Best of Suckdog (Drugs are Nice/Rape GG)

Best of Suckdog (a compilation of tracks from Drugs are Nice/Rape GG) is a Lost in the Groove exclusive. Click to sample the music or purchase.

Drugs are Nice
(self-released, 1989)
Forget the hilarious GTOs. Forget even the mighty Shaggs. Suckdog (which isn’t really a band on this record, just a gathering of drug-addled friends conducted like an alley-cat orchestra by Lisa “Suckdog” Carver and her friend Rachel Johnson) captures adolescent female adrenaline-fueled angst and aggression like no recording artist I’ve heard before or since.

This is not a record for the squeamish; in fact, I have used it myself (in one of my most prankish moments) to disturb and annoy random passersby by shooting its screams and hoots down to street level from a safe rooftop perch (dare I say “sonic terrorism”?). If you want to hear the raw, primal energy of raging puberty, you won’t get any closer than this LP. It manages to create a sonic landscape which is scary, funny, outrageous, and poignant all at the same time, much as Ms. Carver’s later output in the small press world (which includes Rollerderby magazine and several underappreciated books) did with words and images.

It is not by mere happenstance that Spin magazine proclaimed this record “one of the top hundred records of the eighties.” Drugs are Nice certainly changed my life, as did seeing Ms. Carver perform a semi-nude roller skating opera with minimalist indie-rocker Bill “Smog” Callahan and French noise guru Costes in 1990. What makes the world of Suckdog work so well is that it never descends into pretension, or anything other than pure geeky life in its most frightening, silly, ridiculous extremes. And that, for me, is the best kind of art. (Russ Forster)

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)