the weirdly sweet streak that runs through all the sweaty tough-guy activity


In 1987, the singer David Yow and the bassist David Sims were at loose ends after their band, Scratch Acid, broke up. Based in Austin, Scratch Acid was a volcanic, loopy, and virtuosic group led by one of the few singers who can convincingly claim Iggy Pop as an influence. Yow and Pop both use their bodies as much as their voices to transmit information, and that information always includes the message “Anything goes.” Pop was famous for cutting himself and smearing himself with peanut butter; Yow, at the one Scratch Acid show I saw, in the eighties, pulled what looked like peanut butter, or worse, out of his pants and threw it into the audience. (It was flour, water, and food coloring.) Yow is less herky-jerky than Pop—he throws his body around without any particular rhythmic predictability, seeming to engage with an invisible opponent. Sometimes they do a jig; other times he crouches as if grabbed from behind, or kicks as if shaking off the pincers of a persistent crab.

more from Sasha Frere-Jones at The New Yorker here.