Bush Tetras – Rhythm and Paranoia: The Best of Bush Tetras

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When Bush grouse drummer Dee Pop passed away suddenly in October, plans were already well advanced for this career-long retrospective. Confirming that they were moving forward, the band members Pat Place and Cynthia sley noted that much of what went into RRhythm And Paranoia came from Pop’s own collection: the most passionate historian of the group, he kept an archive of their recordings and provided numerous leaflets and photos reproduced in an accompanying book.

Formed in 1979, Bush grouse emerged from the no-wave scene in New York: they were contemporaries of Lydie lunch and the lively youth, and Place had played guitar in contortions. They split a few years later with three 7 “singles and an EP, produced by Topper Headon of Shock, in their name. Temporarily reformed at the end of the 1990s, they published beauty lies, their first album, and recorded another which, victim of the sale of polygram, was put on ice until 2012. They have met sporadically since, initially raising funds when ill health forced the original bassist Laura Kennedy to leave the band and later, after his death, to record a pair of new EPs.

Rhythm and paranoia follows each incarnation of the group, from the first single “Too many crawlers” to 2019 “There is a buzz”. The first, perhaps their most famous piece, could have been written last week, Sley’s opening song of “I Don’t Want to Go Out on the Streets Again,” a disheartening precursor to the latest wave of militarized misogyny and debates about women’s safety. The song is greeted by a new generation of punks in a series of “micro-essays” that accompany the box set: Victoria ruiz, by Sub Pop’s Downtown boys, describes his repetitive refrain “this is the worst” as “both a sword and a shield” in the way it rages and asserts – the same could be said of Places shredded riff and Pop’s propellant drums.

Presented chronologically, the collection shows a group in constant evolution, but never unrecognizable. The first B sides “Snake ramp” and “Drunk punch” Avoid melody while remaining irresistible earworms thanks to the infectious grooves of Pop, an emphasis on rhythm which in the 1981s Rituals EP, chains Talking heads and The B-52 (chuckles Sley, “you can’t be funky if you don’t have a soul”). Although a muddy live cover of John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey”, taken from a Stiff Records compilation, is probably reserved for suits.

But elsewhere among the rarities are real goodies, including an alternate version of beauty lies Track “Mister love song”, from Pop’s own archives. The drummer’s favorite take is as raw and brutal as their best, but with soulful vocals from Darlene Amour and Nona hendryx of The beautiful, the producer of the album. This is just an example
of Bush grouse ‘ determination to do things their way.


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