Friday, April 13, 2007


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)


Anonymous said...

Can someone please, PLEASE explain to me (in simple words I can understand) what the hell was ever wrong with THE FREAKZONE? It's where I wanna go live in, forever.

Yes: early Sac Trust was great. But so was mid-period ST, not to mention their later-day (i.e. 90's/2000s) stuff. And the older I get, the less I can distinguish which period was better/superior. All I know: Brewer + Baiza = transcendence. Always.

Anonymous said...

wow....that's actually the only Saccharine Trust song that I remember!
Crazy jam, bro.

Anonymous said...

Now come on, Jay, there are at least 6 or 7 other people who love late-period Saccharine Trust, and I could probably name every single one of them.

For the record: Jack Brewer has a new band going w/ Greg Ginn called The Perfect Rat, who have an album coming out soon on Spain's Alone Records, plus Sacc' Trust are still playing and recording, and the MP3s Jack Brewer sent me a while back of their new songs are HOT, HOT, HOT. If I play my cards right, he might still let me release them on Lexicon Devil.

By the way, "We Became Snakes", from 1986, is the best ST there is, way into the "freakzone", wherever that may be.

- Dave Lang

Anonymous said...

There are 2 CD's (I just picked up one) of a newish band/collective called The Master's Voice featuring Baiza, Watt, Hurley, Pettibon, Brewer and another vocalist. It features Beat inspired wordfug over sick jazzpunk jams. I'd recommend it and will be picking up the CD I didn't get pronto. Where you been at? Racida? Pax, PhilthyRex

Anonymous said...

To me Saccharine Trust have a great band name. And I want to like them a lot and I do like the first album a lot. But improvising an album has gotta be a mistake for anybody! Improvise a tape maybe but not an album. To me S.T. defy the important statement Fear made about Saxophones. They brought them to L.A. and it was not okay.

Anonymous said...

They were drunks.

Unknown said...

Drunks? Ha, ha. Very funny!