Truth be told, I think SACCHARINE TRUST were sort of also-rans in the early 80s Los Angeles rock scene, which produced so many incredible bands that it made Sac Trust, a fine combo, maybe the 47th most important band of the “scene”. But they certainly had their moments. Early on, on comp tracks like this one and on their debut “Pagan Icons” EP, the band played a great angry, off-tempo artpunk with really frothing, weird-guy-rants-n-raves vocals from Jack Brewer. You can totally see how it attracted the attention of Greg Ginn and the SST crew, and Saccharine Trust were one of the very first bands to be signed to that label. I can remember back to when the only non-Black Flag records in SST’s catalog were Minutemen, Stains and Saccharine Trust records, along with 45s from Overkill and Wurm. Later, Saccharine Trust went sideways with a sort of mutant, art-damaged punk jazz, with some improv flourishes. Only their second album. “Surviving You, Always” really did it for me during this era, and only then on a few tracks like the excellent “Cat Cracker”. After that LP they went off into the freakzone, like so many of the SST peers, and I stopped paying any sort of attention, as did everyone else not named Dave Lang (with all due respect!).
One classic scorcher of theirs was “Hearts and Barbarians”, released on the “CRACKS IN THE SIDEWALK” 45rpm EP comp put out by Mike Watt’s New Alliance records in 1980. I love the hardcore punk tempo but the restrained vocals, the snaky guitar line, and the general sense of evil and/or loss in this one. They had a couple others this smoking, but not many. See what you think by playing or downloading it below.
Play or Download SACCHARINE TRUST – “Hearts and Barbarians” (from “Cracks In The Sidewalk” compilation EP)