Saturday, April 18, 2015

The 50th Anniversary Super-Biffy™ Spectacular!

Welcome to the Lynn Auditorium! As we commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the First Annual Biffy® Special I present to you the Super-Biffys™! The greatest album from every ten-year span since 1964. Why 1964? Because shut up!

Here are the nominees under consideration by the Lower Galactic Biffy Council. Within each category, a special inter-net contributor will champion one of three albums, amounting to the best three of ten, advancing to "stage two." Council Strongman Jarrod P. Biffington (Jr.), DDS, DCM, will then declare five Super-Biffy™ Honorees and incinerate everyone within a (symbolic) five-mile radius.

Spared from said incineration will be the forty-five "losing" bands. Their humiliation is punishment enough, you say? Incorrect! Of these, thirty-five "stage one" nominees not advancing will perish due to unforeseen cannibalism by an audience held captive and unfed for days. What clothing remains will be examined for fashion cues and donated to charity for tax purposes. The remaining ten, having achieved "stage two" and believing themselves spared, will instead receive unnecessary dental surgery and nearly succumb to their wounds—badly—before drowning out back in the vomit of their biggest fans. The wretched remains of their teeth will serve as reminders that the Council does not tolerate weakness, no matter how exceptional.

"Good evening. I am your host and Council Strongman. You know why you are here. When necessary, I will communicate via cosmic mind waves and Powerpoint. Will the first three presenters stop cowering in fear and approach the dais. Slide number one, please!"

1964 — 1973
Beatles – A Hard Day's Night
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
Monks – Black Monk Time
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced
Pretty Things – SF Sorrow
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
Stooges – Fun House
Groundhogs – Split
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
Hawkwind – Space Ritual

Super-Biffy candidates: Phase 1

"Presenter the first, step forward to a chorus of boos. Floss regularly!"

"Judas! Haha, yeah! Now I know what it's like. I am here to nominate… whoa, what? A Love Supreme? No way, man. I like my albums as far from the edge as possible. Why not Sugar Lips or Cotton Candy? You people will be listening to Al Hirt in elevators for years. Just the other day my mom and I–"

"You neglect your duties and will pay dearly. Nico!"

"Allo. Eet ist mee. Eet ist Neeko. Und I nominatink Eegy und hees Foon Hoost. I do not care for ze udder men in ze band. I do not care for dirty Stooches. But since zey do not roon my art with awful flute maybe I vill make sex wit Ron und Scott und– Oh, allo Jeemee! Eet ist jor lover! Eet ist Neeko!"

"Yes, hello Nico. You are looking… well. Um? Security? Thank you. I am Jimmy Page. This entire affair is for naught since compilations are ignored. Nonetheless I present the wonderful Groundhogs album Split. How did I not steal every single guitar lick included herein? The Complete Studio Albums is now available on iTun–"

"Silence! The winner is: A Love Supreme. I recently heard 'Acknowledgement' on Sirius's Real Jazz station and it made my morning, even though the DJ's decision to follow it with some cocktail crooner's cover of 'Resolution' was the worst idea since the hand-burger. Next. Now!"

1974 — 1983
Kiss – Hotter Than Hell
George Brigman – Jungle Rot
Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – Zombie
The Damned – Damned Damned Damned
AC/DC – Powerage
Chrome – Half Machine Lip Moves
Motörhead – Ace of Spades
Black Flag – Damaged
Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters
Bad Brains – Rock for Light

Super-Biffy candidates: Phase 2

"An interesting stretch of albums. Great choices, of course, but is one worthy of my grace? May the entire city of Cambridge please join me on stage. I am surprised to find you this far north."

"We, the People's Republic, crave Red Line accessibility and nominate an under-represented minority class with Bad Brains' second album. Angie over here even grew out her giant, horrifying dreadlock in honor of an international conspiracy to repress. Remember that our property taxes rank among the lowest in Massachusetts so please spare what you can. Also, recycle. Or else."

"I make the threats around here! Now shove over so these last two homeless men can join you."

"Um, no, I'm Theodore Deutschmann and this is my brother Milton. We co-founded RadioShack and have been losing money ever since. What's your zip code? Would you like to buy batteries?"

