Archive for Oedipussy

Your Snow Day Soundtrack: Phil Parfitt’s “Mental Home Recordings”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 16, 2020 by johnbuckley100

Phil Parfitt was the leader of the great British band The Perfect Disaster, whose late’80s/early ’90s run produced two of the best post-Velvet Underground albums of the era, Up, and especially, Heaven Scent. While the Perfect Disaster are perhaps remembered more as the band that introduced us to Josephine Wiggs, who went on to play bass for The Breeders, we still listen to them regularly, beguiled as ever we were by their chugging beat, by Parfitt’s vulnerability as a more sensitive singer/songwriter in the spirit of Lou Reed.

In the mid-’90s, Parfitt returned with a solo album under the band name of Oedipussy, and in these very pages, we asked, “Is Oedipussy’s Divan the great lost album of the ’90s?”

We wrote that in early 2009, and nearly 12 years on, we can answer authoritatively, Yes, yes it was. But while Oedipussy’s album may have been lost, happily Parfitt wasn’t, releasing, in 2014, a quietly gorgeous record entitled I’m Not The Man I Used To Be. Now, saying you’re not the man you used to be can either indicate a belief you’ve been diminished or that your character has improved. From a rock’n’roll standpoint, Parfitt’s record was less than his work with The Perfect Disaster or Oedipussy. But in terms of his contribution to the world of music, an argument can be made that his album’s impact was even greater than what came before it.

And now we have, in this year of Covid when so much work has been done quietly at home, away from the hurly burly, Mental Home Recordings. These recordings are, in a word, gorgeous. An entry into the pantheon of quiet, acoustic-based but thrilling music from the U.K. — think Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece, Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, the less jangly, dare we say sincere side of Robyn Hitchcock.

These songs may have been recorded at home, but the strings that have been added to the sound of Parfitt and his acoustic guitar attest to a studio. “I Saw There Beside Me” really could have been recorded in Tupelo by Van the Man. There are hints throughout of Big Star’s Sister Lovers, and I don’t mean that in terms of his cracking up, even though the album’s title might allude to tough times. I mean that in terms of the spare, but beautiful arrangements, the little off-kilter touches, such as on “John Clare.” It’s about the British Romantic poet who finished up his years in an asylum, living in his mind — and it’s absolutely stunning and affecting, its afterglow lasting. Only “All Fucked Up” asserts itself as a more up-tempo pop song, for this is an album of quiet gems, gleaming on a velvet pillow. “Bones Cold” may be the prettiest song I listened to this year not performed by Fenne Lily. “My Love” is certainly the least sappy clutcher of heartstrings we’ve ever heard.

Phil Parfitt is not the man he used to be, if by that we mean he’s produced a second solo album to put on while sitting by a crackling fire, and not — as was the case with both his prior bands — an album to dance and dream to, propelled along like the Velvets were by Maureen Tucker’s drumming.

For those today on the East Coast of the U.S., watching the snow fall and preparing to stay indoors, here’s how to entertain yourself: listen to the gorgeous songs from these Mental Home Recordings. Listen to a mature and thoughtful songwriter work in the full prime of his talents.

Philip Parfitt Is Not The Man He Used To Be

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by johnbuckley100

It may have been a heartfelt stroke of honesty, it might have been an effort to inoculate against the facile criticism he expected, but whatever it is that prompted Philip Parfitt to call his first album in 20 years I’m Not The Man I Used To Be, it certainly seems accurate.  For this album is very, very different from what Parfitt has done in his prior lives, his prior bands.

