Exposé Online banner

Snakefinger — Chewing Hides the Sound
(East Side Digital ESD 81392, 1979/1999, CD)

Snakefinger — Greener Postures
(East Side Digital ESD 81402, 1980/1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 1999-11-01

Chewing Hides the Sound Cover artGreener Postures Cover art

Here we have the welcome reissue of two great albums by Residents’ cohort and collaborator guitarist Snakefinger (AKA Philip Charles Lithman). Many of the songs on these albums were cowritten with the Residents, and there is much stylistic similarity with that group’s recordings of the same period (not surprising since Snakefinger contributed guitar to Duck Stab and others). The dominant sounds are wild, unusual guitar playing (mostly electric) and processed vocals. Backing is provided mostly by primitive drum machine and quivering keyboards. The lyrics are on the cryptic side, so while the words are often decipherable, you’ll be left confused as to what they’re about (“Jesus was a leprechaun / His name Tidy Tom / He tried to have a little fun / Jesus: But my hands and feet are so numb!”). A quirky sense of humor prevails throughout. Between the two discs I have trouble picking a favorite – each has some great tunes. “The Model” and “The Vivian Girls” off Chewing are wonderful. And I’ve always loved “The Man in the Black Sedan” and “Trashing All the Great Loves of History” from Postures.

A good reference for Snakefinger’s sound, strangely enough, could be Eno’s first few solo albums, only a bit wackier. The same freshness of discovery is in evidence, of creative people playing around in a studio, not worrying if they are great musicians, just putting together tunes that make sense to them. And in the same way Fripp’s inventive guitar colors Eno’s albums, Snakefinger leaves his stamp on these. Snakefinger only produced two other studio albums before his 1987 death: Manual of Errors (1982) and Night of Desirable Objects (1986). Let’s hope reissues of those are in the works.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 18, 1999 releases, 1979 recordings, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Philip Charles Lithman (Snakefinger)

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sparks - Sparks & A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing – Most probably know Sparks from their later work, but these two are where it all began for this LA based five-piece led by brothers Ron and Russel Mael (keyboards and vocals, respectively). On these...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues