Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
JUST GIVE ME SOME AS-PIR-IN.....speaking of GREEN ON RED (see post below), they’re finally getting the CD reissue treatment on some long-missing LPs. Sad to sad these are too often found in the $1-$2 bins in record form, but I have a feeling that’s about to change with the new release of their excellent first EP and second long-player Gas Food Lodging paired up on one CD (with extra tracks), and the debut LP Gravity Talks by itself on another. These reissues are being put out by Wounded Bird, a CD-only reissue label (just ask them). There was a time when in some indie rock circles (or college rock, as it was known in the mid-1980s) this was the shit. I remember a Dream Syndicate show during which the video for the song "Gravity Talks" was shown between bands, and the kids sang along, jumped and pogoed around in unison, like it was Black Flag or something. I hadn’t heard the song before, but to this day it ranks as a defining college rock moment. At least that’s the way things happened in California, where the band resided (LA). You know, I won’t go too overboard on these guys, since I’m not wholly familiar with their oevre, but it’s hard to believe their immense long-running popularity in Europe (like, rock stars!) vs. their home country, where they about disappeared after this early critics’ fave stuff -- hell, I think they actually moved overseas for a while to cash it in. Green On Red’s debut EP, originally released on Steve Wynn’s Down There records, is the best thing I’d ever heard by them: shimmering, raw-edged psychedelia washed in burn-out, drunken alt-Americana. Nowhere near as countrified as they became in a few short years (like on Gas Food Lodging -- which makes it odd to me that these were the two records that got paired).There’s amazingly haunting and semi-annoying -- in the best sense of the word -- high-pitched organ squeal courtesy of Chris Cacavas -- who’s gone on to do his thing with many others, including Giant Sand -- and the fabulously grating vocals of Dan Stuart. Totally love this record, as well as the Dan Stuart/Steve Wynn album-length ode to a bender "The Lost Weekend" (check your dollar bins!). I need to get better acquainted with the two newly-reissued Green On Red LPs, as I don’t think I’ve heard them "since the 80s", ahh yes, but if I remember the talk back then, they are believed to be masterpieces. Here’s our chance to find out.