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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Richard Pinhas - Metal / Crystal – If it's true – at least in creative work – that quantity yields quality, the recent releases by Richard Pinhas are proving that maxim possesses a limited applicability. Built as a...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues