• Phleg Camp on the back cover of the 1991 double seven-inch Bully My Pushy

When Peter Margasak posted last week about Eric Chenaux’s new album, Guitar & Voice, he mentioned Chenaux’s old rock band Phleg Camp—a name I hadn’t heard in more than a decade. When I was in college in Houston in the early 90s, I had a cassette dub of Phleg Camp’s 1992 LP Ya’Red Fair Scratch, recorded by Steve Albini—the Toronto trio’s only proper full-length. I’m not sure that tape survived my house fire in 1998, and if it did, I neither know where it is nor have a machine that will play it. But dang I liked that record, so today’s 12 O’Clock Track is some Phleg Camp: “Corn Licker,” from a collection of seven-inches and demo tracks called Repeat Until Change.

Phleg Camp was never terribly popular, and it doesn’t look like too many people out there still carry a torch for the band. I can’t find embeddable audio from Ya’Red Fair Scratch anywhere on the Internet (though admittedly I don’t know where all the secret doors are). I suspect this song was retitled and possibly rewritten for Ya’Red Fair Scratch, because I recognize the bit at the end. Just imagine its considerable badassery—I’m hearing a little Jesus Lizard and a lot of Mule—enhanced by the badassery of Albini’s signature sound.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.