Momus – Absolute Beginners (2015)

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Momus spent much of 2014 preparing a two-headed cabaret at London’s Cafe Oto, a tribute to his two favourite songwriters, Howard Devoto and David Bowie. Turpsycore, a voluptuous 3-CD set named after the Greek goddess of dancing and delight, is a record of the covers plus a fresh Momus album recorded in Osaka in the winter of 2014. The new Momus songs were partly inspired by a visit to the V&A’s Bowie exhibition in 2013: wandering off to an obscure upstairs room, Momus found himself in the museum’s Music Hall and Variety Theatre collection. The character acts — clowns, female impersonators, pantomime dames, obscenity-spouting comedians — seemed even more Bowie-ish than the Bowie show itself. So Turpsycore pays tribute to eccentric characters like the “filthy hiker” Frank Randle, the handsome synthpop pioneer Jacno, Paul McCarthy’s babyish painter alter ego, William Burroughs in Tangiers, the ghost of Lou Reed in Williamsburg, Tony Newley and Jobriath. Some zigzaggy matrix connects the three disks, joining the dots across decades of fascinating culture, high and low.

Disk 1 (Turpsy): Bathyscaphe, System of Usher, The Dowser, The Boy Camille, The Hiker, Cameo, The Brutalist, Ultra-Loyal Sheepdog, The Spider, The Painter, Catholic App, Unreconstructed, Following, Spore, The Driver, The Hate Horse, Foxy Little Otter

Disk 2 (Dybbuk): The Bewlay Brothers, Joe The Lion, Be My Wife, African Night Flight, Sweet Thing, DJ, Time, Lady Grinning Soul, Love Is Lost, Ashes to Ashes, Candidate, Conversation Piece, The Drowned Girl, Letter to Hermione, Uncle Arthur, Where Are We Now? Absolute Beginners, Life on Mars

Disk 3 (Harvard): Motorcade, Cut-Out Shapes, Because You’re Frightened, Upside Down, Back To Nature, Lady 21, Pound, Rainy Season, Ticket, Philadelphia, You Never Knew Me, Friends of Mine, Parade, Of Course Howard, Smoking Mirror

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