End of the Trail

Costes’ End of the Trail is a Lost in the Grooves exclusive. Click to sample the music or purchase.

End of the Trail
(Self-released, 1992)

Costes is the ultimate DIY rocker of the French Underground. He’s vile, prolific, poignant, crazy, unlistenable, pop. End of the Trail is the seventh of his releases and his third album to be recorded in English. While some would argue that Lung Farts is an equal masterpiece, End is a nineteen-song homage to his breakup with indie icon Lisa Suckdog Carver, and a more moving love letter has never been recorded. Splatters of filth and sonic mess hide the sentimentality, but the beauty shines through, triumphantly sad beneath layers of disgust and ugly noise. A classical sonnet will dissolve into layered muddle punctuated by overblown vocals, only to be reduced a moment later to a vulnerable whimper as a multitude of schizophrenic emotions battle for dominance. Costes plays, sings, manipulates, produces and destroys every track in utter solitude, shining through on borderline narcissistic tracks like “King of Rock’N Roll, Sort Of” and “I Don’t Want to Be a Souvenir on a CD Player.” His music is from necessity; he cannot help himself. It is the document of modern humanity as representative of his era’s id as Gainsbourg was of his.

Lauded by the likes of Thurston Moore and the odd rock journalist, Costes remains virtually unknown, even in his own country, a special gem without genre. (Costes has claimed Daniel Johnston and GG Allin as musical kin, though he resembles neither.) He has been shunned, sued and attacked for his uncompromisingly viscous aesthetic. Still, at the time of this writing he has over thirty recordings to his credit and he shows no signs of slowing. (Bengala)