"Smiling Pets" Sony Records (Japan) SRCS 325 1998 (55:18)

Adventures in Stereo "Wonderful" (2:10)
Secret Chiefs 3 "Good Vibrations" (4:01)
Melt-Banana "Surfin USA~You're Welcome" (3:22)
SHORT HAIR FRONT "I'm Waiting For The Day" (2:59)
The Olivia Tremor Control "Do You Like Worms? (Do You Dig Worms?)" (4:01)
Jim O'Rourke "Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (Spring Breaks and Back to Winter)" (3:05)
Sports Guitar "Wonderful" (2:49)
Thurston Moore "Here Today" (4:13)
OnoTetsu "Tones" (1:37)
~teabreak~ (:39)
FORMS "Heroes and Villains" (4:42)
Harpy "Cool Cool Water" (2:46)
Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her "You Still Believe in Me" (2:51)
The Ships "Little Pad" (2:43)
David Grubbs "Wind Chimes (After Perpetuity's Noon)" (4:09)
Feelds "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" (3:15)
John McEntire "Let's Go Away for Awhile" (2:42)
DM3 "Caroline, No" (3:14)

"Smiling Pets" is a Sony Japan tribute album to the Beach Boys available domestically via the Secret Chiefs 3 / Mr. Bungle "Web of Mimicry" web site.  As you would guess from the title, the 17 covers found here draw primarily on the legendary and highly influential 1965-66 "Pet Sounds" and (the never finished or officially released) "Smile" albums.  Normally I'm wary of any tribute album, especially one taking on something as sacred as these 2 albums, but the quality of the covers on this one really surprised me.  Prior to hearing this disc I was only familiar with 3 of the artists (Jim O'Rourke and David Grubbs, formerly of Gastr Del Sol and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth), the rest being:  Adventures in Stereo, Secret Chiefs 3, Melt-Banana, SHORT HAIR FRONT, The Olivia Tremor Control, Sports Guitar, Ono Tetsu, FORMS, Harpy, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, The Ships, David Grubbs, Feelds, John McEntire and DM3.  Who are these people?  I have no idea and it doesn't really matter.  The covers range from relatively true to bizarre interpretations of the originals and the artists seem to come from a wide range of musical styles.  There's a little bit of pop punk, rockabilly, trip hop and Japanese noise mixed in with the more straightforward pop and rock.  Some of the stranger sounds include:  female and male Japanese accented English vocals, strings, harmonica, bells, banjo, sample and noise collages, electronics, drum machines, electric guitar noise ... not all that much unlike the originals in terms of diverse instrumentation and general wackiness (especially the "Smile" tunes).  Only 2 tracks annoy me:  Sports Guitar's whiny Pavement-like "Wonderful" and David Grubb's inferior vocals on "Wind Chimes".  Other than that, these covers are a lot of fun.  This cd is for the adventurous listener who can appreciate both the avant-garde and pop symphony visions of Brian Wilson as realized by an equally avant-garde selection of artists.  The big drawback is the $28 price tag which will most likely relegate "Smiling Pets" to the short lists of only the most fanatical Bungle/Sonic Youth/Gastr Del Sol fans and Beach Boys completests ...

Web of Mimicry

Where did I get this cd? - available via mailorder from Web of Mimicry.

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