Saturday, December 1, 2007

Archipelago Brewing Co. - Criswell

(Nuf Sed, 1989)

Archipelago Brewing Co. is (was) a buncha weirdos from San Francisco – including some of the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 guys, Brandan Kearney, and “FOUR GODDAMN GIRL DRUMMERS” – and this is their one and only single. So let me lay some straight-talk on you: it’s a bona-fide doozy! “Criswell” lurches along to the dinosaur-stomp of those lady percussionists, and the rhythm guitarists thrash away in a delightfully repetitive manner while the lead makes high-pitched little squiggles atop it all. A slower, heavier TFUL282 is a fair enough (and lazy enough) description. The guitars get noisier and the drummers get buried – this record’s sound quality isn’t so hot – on “Fresh Fish,” a grim tribute to the titular ocean-dweller, while “Wussies-R-Us” is a pretty, watery-sounding guitars-and-samples tune. When the full band is a-thunderin’, as on “Criswell” and “Fresh Fish,” the music coming outta the speakers is certainly loud, but you get the sense that this must’ve been absolutely BRUTAL when heard live. Like good brutal.

The Amazing Criswell, who appears on the sleeve, was into the fantastic, so I wonder what he’d have thought of this tidbit: I had been searching for this 7” for quite a while, and when I finally did locate a copy, it was in a store in which I was killing time while waiting for band associate Neil Hamburger to take the stage at a club next door. Weird.

Wait! Before wrapping up, let’s get back to A.B.C. guitarist, tape-manipulator, and vocalist Brandan Kearney, a man about whom you can learn all sortsa interesting facts in this great interview. It’s going to be a while before I reach the “J” reviews, so I want to slip in a mention of another of the (many, many) bands with which Kearney was involved, Job’s Daughters. Those folks released a cover of the Cowsills’ “Prophecy of Daniel and John the Divine,” and it is THE BEST SINGLE THAT I OWN. Really. If you have the ability to hear sound, please do your listening-thingies a favor and find that doggone record immediately. It’s out there; I own two!


Anonymous said...

I was in that band. Jay Paget (on guitar) was the only Feller in ABC. You're right, it was a great live band. The recording didn't do it justice. Greg Freeman still only had an eight track recorder. The four drummers got to have two tracks (that they shared with the two bass players), Jay and Branden got, I think, four tracks of guitars... 7, singer... 8, tapes. There was also a Bananafish shared single, and a cassette, and the cd with everything.
The genesis of "Criswell" was a ripoff of the bass line from Ami Stewart's disco version of "Knock on Wood". Still like it so much?

Anonymous said...

I was just in Vancouver B.C. where I picked up a copy of this 45 EP knowing nothing about it. Now I know. Thanks.