high and listed to Quintron’s These Hands of Mine all the way to Kennywood as I kept puffing away in the hope that it would alleviate my anxiety about hurtling to my death on a goddamn ride. Looking back, this was not the best course of action, but it worked like a charm. I became a big boy and laughed like a village idiot on every accursed contraption in my path. Quintron was the carnival barker that I needed to prod me out of my skin.

My sober self prefers his work on the Bulb label or his collaboration with the Oblivians, but I always loved Quintron’s thoroughly campy and sleazy version of r&b and soul on These Hands of Mine. I’m always a sucker for the Hammond organ, so its prevalence on this record makes it even more appealing to me. It’s hard to name an influence or touchstone for his work because I don’t know if anyone else has orbited this planet before. It’s sloppy as hell. Nothing is actually catchy. The co-star of this mess is the Drum Buddy, a “mechanically-rotating, five-oscillator, light-activated drum machine which can either be set to play automatically, or manipulated to create a number of different sound effects.” He uses his wife Flossie to provide high-pitched, cartoonish backing vocals to his rants. It’s downright mental and I don’t recommend it to everyone, but it’s a lovably noisy and absurd mess that serves as an excellent soundtrack for your next road trip to an amusement park.