10
Aug 03

SIX FINGER SATELLITE — ‘Save the Last Dance for Larry’

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People who think like I think are certain that the songs on a compilation with ‘post-punk’ in the title should be from the late ’70s or the early ’80s. Most of the songs on Rough Trade Shops Post Punk 01 fit into that frame of time, and then there is a small batch of inclusions from the late ’90s and early ’00s sprinkled here and there. On one hand, Rough Trade was smart to bundle the ’70s/’80s groups together with active ones that have taken several cues from that era; it’s timely and works as a cash cow oops crash course for younger Rapture fans. On the other hand is my head, because there is an itch that needs to be scratched: There is a big hole in time, a breach in the bloodline, between the ’80s and the late ’90s, that goes unrepresented. A skim through the liner notes — words like post-rock and Oasis stick out — confirms that the hole was caused by a blind spot.

Was there not a series of bands from this hole that laid part of the foundation for the latest post-punk rebirth? Of course. This series of bands had names — Dog Faced Hermans, Trenchmouth, Brainiac – that were just as ridiculous as those from the original era, and people used a similar list of adjectives — jagged, angular, disjointed, off-kilter, herkyjerky, etc. — to describe their music.

Six Finger Satellite was another group that existed during the hole. In fact, you could fit their entire existence into the hole. ‘Save the Last Dance for Larry’ would have fit nicely on Post Punk 01 between James White & the Blacks’ ‘Contort Yourself’ and World Domination Enterprises’ ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos.’ Or it could’ve replaced DNA’s ‘You and You’ to fall snugly between PiL’s ‘Careering’ and Life Without Buildings’ ‘The Leanover.’ Abrupt psssoup-psssoup rhythms broken up by stop-start dynamics; cranky vocals with a concise, chanted refrain; a near absence of melody; a break-down where the loping bass bobs along and the darting guitars that slashed elsewhere act like alarms’ this description could be used for dozens of other songs, several of which were made during a time that Post Punk 01 forgot.

(Taking sides: revivals vs. waves vs. continuums)

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