By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
With a stripped-down rig, the trio can raise a ruckus on short notice, in any location. "You can find us on any street corner in Broward County, on any given evening," says Toth. Just last week Toth and his pals branched out and set up in front of Churchill's Hideaway, Miami's venerable punk dive, performing twisted versions of "Folsom Prison Blues," "The Kids Are Alright," and Toth's own demented originals. The Tiny Show's racket proved inspirational to a female member of the Laundry Room Squelchers, a noise-oriented combo performing at Churchill's the same evening. "She's kind of crazy and an exhibitionist," reports Toth. "She basically stripped in the middle of the street while we played and rolled around on the ground." The usually bewildered passersby appeared more confused than ever. Some even seemed scared.
Like Mr. E's performances, 1926 Funstown Street is a dangerous listen. Several tracks should be approached slowly and with great caution. A prime example is "Rippin' a Whole in the Side of My Heart," containing the immortal line, "You keep it up/Till you throw up/In my pickup truck/In your baseball cup." "Tour de Hotown" cruises along to chattering high-hat, toy-piano torture, and Toth's skittish surf-guitar lines. "Flying Trapeze" is a giddy carnival-ride waltz with everything but the cotton candy, while "Circus Man Suits" makes a valiant stab at normal rock music and fails wonderfully. Underneath the sauntering swamp-blues backwash of "Big Al Shoeshine," a baritone sax honks like a loose cannon in the pachyderm house. On "Co-Cola for Breakfast," the tape speed is manipulated to warp the tune like a fun house mirror. Sound effects, such as the train noise that permeates "East Coast Railway," also thread their way through the album, adding elements from Toth's suburban soundtrack. "Dogs barking, cars driving by, the A/C -- that's all music to me," he explains.
The oddest oddities on 1926 Funstown Street come courtesy of Toth's mom, Sandi, another life-long Hollywood resident. Two songs she used to sing to her boy in his childhood have been resurrected: a campfire ditty called "Catalina Matalina" and an untraceable, tongue-twisting folk song, "King of the Cannibal Island." Both were recorded in the bathroom of Sandi's house. "It was spooky for me to hear them again," says Toth. Listeners should prepare to be similarly nostalgic: The tunes capture the thrill of finding an old record in the attic, something at once familiar but also long forgotten.
Interested? You should be, but don't look for Toth's colorful audio greeting card on Amazon.com or in your local Best Buy just yet. He's planning to give away most of the first pressing to friends and family. Eschewing the rock-star game and all of its trappings, Toth also is bypassing the traditional CD-release party or anything formal. "I don't really play by the rules," he says, pointing out the obvious. "South Florida is extremely fickle. It's always a struggle; you've gotta do it all by yourself down here. It's fun -- we do it because it's art."