The official Space City Rock Blog, featuring news on local Houston musical happenings and occurances, random venting about various things, and fervent ravings on the wonders of music, art, film, and anything else.
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Steel Pole Bath Tub Rides Again (In Video Game Ads) [11/24/2008 11:45:00 PM]:
Back when I was a wee DJ at KTRU, I ended up hearing a ton of stuff that sounded raw as hell to my relatively-untainted ears. I was reading a shitload of cyberpunk back then, digging up every two-bit Gibson/Sterling clone I could find, and I realized pretty quickly that this music I was hearing felt a lot more akin to the chrome-and-dirt novels I was devouring than, say, anything that was then on the mainstream radio or MTV. The early '90s was a good, good time for noisy-as-fuck rock, and I still crack open my copy of the venerated Mesomorph Enduros comp and throw my mind back. Those were good times.
Along with folks like Cop Shoot Cop, Barkmarket, and Foetus, one of my all-time favorite bands was Bozeman-by-way-of-SF band Steel Pole Bath Tub (the link's just a fan Myspace, btw; the band's "official" site doesn't seem to work). The band's The Miracle Of Sound In Motion full-length was/is fucking jaw-droppingly brilliant, all snarling, spitting vocals, quasi-espionage themes, scraping/brawling guitars, and pounding drums -- it's still awesomely claustrophobic and nerve-jangling, even now, from the dangerous fucked-up surf-rock roar of "Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride" on through the art-damaged cover of The Pogues' "Down All The Days" to the tense, off-the-tracks rhythm of "Train to Miami". Brutal, loud, crazed, surf-y stuff with tons of obscure, murky that deserved all the acclaim in the universe.
Sadly, it didn't get it. SPBT went on to put out two more EPs, a full-length, and a live album before falling prey to the bad judgement of their record label, Slash Records. According to the band's Wikipedia entry, they'd wanted to put out their own version of the first Cars album, song for song, but the recordings they made were scrapped by the label & weren't released 'til 2001 as Unlistenable. (Hrm. May have to try to track that down...)
Anyway, by then my own musical tastes had moved on, ranging more into indie-rock, dreampop, emo, hardcore, all that crap. I pretty much forgot, I'm embarrassed to say, about Steel Pole Bath Tub. 'Til the other night, anyway. While watching Ghost Hunters with some friends (our weekly Wed. night ritual), I was idly half-watching an ad for some new zombie video game, Left 4 Dead, when the hammering drums and repeated, rising chorus of "These are my friends now / these are my friends now" caught hold in my subconscious.
Holy fucking shit. Fifteen fucking years after the album was released, back when I was in college, wasn't married, didn't own a house, didn't have a kid, and now some genius ad agency guy (who was a fan back in '93 like me? maybe?) decided "Train to Miami" was the perfect soundtrack for the new game commercial his company wanted to peddle. I can't completely explain why, but this makes me weirdly, freakishly happy. Sure, the band may be toast (although I hear they got together for a reunion show back in '02), but hell, maybe they were just too far ahead of their time, y'know?
Obviously, after freaking out and unnerving my friends by yelling excitedly about some band they'd never heard of, I had to break out my old, long-forgotten copy of Miracle. And yes, "Train to Miami" is still an awesome, intense song (as are the rest, of course). Check it here:
(If anybody has any objections to me posting this, just let me know; not trying to step any toes, just wanting to unearth a lost noise-rock gem for the world to enjoy...)
Oh, and while the band never made any videos that I can find, a guy named Drew Gordon's apparently been making his own videos for all the band's best songs & putting 'em on YouTube. They're all similar, sorta backwards-run footage of cars driving, but still kinda cool. Here's the one for "Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride":
Glad to see y'all are back, guys. Reunion tour? Please? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, & all that...