Susanne Lewis - solo & group stuff

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Keywords: Hail, Kissyfur, Bob Drake, Corpses As Bedmates, Venus Handcuffs, Spray Pals, Biota, A Thinking Plague

Any other headz out there? I've been a fan for ages, and just tracked down an album I've never heard (the Venus Handcuffs LP - one of her many projects w/Bob Drake in the '80s Denver scene); but don't want to ramble on too much if no one cares (or is even familiar w/her)...

a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze (morrisp), Thursday, 18 October 2018 21:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

big fan. I spent the most time with Hail's 'Turn Of The Screw' & 'Kirk' as they were the next things to come out after Thinking Plague's 'In This Life'. Venus Handcuffs is cool but very raw. All those records are quite tormented / demented, you could call them goth but way stranger than most music that gets called that. (like Mauve Sideshow or Voice of Eye, you can still comfortably use the word 'goth' to give people a basic estimate but I probably shouldn't even bring it up with Lewis). the Kissyfur records were a big hit at the college radio station I was at around then -- way friendlier, wonderful, catchy, came out right in the mid-90's indie pop stride of things, still pretty strange but wouldn't throw anyone off on a playlist with Bratmobile / Azalia Snail / Slater Kinney.

Biota trying to hide song-like things throughout 'Object Holder' only works sometimes for me but the song 'Private Wire' is all time

No one told me there was a 2006 Hail record! Youtube examples sound ridiculously great. Didn't even know about Spray Pals.

Milton Parker, Thursday, 18 October 2018 22:37 (seven months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I didn't know about Spray Pals, either! There's more info online now than there was the last time I poked around (it's been a while). Thanks to Discogs.com, of course; but also recent interviews with people like Mike Johnson of Thinking Plague (who talks about those early Denver years). I can't find a single interview with Lewis herself, unfortunately.

Kissyfur was also the first thing of hers that I encountered, in the college radio scene. Yeah, she was successful at tapping into that mid-'90s "offbeat indie-rock" vein.

The 2006 Hail album is terrific -- it doesn't sound like "Turn of the Screw" or "Kirk" (both of which I also love). The sound is hard to describe... as with most this stuff, it's unique and personal without being too "arty" or inapproachable. The playing is skilled and the instrumentation is varied, but the music remains grounded in a "rock" sensibility (even when not sounding much like rock you may hear anywhere else).

The Venus Handcuffs album is for sure kind of gloomy, minimal, avant-ish not-quite-rock with touches of noise, tape effects, violin, etc.; but you can tell it's guided by Lewis & Drake's self-awareness and focus (and, of course, Lewis's singing ties it all together). It's not something I'll probably listen to a lot, but I'm glad I found the CD (seems Drake remastered and reissued it in 2004).

a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze (morrisp), Thursday, 18 October 2018 22:52 (seven months ago) Permalink

Here's the Mike Johnson interview with some cool early photos: https://nmbx.newmusicusa.org/mike-johnson-thinking-plague/

I haven't listened to "Early Plague Years" in a long time, will have to revisit it. Same with the Biota CD.

a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze (morrisp), Thursday, 18 October 2018 22:56 (seven months ago) Permalink

yeah that spray pals single is great, i got into "in this life" when i was still prog-exclusive but there's still lots of stuff she's done that i haven't heard too much of

dub pilates (rushomancy), Thursday, 18 October 2018 23:43 (seven months ago) Permalink

oh hey biota have a new record coming out next month? cool. i'm not sure how i feel about their recent focus on late '60s britfolk but it's interesting at least

dub pilates (rushomancy), Thursday, 18 October 2018 23:48 (seven months ago) Permalink

Re: Spray Pals -- nuts, now I'm gonna have to track down a 7" that's going for big $$ on Discogs? Lol

a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze (morrisp), Thursday, 18 October 2018 23:56 (seven months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Milton -- did you end up picking up Hail's 2006 album ("Hello Debris")?

Incidentally, the Spray Pals 7" can be heard here (it's good!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3uzhTXoHVg&list=PL_kqy3ea-ImHiHEPFX84WYUbrv7iG7acl

i stan corrected (morrisp), Thursday, 10 January 2019 17:54 (five months ago) Permalink


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