1/  I'm Embarassed To Be An American Girl                                      0.40
  2/  Sex Carp                                                                   1.58
  3/  24 Handkerchiefs For Roger Trilling                                        3.56
  4/  Smokey Raindrops                                                           1.44
  5/  Green Dolphin Sweet                                                        1.21
  6/  Corrugated Gems of Woe                                                     1.59
  7/  Scabby                                                                     1.33
  8/  Bleed For the Mind                                                         1.40
  9/  Shaken Not Stirred (Pe de Boi w/ M.E. Miller)                              1.08
  10/ Dance of the Were-Samurai                                                  1.44
  11/ Teen Sex Carp                                                              0.37
  12/ Where Do We Get the $ To Save Our Children?                                3.19
  13/ Death Certificate - 14 Dollars                                             3.21
  14/ Citymulch                                                                  3.54
  15/ Away All Pests                                                             4.19
  16/ The Devil May Be Your Santa Claus (studio)                                 3.03
  17/ The Devil May Be Your Santa Claus (live)                                   2.28
  18/ Victimless Crime                                                           2.18
  19/ Improvisation                                                              13.32
  20/ Improvisation                                                              3.32
  21/ Improvisation                                                              1.39
  22/ Improvisation                                                              1.41
  23/ Improvisation                                                              1.32
  24/ Improvisation                                                              3.09
  25/ Improvisation                                                              1.29

         Track 1 recorded July 18, 1980 at Studio Henry
         Tracks 2,11 and 12 recorded December 30, 1982 at The Kitchen
         Tracks 3,15 and 16 recorded by Martin Bisi at OAO Studio
         Tracks 4-9 recorded by M.E. Miller at Morton St.
         Track 10 recorded on November 16, 1982 at Danceteria
         Tracks 13 and 14 recorded March 25, 1983 at ZU Space
         Tracks 17 and 18 recorded May 7, 1983 at White Colums Gallery
         Track 19 recorded April 30, 1982 at Morton St.
         Track 20 recorded January 30, 1981 at MOrton St.
         Tracks 21-25 recorded April 18, 1980 at Soundscape
         Live recordings from the archives of Bruce Gallanter
         Edited, remixed and mastered by Weasel Walter
Charles K. Noyes: drums, saw, percussion; Aline Lilly Mayer (1): vocals; Thi-Linh Le (2,10-18): vocals, guitar; Nicky Skopelitis (3,5,16): guitar; Arto Lindsay (2,10-12,17,18): vocals, guitar; Bill Laswell (4-6,8,16); bass; Elliott Sharp (6,8): guitar, bass; Wayne Horvitz (20): keyboards; John Zorn (8,19): alto saxophone, game calls; Pe de Boi Samba Group (9): percussion; Michael Beinhorn (3,16): Fender Rhodes Chroma; Paul Burwell (19): drums, percussion incendiaries; M.E. Miller: drums, vocals, bass, turntables, cocktail shakers, incendiaries.

          2008 - ugEXPLODE (USA), ug27 (CD)


Toy Killers was the percussionist duo of Mark E. Miller and Charles K. Noyes. When not providing dual percussion for artists such as John Zorn (on POOL) and Elliott Sharp (on ISM and CARBON), they created some of the most intense and deranged music from the no wave era. This CD compiles the only properly released Toy Killers track ("Victimless Crime", which appeared in '83 on the SPEED TRIALS compilation) alongside more than an hour of rare and unreleased studio and live tracks. Six of these WERE released as a cassette called HUMDRUM, but even Noyes and Miller are unsure when, and it's rare enough that ugEXPLODE's Weasel Walter has never seen a physical copy of it! The first eighteen tracks are a mix of short-to-average-length studio and live works, while the last seven are crazed improvisations. Everything was recorded between 1980 and 1983 (interestingly, some of the tracks aren't dated, but it's a good thing they were saved at all). Naturally, being limited to percussion would get stale after a while; luckily, Noyes and Miller had some great connections! Zorn, Sharp, Arto Lindsay, Nicky Skopelitis, Bill Laswell, and Wayne Horvitz are just some of the names that pop up on these tracks, each adding their identifiable mark while never overshadowing the core duo. One of the improvisations supposedly features Derek Bailey playing a bit and then walking off in disgust, but I can't tell which one. The liner notes by Weasel Walter and Anton Fier provide some great insight, Fier's being about a particularly spectacular glass-smashing incident. It's probably important to note here that "incendiaries", cocktail shakers, and saw are three of the instruments credited, and it's also worth noting that they occasionally set their drums on fire. The music is every bit as potent as that sounds, ranging from short bursts of DNA-esque skronk (Lindsay's vocals especially make the comparison apt) and rhythmic noise rock to such surprises as the sound collage of "24 Handkerchiefs For Roger Trilling" and a short but delightful collaboration between Miller and the Pe de Boi Samba Group (from HUMDRUM). Then there's the improvisations. At times they sound like early AMM jamming with the Blue Humans, and then some are even looser than that. Some reviews have expressed disappointment with the improvs; I think they're actually quite stunning for the most part. The sound quality is superb, and even the live tracks sound remarkably good. This disc would be a great addition to any no wave/Downtown scene fan's collection, and fans of the likes of Captain Beefheart might just like this as well. Look for new Toy Killers recordings soon, featuring Weasel Walter and Henry Kaiser amongst others!

Prof. ~.A.~ (courtesy of the Another World of Sound blog)


Thomas Jefferson once said, "Every generation needs a new revolution." Indeed it does. As it may be up to you to put an end to the proliferation of American Idol/High School Musical idiots, lessons of history might just serve you well. As such, The Unlistenable Years, containing found music by the duo Charles K. Noyes and Mark E. Miller—known as Toy Killers—is a great rough draft of the New York No Wave revolution of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In clubs including Chicago's No Exit, New York's The Kitchen, or Columbus, Ohio's Crazy Mama's, music was being reinvented. Call it punk, no wave, or free improvisation, musicians—and audiences—craved a new sound; actually, an old sound—as a pure experience—such is the primitive nature of the music found on The Unlistenable Years.

The prime movers and shakers of this new century's music can be found in the paths of Miller and Noyes here: Arto Lindsay, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, Wayne Horvitz and Elliott Sharp. But in the early 1980s, these musicians were more iconoclasts than icons. And the music is as rough as the rebellion it spurred.

The disc was edited, remixed and mastered by composer/multi-instrumentalist Weasel Walter, and is organized around two sections. Roughly half are comprised of seven improvisations, and half are compositions. Whereas the improv pieces are seemingly timeless, tracks like "Sex Carp" could easily be the incorrect answer ("what is DNA?") to a Jeopardy game show question. But then, Arto Lindsay's exorcist vocals and torn guitar lines are still amazing. Certainly, fans of Bill Laswell, Elliott Sharp and John Zorn can identify their heroes' sounds here.

Listening to these artists at their musical infancy is not so much a revelation, but a reaffirmation of thoughts, back in the day, that this generation required a revolution. Perhaps some accord and recognition to Miller and Noyes can now be afforded.

Mark Corroto (courtesy of All About Jazz website)