Band Of Susans

The cheapest prices on the hottest Band Of Susans cds, cassettes and vinyl records

In the early to mid 1980s, Poss studied under the tutelage of avant-garde guitar ensemble composer Rhys Chatham, and played in the bands Tot Rocket and Western Eyes. Taking their name from the number of Susans then in the lineup, Band of Susans released the 12" EP Blessing And Curse on Poss's own Trace Elements label. A record-release party (also said to be the band's first-ever live gig) was held at NYC's The Love Club on January 31, 1987; BoS were the opening act for a band called Das Furlines. They were soon signed to the avant-garde Blast First imprint of UK record label Mute Records.
After the release of debut album Hope Against Hope, Rogers, Lyall and Tallman quit, and were replaced by Karen Haglof (guitar) and Page Hamilton (guitar). This lineup recorded the album Love Agenda and a Peel Sessions EP, which featured a cover of Gang Of Four's "I Found That Essence Rare." The two new guitarists then quit, with Hamilton quickly forming the more metal-influenced Helmet. Anne Husick (guitar) and Mark Lonergan (guitar) then joined BoS, yielding the band's "classic lineup" which made three more albums and one EP, all on Restless Records.

As their history of having eight guitarists in all (and never less than three at any given time) attests, Band of Susans were a heavily guitar-centric outfit. They are generally included in New York City's abrasive post-No Wave scene which produced Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, Live Skull, and Swans. They generally used G&L brand guitars (which appear on several of the band's album covers), Fender Jazzmasters, and Park (a budget brand made by Marshall) amplifiers. G&L owner Leo Fender was an avowed fan of the band and later befriended Poss. Musically, Band Of Susans organised their three guitarists into providing an overwhelming wall of feedback and guitar noise layered atop more conventional song structures. Due to their love of atmospheric textures, the band is often considered a peripheral member of the shoegaze movement, though they had a more abrasive sound closer to that of their New York contemporaries than most of the primarily-British bands of the shoegaze genre. Like shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Band of Susans were notorious for playing live at extremely high volumes in order to recreate the visceral impact of their studio albums. Despite Band of Susans's experimental leanings, Poss was a big fan of The Rolling Stones, which was later manifest in covers of the Stones' songs "Child Of The Moon" and "Paint It Black."

Band of Suans - The cheapest prices on the hottest Band Of Susans cds, cassettes and vinyl records

Band of Susans toured the U.S. and Europe sporadically. They are known to have played with bands such as Live Skull, Butthole Surfers, Wire, Rollins Band, Smegma, Das Furlines, and Lovely. During the band's final U.S. and European tours, Jay Braun (who formed the Negatones shortly thereafter) filled in for Lonergan and Kelly Burns filled in for Ron Spitzer. Band of Susans also performed, with Rhys Chatham as a warmup "group," at The Kitchen on 19th Street, in the early '80s (perhaps 1981-82) as part of a "performance art" piece. A year or so afterward, they performed at CBGB, although not with the original lineup, with the exception of Susan Stenger, Robert Poss, and possibly Karen Hagloff.

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After the dissolution of the band in late 1996, Poss and Stenger performed with Bruce Gilbert of Wire as gilbertpossstenger; one album was released under this moniker. Stenger and Poss have also worked extensively with composer Phill Niblock. Poss has concentrated on production and solo work, whilst Stenger played live with The Creatures for a period, and worked with Nick Cave, John Cale and Alan Vega (Suicide) among others. She has an electric bass ensemble, Big Bottom, and has collaborated with choreographer Michael Clark, author Iain Sinclair and visual artist Cerith Wyn Evans. Her 96-day musical installation, Soundtrack For An Exhibition, opened at Le Musée d'Art Contemporain in Lyon, France on March 7, 2006, and includes contributions from Robert Poss, Alan Vega, Alexander Hacke, Kim Gordon, Mika Vainio, Ulrich Krieger and Jennifer Hoyston among others. Poss released a pair of solo albums, "Distortion Is Truth" and "Crossing Casco Bay" in 2002, has done music for choreographers Alexandra Beller, Sally Gross and Gerald Casel and has engineered CDs by Seth Josel and Phill Niblock; he has also worked in collaboration with Ben Neill and David Dramm. In April 2009 he performed as part of Rhys Chatham's ensemble at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibit "Downtown Comes Uptown: The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984"

Band Of Susans - Now - CD on Restless Records
Band Of Susans - Now - CD on Restless Records

Favoring chaotic squalls of guitar noise and avant textures over the dynamics of conventional songcraft, the New York-based Band of Susans formed in 1986 around the core duo of singers/songwriters Robert Poss and Susan Stenger, longtime friends who reunited only after pursuing dramatically different musical paths: while Poss became a fixture on the N.Y.C. punk scene in the Clash-inspired Tot Rocket before joing Rhys Chatham's guitar ensemble, Stenger relocated to Prague, where she studied the theories of John Cage. Originally, Band of Susans featured Poss on lead guitar and Stenger on bass, rounded out by guitarists Susan Tallman and Susan Lyall (hence the outfit's name) and drummer Ron Spitzer; four months after forming, they issued their debut EP, Blessing and Curse.

In 1988, Band of Susans released their first full-length album, Hope Against Hope; both Tallman and Lyall departed soon after, and were replaced by Page Hamilton (a former student of Glenn Branca, a frequent Susans reference point) and Karen Haglof. After 1989's Love Agenda, Hamilton too left the group to found Helmet; he was replaced by Mark Lonergan, and following Haglof's exit, Anne Husick stepped in for 1991's The Word and the Flesh, which employed a more focused attack, typified by a lesser emphasis on reverb and feedback, to arrive at a more accessible sound.

Without the usual attendant line-up changes, Band of Susans issued 1993's dense, droning Veil, followed two years later by Here Comes Success, a uniformly strong collection of lengthy pieces including the instrumental "In the Eye of the Beholder (Song for Rhys)," a tribute to Poss' mentor. In mid-1996, Band of Susans dissolved, although Stenger and Poss continued working with Wire's Bruce Gilbert in the trio GilbertPossStenger in addition to mounting other projects.

Band Of Suans - Veil - CD on Restless Records

The fourth full-length from Band of Susans is their most assured to date. Perhaps not as immediately compelling as The Word and the Flesh, the band members are nonetheless at the top of their game, expanding the margins of their sound. Whereas the last album was focused on songcraft, here the compositions reign. The band is no longer content to let the guitars drone with feral ferocity, instead exploring greater use of dynamics, dissonance, and interplay. Far more experimental in approach than their previous albums, the rewards are revealed with repeated listening as the complexity of the songs' interior structures becomes more transparent. For example, "Mood Swings" begins with a lean-to of stereo call and return guitar lines before the throbbing bass and drums come in with the foundation and the song swells, becoming a storm with flashes of guitar audible within the squall. At the break, the guitars drop out, and after several measures of choppy rhythm, the storm returns. This intermingling of intermittent sounds and effects is made even more effective by expanding the palette beyond a melodic crush of guitar to include individual dissonant and minor chords that bring all three guitars into bas-relief. The lyrics are often lost, like a lone figure in a field beneath a thundering, searing cloud of sound, with only the refrain echoing softly. This is no great loss, as the sheer muscular musical virtuosity of this album requires few words.