"I am powered by your tears."

"Ted, I think it all went downhill when Chrome broke up. They were always buying extension cords and old radios and we were getting too much pussy to count. And the cocaine! Man, the cocaine. Now we keep each other warm in a ditch. Every night I pray for the next Half Machine Lip Moves and then I pray for death."

"Feel free to join me in my watery grave. Just look for the topographic design and red lens ring that made the Droid Incredible so distinct. Unlike me, George Brigman is still kicking around and making good music. Nothing, though, can touch his Jungle Rot debut. The cover image is one even I could have shot before my camera went kaput. Glug glug."

"My old phone! We Jungle Rot-ters are convinced. May your demise inspire more genius poetry. Decisions only become difficult beginning with our third grouping. Slide!"

1984 — 1993
Metallica – Ride the Lightning
The Fall – This Nation's Saving Grace
Big Black – Atomizer
Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded
Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
Black Sheep – A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
The Jesus Lizard – Liar
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Super-Biffy candidates: Phase 3

"Let's get some of these hack writers and critics up here to discuss mustard typography. You first, skunk-head."

"This is for all of you. I was waiting for a plane at LAX the other night and heard 'That Smell' by Lynyrd Skynyrd. One of the worst songs ever created. Why did it become popular?"

"Stop inserting yourself into the story."

"Thanks for the invitation—maybe I should get into Game of Thrones. From the Peet's barista in the JFK Airport Terminal 4 coffee shop, after I'd ordered a medium latte with an extra shot of espresso, paid and was waiting for my drink: 'What is it like to know that young girls all over the country are going to know who you are?' Important facet of a personality for a bronzed, well-coiffed Liar and enemy of dignity."

"I, David Wallace-Wells-Coulee-O'Hanrahan-Marlbarger VI, BSocSc, MLitt, nominate It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back because its wonderfully long title steers me, with pleasure, toward an opening—however narrow and/or imperceptible, lacking both a clear locking mechanism and a window through which to see whom or what might be waiting for me on the other side—to discuss the overrated nature of popular artists. Warhol's best paintings—the sloppy, silk-screen memento mori of screen stars, singers and other American celebrities and grotesques—illustrate powerfully the distinction between secular images, which underlie the artwork and express the terrible absence of the depicted, and true icons, the painted figurations that express their immanent and intoxicating presence. It is a compelling account of the paintings' beguiling effect, but the fact that Warhol applied this same technique to commissioned society portraits—portraits that dominated his output after 1968—suggests that he was, at best, indifferent to, and perhaps even ignorant of, the source of its power."

"I understand a lucky handful of audience members have chewed through their own wrists. Into the lava pit, windbag."


"Now who are these old AmeriGlide-riding biddies?"

"We, the Marblehead Festival of Arts Logo Contest Committee, reject Wu-Tang Clan's candidacy due to their aesthetically pleasing, non-seafaring-oriented W symbol. So much archaic fluff was left on the floor—in the name of King Neptune, Staten Island is an island!"

"I appreciate the economy of your language even if your lot could not critique yourselves out of an imploded Starbucks. Ignorance is at an all-time high and so, too, is Nation of Millions. Now bring forth the era of independent rock and hip-hop that cost me thousands of dollars at Newbury Comics."

1994 — 2003
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Orange
Six Finger Satellite – Severe Exposure
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing.....
Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Six Finger Satellite – Law of Ruins
Make-Up – Save Yourself
Deltron 3030
Fugazi – The Argument
Mr. Lif – I Phantom
White Stripes – Elephant

Super-Biffy candidates: Phase 4

"Can a man choose from among the stars of the sky? Help me out, all-pro reality-television host Jeff Probst."

"Are you sure you don't want me to jump Nahant Bay on a kiteboard or something before we roll the credits?"

"Do not make me replace you with Dathan."

"A golden calf!"

"Alright, welcome back to the Lynn Auditorium! Tickets still available for Pat Benatar, Paul Anka and Air Supply in the coming months. What a lineup! Only on CBS. DJ Shadow came out of nowhere and served as the Strongman's basement-level bedroom soundtrack for months after hearing 'The Number Song' on WZBC. Remember that time you saw a mouse on your pillow? One! Survivor!"