It’s no disgrace if you don’t know who he is. Parfitt’s last album came out before, oh, Oasis hit the scene. The Perfect Disaster may be best remembered now for having given Josephine Wiggs to The Breeders, but to those of us who remember the late 1980s, they gave us an enormous amount of pleasure.  Some of that pleasure, to be sure, was what a great guitarist Dan Cross proved to be, but it was Parfitt’s singing and songwriting that made The Perfect Disaster worthy of being spoken of in the same sentence with the Velvet Underground.  Here’s how we described them in 2009:

“The Perfect Disaster were an interesting, sometimes thrilling late ’80s British band headed by Parfitt, with the glorious Dan Cross on lead guitar, what had to be Mo Tucker’s illegitimate son Jon Mattock on drums and, before she left for The Breeders, Josephine Wiggs on bass and vocals. Their album Up is what got me started, especially “Time To Kill.” They had a chugging, Velvets sound, had spent plenty of time listening to the Buzzcocks and Modern Dance-era Pere Ubu, and Parfitt was a wonderfully sneering front man, limited in vocal range, but of course that made sense, since the model was Lou Reed. Heaven Scent came out in 1990, and to my ears was stronger than Up (though britcrits seem to prefer the former.) It had a little less urgency than its predecessor, but by now Parfitt’s songwriting craft had more facets and dimensions, yet was more contained. Great things seemed in store, and … poof. They disappeared.”

But then came Oedipussy, whose 1994 album Divan we called “the great lost album of post-punk British rock.”  It was more dynamic, more explicitly commercial than The Perfect Disaster, and while their (his?) lone album was incredibly different from what had come earlier, it was no less satisfying.  Two years after we posted our piece on Oedipussy, this comment suddenly appeared:

““thank you ladies and gentlemen. I am well.its very very lovely that people appreciate my work. i’ve not stopped writing or recording since Divan, just haven’t got ruond to releasing much; I am though planning to get a new album out this year 2011. there! I’ve said it! one step follows another step, even when you are walking backwards.”

It was signed, simply, “philip.”  And for three years, these two Tulip Frenzy posts have gotten steady traffic, as the world hasn’t forgotten about Philip Parfitt.

And then two weeks ago, someone tweeted us that Parfitt had a new album out, and sure enough, I’m Not The Man I Used To Be hit the iTunes store.


When you listen to the opener, “Big Sister,” it’s not Lou Reed that comes to mind so much as Nick Drake.  This is a quiet album, handcrafted before the fireplace, as rain hits the window.  It is no less the beautiful for it.  Whether or not Phil Parfitt has changed — and let us simply assume that he was writing in character when, on Up‘s closer, “Time To Kill,” he announced it was “time to pull the trigger and/time to die” — this music is lovely.  And every bit as special as anything he did in his harder rocking past.

The Perfect Disaster has gotten us through many a late evening: car rides, plane rides and the like.  I’m Not The Man I Used To Be is that next album to play on a rainy Saturday after Beck’s Morning Phase is over, you’ve just poured another cup, and the dog is snoring at your feet.  To say this is a quiet album is the finest praise.  We’re glad he’s back.


News From Tulip Frenzy: The Perfect Disaster’s Phil Parfitt Writes To Declare New Album Out In 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 8, 2011 by johnbuckley100

Phil Parfitt of The Perfect Disaster and Oedipussy posted a comment on Tulip Frenzy last night indicating that, in 2011, for the first time since 1994, he will have an album of new music out.  Summoning all of our critical and hipster faculties, we have one thing to declare: yippie!

Some may remember in 2009 Tulip Frenzy posed the question of whether Parfitt’s album, Divan, which he released under the band name of Oedipussy,was the “great lost album of the 1990s.”  Some may also remember Parfitt’s original band The Perfect Disaster, which put out a pair of brilliant albums earlier in that distant decade.  Not much has been heard from Phil for a long, long time, and it was a great loss for music.

Then, last night, came this comment: “thank you ladies and gentlemen. I am well.its very very lovely that people appreciate my work. i’ve not stopped writing or recording since Divan, just haven’t got ruond to releasing much; I am though planning to get a new album out this year 2011. there! I’ve said it!
one step follows another step, even when you are walking backwards;

So perhaps 2011 will deliver us a new album from a long-lost and absolutely brilliant voice.  Yippee!

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