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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ancient Future - Asian Fusion – Around 1980, Ancient Future released two excellent albums of acoustic world-music, the second of which (Natural Rhythms) remains a landmark of the genre, with its surreal eccentricity and sonic...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues