Not as dark or as angular as Chrome, or as blatantly Birthday Party-worshiping as the Bellmer Dolls, sadly-defunct San Francisco trio Pleasure Forever whipped up a thrillingly tense amalgam of lush, theatrical glam (thanks to bouyant underpinnings of piano and violin) and guitar-lashed despair. (It helped that, song after song, Reznor-alike singer Andrew Rothbard brought himself to an exhaustive edge of hysteria.) The music, too, was desperate and haunted, constantly threatening a kind of emotional overload. With music this endlessly taut and lyrics this overheated and vulnerable, it’s a bit mystifying why the band didn’t find a greater success than they did. I once saw them open for Savage Republic, and they tore the roof off the place. They’re long overdue for reassessment.
The band released two Sub Pop albums —a self-titled disc in 2001 and Alter in 2003— and called it quits some time after. The reconvened this year to finish off a between-albums covers EP, which has now been appended with four additional rare cuts and released as Bodies Need Rest [Conspiracy].
I’m off to Montreal for the weekend to see the Nihilist Spasm Band (“spasm band” being a term for a group that makes their own instruments —Neptune and Turkish Delight would also qualify) play theSuoni Per Il Popolo (Sounds of the People) Festival (which also includes performances by David Kristian, the Ex + Rhythm Activism, Charalambides, and the afromentioned Jandek) on Saturday the 16th. Jon Whitney (Brainwashed) DJs between sets. Don’t miss it if you’re in the area!
Alas, that means I’m going to miss Jeffrey Alexander’s birthday party on Friday night at downtown Providence’s own AS220. Venerable psych-folk duo Charalambides headline a bill that also includes Bronhard/Going/Public, GHQ, Blue Shift, Work/Death, Madagascar and Siege Engine. Go on down Friday night and toast Jeffrey on me.
Pleasure Forever, “The Bars” (from Bodies Need Rest)
Pleasure Forever, “This Is The Zodiac Speaking” (from their final Sub Pop album,Alter)