Surplus 1980


Surplus 1980 Illusion of Consistency LP

Quarantine project led by Moe Staiano of SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM that uses an exquisite corpse technique to form a loose and expansive post-punk record with fun, low-stakes results. Ideas, no matter how initially goofy they may seem, are given space to breathe in proggy exercises that still adhere enough to post-punk’s angular rhythms and jerky vocals to maintain interest. For example, “Some Few Facts (And One False One) About Birds” has a lot of semi-interesting facts about birds and includes the lines “I like to look at the birds—tweet! / Humans are a bunch of turds—cheap!” It sounds completely dumb on paper, but it’s a rollicking good time with upbeat TALKING HEADS energy. More poignant is “Last,” which runs through the last instances of mundane events in life, like “This will be the last day to have regrets / No turning back now.” It’s a sobering reminder delivered over off-kilter syncopated drums (the drums are amazing on the whole album) and vocals reminiscent of URANIUM CLUB. If we have to walk towards the light, at least we can dance a little.

Surplus 1980 Kremlin Gremlin (A Dull Fiddler) / Some Few Facts (And One False One) About Birds (Birds Are Real Dub Mix) 7″

New single from Moe Staiano’s SURPLUS 1980 project. Staunchly in support of Ukraine, the album cover is simply Putin’s face crossed out by Ukrainian colors, and all sales of the single go to the Vet Crew, taking care of animals displaced by the war. This is my first dabble into anything Moe Staiano-related, and apparently, I’ve got some homework to do. SURPLUS 1980 was originally started as a studio-only band, with Staiano playing many different instruments on the 2011 debut Relapse in Response, and transformed over the years into a collective of different musicians with some live shows. The music is a little unnerving and off-kilter, but in a playful way. Lots of odd percussion, single synth notes walking up obscure scales, asymmetrical guitar riffs, and fun backing vocals coming from all directions. “Kremlin Gremlin (A Dull Fiddler)” provides the political context, and has a little more typical song structure, while “Some Few Facts (And One False One) About Birds (Birds Are Real Dub Mix)” on the B-side is a full dub-groove experiment with a cyclical melody that is a little maddening, sounding like some DEVO hidden track. Show some support for Ukraine and get weird with SURPLUS 1980!