The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Spacegirl and Other Favorites

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An unholy caterwaul of feedback introduces "Crushed," the opener on Spacegirl and Other Favorites, a collection of the Brian Jonestown Massacre's first recordings originally released only on LP in a limited edition of 500. The band as it existed in 1993, just two years after forming, was already a vehicle for the twisted artistic sense of Anton Alfred Newcombe. Recorded (mostly) around the time of the group's official debut, Methodrone, most of these songs actually feature only the work of Newcombe himself, dating from a series of all-night studio experiments that proved to be his immersion in the recording process. Despite a pervading sense of amateurism (mostly in his musicianship), Newcombe does well by his Sonic Youth influence, adding in a little Velvet Underground primitivism for "That Girl Suicide" and floating off into monochrome bliss for much of the 12-minute "Spacegirl" (plus the five-minute "Spacegirl (Revisited)"). Newcombe disavows all of this material in the liner notes of the CD version, which appeared ten years afterward in a release from Newcombe himself and longtime promoter Bomp. He writes the songs off as "the studio trash of my early years" and explains that "very little thought or effort was put into any of these recordings and it shows." He's right, of course, though the combination of a little more engineering finesse and songwriting smarts from Newcombe with a little more promotion from an enterprising label could've put this record over as a worthy companion (at the time) to Mercury Rev's Yerself Is Steam. The CD issue adds six bonus tracks, including a passable Colin Blunstone impression on "After the Fall" and a demo-quality version of the promising "Hide and Seek."

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