Yeah, I should probably be beaten badly and left in an alley to think about what I did for making that pun, but trust me; The Escatones' "Out of Sight/East Beach Stomp" is indeed worth the price of the 45 record.
The Escatones are usually described in conjunction with their jangling surf guitars and psychedelic approach to things. Comparisons to the 13th Floor Elevators and Dick Dale usually come up, and I can see that. However, "Out of Sight" brings me back to my absolute favorite subgenre of alternative music, the '90s who-gives-a-shit desolation bands.
I'll explain. Back in the '90s you had bands like The Dandy Warhols releasing songs like "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth." The approach was always loud and painful, but at the same time kind of gleeful. Or take Sponge's Wax Ecstatic album. That is some hopeless but high-as-balls stuff, and that's the best way I can describe "Out of Sight." Hopeless, but tripping absolute pennies.
Set over a drumbeat that plods like a prisoner on death march, Connor Purcell wails an ode to a floozy woman hiding from her problems in life. The main pop part of the song is a solid, if depressing, tune, but it's in the bridge that the true genius of the song really comes to amazing life.
"On that one I play guitar and Connor plays bass," says JT Popiel via e-mail. "We haven't played that one live in a while because my guitar soloing has been getting worse and worse. Lol. Artificial Head Records asked Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers) if he would play guitar on a track, and when he said yes, I thought 'Out of Sight' would be perfect and I would be happy to let him have my solo.
"But when he gave it back to us during the part that should have been a solo, it was still pretty open, with him making a bunch of rad noise. Then me and Connor both laid some guitar on it and it turned into something different and rad."
Rad it is indeed. It's an emotional duel of guitar noises that manages to call to mind that wonderful dark moment when you're drinking and you know you just passed the point where you will cease to remember any further actions that take place between that point and passing out. The solo...bridge...whatever you want to call it, it manages to achieve an almost orchestral brilliance.
Honestly, "East Beach Stomp" just isn't cut from the same cloth as its predecessor. It's rayon to the silk of "Out of Sight." Not that the instrumental is bad. It's just that it isn't anything any band even vaguely versed in surf-rock could've pulled off. I wish that The Escatones had saved something a bit more amazing to complement what is really a terrific A-side. Instead, it feels more like filler.
Still, don't let that distract you from heading out to the show to pick up the 45. You get at least five minutes of pure wasteland sex music and The Escatones live is reported to be a killer thing to see.
The Escatones play 9 p.m. Saturday, January 5, at Rudyard's with Poor Pilate and The Linus Pauling Quartet, and do a 3 p.m. Cactus Music in-store.
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