Friday, July 07, 2017


Being a weirdo outsider teenager in the 80s meant that SST Records was a big part of my life.  Leaving Trains are my fave SST band in the doomed-to-eternal-obscurity category.  Goofy, snotty punk with some occasional serious flashes of existential dread in James’ lyrics.  They were sometimes brilliant, sometimes lugubrious, and mostly pretty cool.

The Screaming Trees seem to have left their SST discography behind.  No re-issues that I’m aware of, but their major label sound was different enough from that of their early days that I guess it’s no big surprise.  They were never really a cash cow and no one ever considered them mad left-field geniuses, so I guess no one wanted to pony up the dough to get the rights to the masters back.  Buffalo Tom was probably in the same boat.  Damn fine album, tho.

Same thing w/ Volcano Suns?  Probably.  Some of their non-SST stuff was re-issued, but FARCED and THING OF BEAUTY  remain ignored, which is a shame in these re-issue crazy days.

All is all, SST seems like a pretty goddamn lazy and indifferent label.  None of their CDs seem to have been remastered when it was put out on CD, the artwork all just seems to be shrunken versions of the vinyl art, etc etc.  I assume Ginn needed whatever profits the label was generating for pot, and maybe to help finance his insanely dull post Black Flag music.

Most of the great bands from the heyday (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Meat Puppets) seem to have re-acquired the rights to their SST back catalog and done a pretty good job of remastering and reissuing it.   I assume Mike Watt is hanging onto his street cred, loyalty and general indie awesomeness by keeping his Minutemen work on SST, but he’s selling himself short.  The Minutemen will always be a fiercely indie and iconoclastic group, even if their music is re-issued by a major.

Husker Du is the band that I can’t figure out.  Do Mould and Hart hate each other so much that they’ll just walk away from their best albums?  Apparently so.  Hart’s solo INTOLERANCE album was recently re-issued on heavy vinyl, I think, but what about the EIGHT MILES HIGH single, the METAL CIRCUS ep and ZEN ARCADE, NEW DAY RISING and FLIP YOUR WIG?  Holy shit!  This music is 1980s Alternative 101.  Required listening.  Motherfucking Ass Kicking.  I am both stunned and appalled.  And stunned some more.  For real.. 

Or maybe I take this shit too seriously.  Maybe we’re all just born to die, and so who cares what happens in between?

Is that really what you think?

Christ, you make me sick……..

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