"Jeff, no! That is not prop lava!"

"Rock & Roll Jeopardy forever! FWEEEEEEE!!!"

"Drag. What's to happen to Survivor now? My Wednesday evenings will be empty, as it will for the show's three other fans. Eagle Claw Fist, are you qualified to host?"

"I teach yoga on Wednesdays. Race-baiters, I give you the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion."

"That was Eagle Claw Fist with 'Controversial Negro.' I'm John Laurenti and you're listening to WZLX, Boston's classic rock. It's five past the hour and we're looking at some rain overnight. Highs in the upper forties. Speaking of the forties, up next is Sex Finger Appetite and Raw Loom, recorded on the Greek island of Rhodes in 1948."

"Hey Wikipedia, can you fact-check this clown?"

"Your three-year-old could fact-check this clown."

"Enjoy the lava bath, Laurenti. Just tuck in your goddamn shirt first. As we await John's immolation–"


"As we celebrate John's immolation I remind all presenters that your arguments are meaningless, though the 'race-baiter' line was pretty good. Orange, of course, is the greatest album of all time and, among all prospects on this list, the only one that could check more boxes than both Endtroducing and Law of Ruins. Truly a monumental achievement. Don't feel too discouraged, group four. I will always love you, even after your horrible d– erm, honorable discharge tonight. Slide!"

2004 — 2013
Comets on Fire – Blue Cathedral
Sleater-Kinney – The Woods
Black Keys – Magic Potion
Dungen – Tio Bitar
Black Mountain – In the Future
Flaming Lips – Embryonic
Dead Meadow – Three Kings
Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream
Ty Segall – Sleeper

Super-Biffy candidates: Phase 5

"In a special ceremony recorded earlier at Revere Beach Pavilion No. 3, the Council awarded its latest Biffy® to… do we have a slide?"

2014: Dude Incredible

"En pointe! Shellac has since been cannibalized so I will read the now archived remarks from Steve Albini's Evernote app.

'Long live Keith Morris and, you know, sixteen-minute albums. I can grab my crotch from behind without bending.'

"Whatever your take on Albini and his music, the shiny bastard knew the business. Have I killed off any remaining presenters? No? Then get your fat ass up here, Boomer."

"How's the weather out there? I think it might be… slEEEting. Or, rather, Sleater-ing. Sleater-Kinney-ing!!1 What are we talkin' about here, Tommy? Doin' the shuffle with Ickey…"

"The Woods!"

"Correct-a-mundo! Corin 'USS' Tucker, 'Harry' Carrie Brownstein and Janet 'The Guy from The Running Man' Weiss, together again! You saw them just last week, Suzy, isn't that right? What? We're not– Mel Kiper, who ya got?"

"Mariota still on the board. He goes first overall in today's mock draft. Ten versions to go. Twelve? At least I only have five players in my top five, unlike that pussy Mike Mayock with his bullshit ties."

"Whoa! You can't say that in front of an audience! Suzy? Su– Can we say that?! Any… riots… down there, grrrl?!"

"Fuck you, Chris! I think I'm dying!"

"I can't believe it took me so long to cancel ESPN. To present our final nominee is a very special guest who needs no introduction. Hear him well!"

"How are you? Wonderful! An arduous journey of which I will detail presently has left me as near my namesake actor—how he is missed!—as I wish to be this fine evening! Surely, Rothberg is consumed by guilt after believing me in the clear, blameless—naively so—as he may be. But Embryonic first, of course. For that is why we gather!"

"Please do not impede your fine yarn-spinning with tonight's agenda. How I've missed you, Charles Napier."

"Indeed! And I you. Amusing, regardless, that I should speak of 'flaming lips' in relation to my earlier adventures! As indicated, Rothberg secured my… release… in time to partake in an epicure's tour of the fine red wines of Somerville but—alas!—upon my supposed safe passage to River Works Station, courtesy of Rothberg's traitorous manservent Gideon, where I could gaze upon the late afternoon sun as it illuminated the lush marshes of Pines River, my drunken haste had me board the northward train instead of the south! Seconds later my error turned irreversible without leaping to certain injury. Curses! I knew Central Square to be the next stop and steeled myself against vertigo upon my planned disembarkation, for the station platform is several exposed storeys above traffic! The man in black, though… how he escaped my aisle-seat vantage—beg pardon, but Hustler does engross—will forever haunt me!

