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Thomas Truax

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Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

After leading the Cramps-infected trio Like Wow and traveling with the Toby Tyler Circus in the 1990s, New York singer-songwriter Thomas Truax (pronounced "troo-aks") went solo in 2001, hijacking the floor at one of the Sidewalk Café's infamous "Antihoot" open-mic nights.

Drawing on both his musical and circus pasts (along with his work as a stop-motion animator for MTV's "Celebrity Death Match"), Truax comes off as a junk-collecting mad scientist on a cabaret-noir bender. While he occasionally enlists the aid of fellow New Yorkers like violinist Merdith Yayanos and Botancica keyboardist Paul Walfisch, most of Truax's performances find him backed only by the Rube Goldbergesque, time-keeping machines he assembles from Manhattan's industrial jetsam -- crazed instruments with names like the Hornicator, the Cadillac Beatspinner Wheel, and the Sister Spinster.

Topped with his gooey baritone voice, Truax's music is a sinister brew of gloomy greats like The Doors, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Tom Waits, and, once again, The Cramps. Along with these derigueur downtown influences, he throws in some select darker moments of classic pop from The Kinks, David Bowie, and even The Beatles. Lyrically, Truax's songs recount stories of amorous New York isolation, as well as the bemusing activities in his fictional Wowtown, an Edward Gorey-inspired land of bizarre animal characters. The vibe overall is that of a bleakness-obsessed, charmingly eccentric oddball: Leonard Cohen and Uncle Fester rolled into one.

As he continues to cultivate his growing standing as a fixture in Lower East Side and Brooklyn clubs, Truax has gained a sizeable following in the U.K. Following a series of successful British tours, Truax released his solo debut, Full Moon Over Wowtown, in early 2003 on his own Psycho Teddy label. The disc was picked up for European release by the U.K.-based Breakin' Beats imprint in March of 2004, while Italy's Homesleep label released a self-titled three-song CD in February of that year.

Truax recorded a second full-length, "Audio Addiction," for release on Breakin' Beats in early 2005.