12 O'Clock Track: Kenneth Higney's rambunctious and strange psych-punk jam, "I Wanna Be The King"

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Last weekend I trekked out to Boston to attend my five-year college reunion, and between attending activities at my alma mater in the burbs and hanging with friends in the city I somehow managed to squeeze in just enough time to check out a newish record store called Deep Thoughts. I'd strictly planned to just take in the sights and not buy anything, but that changed after I came across a seven-inch one of the store's owners released. It's a reissue of Kenneth Higney's "Funky Kinky"/"I Wanna Be The King," and I faintly recall that the description used the words "postpunk," "funk," "basement," and "outsider" in an order that convinced me to toss some cash at the bearded dude behind the counter.

It's a pretty strange single by a dude beloved for his eccentricities; Higney was working as a truck driver when he self-released his 1976 debut, Attic Demonstration. He made it in an effort to persuade other musicians to buy his songs, which sound like FM rock songs that have been deconstructed and reassembled into disjointed and acid-washed outsider jams. Attic Demonstration helped Higney garner a cult reputation and it's a hot item in the private press community—he's one of the artists included in the recent coffee-table book on vanity LPs, Enjoy the Experience—and Higney followed it up four years later with the "Funky Kinky"/"I Wanna Be The King" single. (He included the two songs on a 2003 CD reissue of Attic Demonstration.) "I Wanna Be The King" is the most straightforward cut from the single, but the rollicking psych-punk number still showcases Higney's unusual sensibilities—particularly when it comes to the lyrics, which are basically strings of non sequiturs. (Sample lyric: "I'm gonna be a star / I hate the sissy music of John Denver.") Check out the song below—it's today's 12 O'Clock Track—and grab the reissue of the single and Attic Demonstration from One Kind Favor.

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