"By god, it was Jones! He of a peculiar single-minded vengeance. How the man came to be one, like us, who breathes a free man's air remains a mystery, lo, these hours later. Between waves of shock I came to understand that he had, to all appearances, shadowed my position—with Gideon's cruel assistance!—for weeks in absolute stealth and, only today, seized the opportunity to strike. And strike he did! After walking a most crooked line from my seat to the car door, my grip tightened on the handrail as, not a minute from our arrival at stated depot, a cry of 'Ad mortem nebulonum, and may the devil guide my poker!' was heard by all aboard. Aye, a fire poker! No doubt secured from an unsuspecting home hardware establishment! If only repeated price reductions could be directed away from such a weapon. Affordability is no match for sinister violence!

"His proclamation was the remedy my withered reflexes and poise required, for I was immediately shaken as by an earthquake and dodged, by hairs, Jones's haphazard thrust. Surely his foul emotions bested him, otherwise I would not be standing before you! Said momentum carried him straight past me, through the open car door, off the vestibule and into the darkening wilderness that betrays the outskirts of the City of Sin. His savage instrument foretold his own doom once it struck the track, causing a spark to ignite a slick of oil sitting atop the marsh and—FWEEEEEEE!!!—into the flames went my one-time comrade. His screams, so gruesome, were broken only by an explosion from what was once his bristled face—despite the speeding car I will never unsee it. An awful death! Or was it? With luck, the circling gulls have witnessed Jones's final resting place, though I fear his rage too resolute to extinguish. In death will I cease peering over my shoulder at each dark corner—and then, only if my spirit settles outside the gates of hell!"

"Ladies and gentlemen, Charles Napier! Not the actor! We are in your debt, old boy. Now flee before I annihilate this rabble. Mind your path!"

"Cheers, good sir!"

"Despite the chasm between Charles's unparalleled tale and Boomer's wild-eyed buffoonery, Embryonic is simply not The Woods. Reason and chance weep tonight.

"The five Honorees will now join me. Advance, you fool of an assistant!"


"Idiot. Orange, for your still-relevant spin on rock, soul and blues music, you shall sit at my right hand. You're welcome. Next to you, appropriately, is It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back for an overall importance and ass-kickery that will never be matched. Third comes A Love Supreme for, yes, making me a better man. Penultimate is The Woods, which rocks as hard as anything since ninety percent of Love Gun. Lastly, in relative terms, is Jungle Rot for its purity of heart. Brigman's distortion shall defend my flank against all comers.

"Are these the five greatest albums of all time? Of course not. Foon Hoost isn't even up here."

"Eegy! I luff you!"

"But the five greatest of a series of random subsets of subsets?"


"Bless you, Charles! Onward in triumph! Now, those of you seated in the upper riser, please douse each other with the seasoned barbecue sauce at stage left and then hurl yourselves into the orchestra pit. Your frenzied end will be neither swift nor enlightened but it will be. You other ten, in front, are free to exit… through that curtain. That curtain. A line of… limousines?… awaits. The whirring and wailing you hear is only the sea. Yes, wave to the feasting crowd! See you in 2065! Right.

"As for the rest of you, return to your seats once satiated. Under each cushion are two sets of cast-iron manacles, individually fitted for your wrists and ankles. 'Convenience fees' well spent! Your partner may assist in securing them and you, in turn, his or hers. Once in place, masses of lava from the Jeff Probst Memorial Flow will consume you while I head far north. In anticipation, notice how the cuffs are lined with fine virgin denim for maximum comfort and style. So tasteful!

"Sauce caterers, earth scientists and multimedia technicians, take this as your fifteen-minute warning to vacate the blast radius. I recommend Gulu-Gulu Café, for beer and hearty fare are encouraged after what you've endured. Come, Orange. Nation of Millions. A Love Supreme. The Woods. Jungle Rot. Let us walk together into a glorious Lynn evening and then beyond as it burns. The soundtrack will be wonderful."

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