The Joup Friday Album: chipmunkson16speed – Sludgefest

chipmunkson16speedWhen I was a kid, I loved big, dumb popcorn movies just like everybody else, taking in weekend matinees of whatever mass appeal schlock-fest Hollywood happened to grace us with on a weekly basis. As I got older though, my tastes grew more refined, first taking in quality genre fare, and then moving on to the critical darlings. Then I went to film school, and my screen tastes began to get even more challenging. Foreign films, experimental movies, classics, and all manner of independent and cerebral art. In short, I gradually became a film snob.

But then something happened. I don’t know if I got bored or just kind of worn out by all the cinematic high art I was taking in, but somewhere along the way, my tastes devolved. Suddenly I was back on genre films, and not necessarily the good ones. B-movies became my on-screen opium. Bad movies became my sole visual input. They were all I wanted to watch. They’re still all I want to watch. It’s too much fun to revel in all of the low art.

I would say that I’m not like that with music…but here I am writing about an album of slowed down Chipmunk songs.

Pop music has always had its veritable sea of flotsam and jetsam, bits and pieces of sonic garbage strewn about our modern culture like so much junkyard debris (our own Chester Whelks used to do a fascinating column here on Joup about “Song Poems”). Couple this pop trash with the remix/reuse/recycle aesthetic of modern music, and I guess it’s inevitable that somebody is eventually going to mess around with The Chipmunks. And so we have chipmunkson16speed.

The “project,” if you even want to call it that, came from Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt. Having owned an old suitcase record player with a 16 RPM setting that the group used to incorporate weird and wonderful sounds and noises into their music, Borcherdt eventually got around to creating Sludgefest, his chipmunk opus. Featuring songs culled from albums like 1980’s Chipmunk Punk and 88’s The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock, chipmunkson16speed sounds otherworldly. The slowed down tunes have an almost doom metal tempo and feel, but with elements of industrial and darkwave synth pop in the mix, while the vocals sound like they’re being sung by someone who just learned English five minutes ago. Who knew that Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were Eastern European goths?

In all honesty though, the album kind of rules. “Walk Like an Egyptian” sounds dark,  sinister, and fucked up. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” is a haunting dream. And now I can’t get Sludgefest out of my head.

So, give the album a listen below. You’re not too good for it. Surrealist irony is for everybody.


And on to you Daniel.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit

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