Tumor Circus - Tumor Circus (Cover Artwork)

Tumor Circus

Tumor Circus (1991)

Alternative tentacles

Tumor Circus was a one off project from Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra, Charles Tolnay of Grong Grong, and members of Montana’s Steel Pole Bathtub. The band released one album in 1991, which for the most part continues to fly under the radar of most fans.

Tumor Circus has undeniable similarities to the Dead Kennedys- it has the same raw edge that is helped along by Jello’s distinct croon. The band is more rock and roll oriented than Dead Kennedys, and significantly more chaotic.

A contemporary reference for those of you who may be learning about Tumor Circus for the first time, is a rock and roll vibe similar to The Bronx, or perhaps a less metallic version of The Melvins, but significantly more low-fi and scratchy. The record often avoids melody, but excels in chugging rock riffs and spiraling noise. Tracks like “Fireball” and “Swine Flu” stand out with a focus on an ambient and eerie guitar leads.

Tumor Circus is an entertaining listen for those who are big fans of the Dead Kennedys or Steel Pole Bathtub. That being said, for the majority of other listeners, this self-titled effort is likely to be a relic that is lost to side projects of history past. Tumor Circus might be difficult at first approach because the band revels in such such anti-music. This is a noisy release and purposefully so. The ressult is a record that may be dififcult to approach at first, but has a certain dense, logic to it, if you can make it through its thorny exterior. Tumor Circus is a good record, but is unlikely to be a jumping off point for any new fans. If you love Jello and want to venture outside of the Dead Kennedys catalogue, this record is a good place to start