At the 11-minute mark of the Plums’ 25-minute freak-out “Sigmar Polke,” my 2-year-old ran in and yelled, “It sounds like a train whistle!”

That’s a high compliment in Marc Masters’ world. D.C. writer Masters has spent the past two decades covering outsider music, in venues including his Pitchfork column “The Out Door” and his 2007 genre-documenting book “No Wave.” And for the past decade, he and his friends have been kicking out their own far-side jams as the Plums, an instrumental hypnotic-noise ensemble. The music is improvised, but there’s usually a comforting hook.

After 10 years together, the long-awaited new “White LP” is the Plums’ first official record. (Sockets Records released a CD-R of some other tracks six years ago.) Available at, the vinyl-only release contains two LPs of live performances and practice jams, stitched together by drummer Many Spaceships. (In my house, he shall be known as Lotta Choo Choos.)

The Plums’ Record Release Party:
» Bella Cafe, 900 Florida Ave. NW; Aug. 23, 8 p.m., $5; 202-299-9688, (U St.-Cardozo)

Written by Express contributor Christopher Porter
Photo by Angela Miller