The Joup Friday Album: The Parasites of The Western World

parasitesA common descriptor that’s often used for music that’s different, or strange, or complex, or lost and forgotten is that it’s ahead of its time, artists creating songs that are so far in front of the game that it’s like they shouldn’t even exist just yet.  And that’s a nice sentiment I suppose.  There’s certainly a touch of endearment in those words, an implication that the art was just so visionary and amazing, that the world simply wasn’t ready for it yet.  But the other implication, and the one that is much more easily measurable, is that it just didn’t sell.  It didn’t make the artists that created it any money, which in turn usually led to shorter careers, smaller outputs, and quainter discographies, these inspired audio tomes lost to time only to end up in some jackass’s record collection and to be written about on some website’s music column.


Hi there.  Welcome back to The Joup Friday Album.  Up for your ears today is the wonderful self-titled album from Portland, Oregon duo The Parasites of the Western World, a lost and forgotten record from 1978 that was certainly ahead of its time.

The Parasites of the Western World (also known as The Parasites) were Terry Censky and Patrick Burke, two multi-instrumentalist music nerds whose all too short career produced two LPs and a 7” single.  On their debut, the duo would create a piece of DIY pop art that defies most categorization.  At its heart, the record is an odd and noisy, synthesizer-laden post punk album, though elements of prog rock, psychedelia, new wave, and even blues are smeared throughout the affair, often to otherworldly and delightful effect.  The album opens with some weirdo electronics, the one-two of songs like “MO” and “Electrokill” establishing a murky and futuristic din of sound that puts the record in motion and then surfaces again and again throughout, while the ethereal “Funeral for a Mouse” nods to the more airy and far-out sounds of New Age before progressing into a full on dirge of synthesizers and organs.  Poppier moments like the band’s dreamy, lo-fi version of The Beatles’ “Flying” and the piano led ballad “God or Just a Slow Breeze” serve to rein things in but also provide an added layer of quirkiness to the proceedings.  Then there are moments like the noisy, psych noodling of epic album centerpiece “Accessories,” the straight forward pop rock of the almost radio-friendly “You Must Be Joe King,” and the alien warble of album closer “Alienending” that take the record in completely unexpected yet wholly organic directions, culminating in a piece of art that sounds like nothing else.

So yeah, I guess the record was ahead of its time.  But it deserves more than that.  Listen below, and if you like what you hear, seek this album out.  From what I can see online, copies of the original and the 2010 reissue can be found on Discogs.

Sigh.  I seem to be unable to embed a playlist with the whole album, so here are the 10 individual tracks instead.  Have fun.

Be kind to each other.

Oh Yeah…Tag Sonny!


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

One Response to The Joup Friday Album: The Parasites of The Western World
  1. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    This record is awesome! Thanks for another great start to the weekend Tommy.

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