Struggling Electric & Chemical
From the opening notes of “The Revenge of Cruiser Gurner” even the cachet of being released on two of the 90’s hippest record labels, Washington’s Teenbeat and New York’s Matador, couldn’t prevent comparisons between the Dustdevils and Sonic Youth.
As part of the second wave of NYC dissonance bands
the Devils developed naturally and independently — they just had the misfortune to customize, expand upon and modify some of the same no wave-and Glenn Branca-derived themes that were SY hallmarks.
The group’s (British guitarist Michael Duane and Australian vocalist/guitarist Jaqi Dulany) earliest works, Seeds in the Spoil and Rhenyards Grin showed promise both also managed to dance around the edges of goth pop.
By the time that Struggling Electric & Chemical is recorded Jaqi’s voice is totally shot (she speaks hoarsely rather than sings). Besides Michael Duane and Jaqi the band now includes future Pavement bassist Mark Ibold and drummer Rick Nance.
The album may be imbued with the ghost of Sonic Youth, but starting off with a lengthy Fall cover, “Hip Priest,” from The Hex Enduction Hour
is a gutsy way to begin an album,
long-overdue interpretation of the Fall’s “Hip Priest” swings with feedback and slop.
The band as a whole aims for the messily epic and charging and generally hit the mark on numbers like the anthemic intro to “Throw the Bottle Full” and the boiling coda of “The Revenge of Cruiser Gurner.”
After Struggling Electric & Chemical the band’s future efforts are marred by almost constant personnel turnover. Between 1990 and 1993
Circle X/Loudspeaker drummer Martin Köb, eventual Ui head Sasha Frere-Jones, Wider leader (and Glenn Branca sideman) Dave Reid, Matador co-honcho Gerard Cosloy, and Uncle Wiggly/Fly Ashtray guitarist James Kavoussi
will all spend time in the band. When Jaqi leaves the country both Jackie Nemitz (ex-STP) and Jon Easley (ex-Sorry, Crown Heights), briefly replace her as frontperson.
She returned for Extant but following another falling out with Dulany in the mid-1990s she left the country to form the UK band Cha Cha Cohen with Keith Gregory (ex-Wedding Present).
Rhenyards Grin (LP) (Rouska) 1987
Seeds In The Spoil (12″) (Rouska) 1987
The Dropping Well (12″) (Rouska) 1987
Gutter Light (Cass, LP ) (Rouska) 1988
Rhenyards Grin (Cass) (Rouska) 1988
… Is Big Leggy (7″ EP) 1989
Geek Dip (12″) (Matador) 1990
Struggling Electric & Chemical (CD) (Teen Beat, Matador) 1990
Extant (CD) (Matador) 1996
Tracks Appear On:
“False Dawn” Profane 9 (10″) (Rouska) 1986
“Seeds In The Spoil”, “The Lost Divide” Zarah Leander’s Greatest Hits (CD) (Rouska) 1987
“Losing Ground”, “Whim Of Iron” Rouska’s Dollar Cacophony (LP) (Rouska) 1988
“Throw The Bottle Full” New York Eye And Ear Control (CD , LP) (Matador) 1990
“Seen Heat” Wakefield. The TeenBeat Boxed Set (4xCD) (Teenbeat) 1995
“Seen Heat” Wakefield/The Teenbeat Story/Vol. 3/1986-1995 Superstars On Forty-Five (CD) (Teenbeat) 1995
DUSTdevils – Struggling Electric & Chemical (1990)
Playing Time: 44 minutes 50 seconds
1. Hip Priest (10:34)
2. The Revenge Of Cruiser Gurner (4:25)
3. Feet Head High (2:47)
4. When Gravity Hits (3:33)
5. Head Of Kurtz (2:14)
6. Love You Like A Rock (3:11)
7. Neck Surf – NC (3:54)
8. Throw The Bottlefull (2:59)
9. Free Born Man (2:26)
10. Slope (4:55)
11. They Do Not Sleep 8 Hrs. A Night (3:52)
Buy Struggling Electric & Chemical from Teenbeat
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