Stinky Puffs

  • Stinky Puffs
  • A Little Tiny Smelly Bit of ... the Stinky Puffs (Elemental) 1995 
  • Songs and Advice for Kids Who Have Been Left Behind EP (Elemental) 1996 

Born in 1984 and raised among the Residents, Simon Fair Timony — underground rock’s coolest adolescent — is the singer and lyricist of the flatulently named Stinky Puffs, a shambly Hoboken, New Jersey kitchen combo that, in its initial studio incarnation, included his mom, Sheenah Fair, on drums, stepfather Jad Fair on effects, scene dude Don Fleming on guitar and Sonic Youth scion Cody Linn Ranaldo on guitar. Singing in a confident waver, Timony offers an ingenuous child’s-eye view of some pretty weighty topics on the debut: a notorious murder trial (“Menendez’ Killed Their Parents,” recorded with two-thirds of Sleepyhead), his personal response to a friend’s suicide (the tender “I’ll Love You Anyway,” for Kurt Cobain) and the challenge of evaluating one’s super-ego in a post-consumerist society (“I Am Gross!/No You’re Not!”). The disc also offers the same four short songs performed live in Olympia, Washington at 1994’s YoYo a Go Go festival. Billed as the Super Stinky Puffs Band, the historic one-off features Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan and, making their first (only?) public appearance together since the end of Nirvana, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl. To his credit, the unflappable star sounds like he’s hanging out with playmates, goofing around until the pizza arrives. More than a novelty and less than the real deal, the record is both fun and touching, an unintended but obliquely wry commentary on indie-pop’s childish fixations.

Working with his mom, the junior Ranaldo and some young non-celeb musicians, Fair then recorded a short, more traditionally accomplished EP entitled Songs and Advice for Kids Who Have Been Left Behind. Growing (literally) into his art, Timony ventures another version of “I’ll Love You Anyway,” a wistful song about the departure of his step-father (“I Know I Know”), an ascending list of supplements (“The Vitamin Song”), a wild slab of guitar psychedelia with dubby vocals (“Rubber Pen”) and a gruesome rock cover of Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver.”

[Ira Robbins]