Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our Friends from Amish Country - The Spirit Assembly Discography


Here is the download: Spirit Assembly Discography

Actually, this is not the complete discography, as supposedly there was a 7" or demo put out before the "Old Joe the Eternal" single, but I do not have that one. You can check the earlier stuff out at their myspace page hosted by their original singer: Spirit Assembly Myspace Page.

Track Listing:
1. Pop Acculturation
2. It Wasn't Me
3. Equinox
4. Ingestion
5. In Order To Visualize
6. Simple Transaction
7. Continuity Without Question
8. Nameless
9. Convention Invention
10. Self Appointed Outcast
11. Pop Acculturation
12. Manmade
13. Stain

1-3: From Old Joe The Eternal 7"
4-5: From Split 7" with Car Vs. Driver
6-13: From Welcome to Lancaster County LP

Every once in awhile I will ask Gavin from Stickfigure Records when he is going to put out the official Spirit Assembly discography, and he just laughs and tells me that Sam (the guitarist) will never send him the DAT tapes, but that otherwise he is ready to go. I finally realized that I needed to make my own discography and post it for others to enjoy before people forget what an amazing band these guys were. No matter what show they played, they would decisively steal it from every other band that played with. Duelling yelling/screaming vocals, heavy rhythmic (pretty much all rhythm) song structures, such passionate performances. These guys were the best. They could level any house or VFW hall show out there, and almost never played clubs. When we played with them in July 1995 at the Somber Reptile in Atlanta, they seemed out of place on a stage. When I saw their next band, Fields Lay Fallow a few years later, they made sure they were on the floor and never above the crowd.

They were probably our first real out of town friends when Car Vs. Driver started playing outside Atlanta. When we did the split 7" with them on Yuletide records, we were so pleased with what we had contributed to the release (You Win Sucker and Peroxide), but when we got the 7" and put on their side, it was hands down some of the best postpunk ever created. I was a little crushed at first, as Car Vs. Driver was always getting demolished by the great bands we played with, but then again I was so excited about Spirit Assembly's music, I didn't even care. I still love those songs from that split as my favorites by them.

The first time we played with them was during our Summer 1994 tour, when we played at a VFW hall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (their hometown area). I believe we booked the show with them based on a list of contacts from the guys in Hoover, but I could be wrong about this exact connection. They had only recently become a 3-piece, so I never saw them with their original lead singer, but I believe this was the lineup they were destined to have. They actually had very few songs overall - less than 13 after many years of playing and touring, versus the 41 that Car Vs. Driver wrote in only 2 years. The good thing about this was that any time you saw them, they played all the hits, which was pretty much every song they ever wrote. Also, their bassplayer Gus was the youngest guy I have ever seen that could grow a full Amish beard, it was cool and gave the band an ominent vibe.

So we played with them many times between 1994-1995, either in Pennsylvania or the southeast. I have several videos of them, and there is even a video posted on http://www.soundofindie.com/ here - Spirit Assembly in South Dakota. I think they lasted until about 1996 or so, then disbanded but started a new band called Fields Lay Fallow, which included Steve Wishart from Car Vs. Driver on bass for awhile, and their album was put out on his label Lunchbox Records. The bassplayer Gus moved to Athens, GA for a bit, and I would see him around there, but we never played music together. I should have started a band with him while he was living so close, but I was in the hal al Shedad whirlwind at that time and didn't have too much extra time for side projects (except Regicide, of course). If you look on http://www.bandtoband.com/, there are plenty of other bands started by these guys, but Fields Lay Fallow is the only one I have heard personally.

Here is the artwork for the first 7" (or the first that I have):


Here is the cover and insert from the Car Vs. Driver/Spirit Assembly split:


Here is the insert and band photos from the LP they released on Yuletide records (cover image is at the top of this post):


As an added bonus: here is their lyric sheet that they passed out at shows, remember those?

14 comments:

  1. wow, i was in a band (benchmark)that toured with these guys and frail for a bit in 1995. i remember thinking that sam seemed so old and mature compared to the rest of us on the tour, though now i realize that he couldn't have been more than 24. i also remember getting his address at our last show and there was these funny words/letters under his phone number and i had to ask what it was...turns out it was his email address. i had never heard of email before that moment. ahh, things change.

    james, i also set up the worst show of all time for hal al shedad in fort smith, arkansas at one point. it seems like it might have been new years eve? i just know that i had the flu or something and my terrible grindcore band played with you guys in a house to about 10 people that were completly indifferent to both bands. ugh.
    anyway, good to see that you are well...take care.

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  2. Hey Evan - thanks for getting in touch! Check these out:

    http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php?quickkey=duhdmjijsgd&thumb=4

    http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php?quickkey=2ytbn1xdo9p&thumb=4

    Banished from Eden rules!

    Also, that was definitely not the worst hal show, but it was weird that we played on New Year's Eve and I think the show was over by about 9:30 or so. I remember Ed's toes being bashed from playing basketball with you guys in his Sears Roebuck shoes, and basically cooking pasta and watching Cartoon Network as we rang in 1996. Playing out of town on New Year's eve is not an easy thing to do.

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  3. You can get that full Spirit Assembly video from Rapid City here:

    http://videos.rcpunkarchive.com/Spirit%20Assembly%20-%20Atomic%20Cafe.avi

    It's in Divx format, but it's great quality. 162MB of Spirit Assembly goodness.

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  4. This stuff is great.

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  5. Do you happen to have the Car Vs. Driver tracks from their split with Spirit Assembly?

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  6. I plan on posting the CVD discography soon. Gavin from Stickfigure gave me the OK, and there have been requests for the demo tracks, etc. I did post the reunion show from 1997 a while back, as well as the original demo we made in 1993, and I also have about 5 live shows I need to post. Stay tuned.

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  7. Thank you! I lent this LP out to a friend back in '96 and haven't seen it since. I've never been able to find it online until now! Thanks a ton!

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  8. so glad i found this. though, i believe they also contributed a track to the "lancastaster poo poo platter" which was a comp 7" (it featured the org 4 piece lineup).

    i would suggest checking out gus' most recent bands, tiny hawks and flaws theyre both incredible bands (especially tiny hawks) and both feature him playing drums


    also, your insert for the lp is totally different from mine

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  9. lgepfer@gmail.comMay 31, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    micah, what does your insert look like. i have seen a few of these around and all the inserts i have seen look like this. i'm kind of stoked if there is some kind of variant insert out there somewhere.

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  10. Old friend of Sam's, thought I'd have a look where he might be these days...and am quite happy to see this page. He was one of the first people I met who was actually in a band, lots of history. There is another 7" titled "Fruit of Hate," it's Motherbox Records No.1 clear vinyl 2 songs (A: Mouse holes B:Deteriornation), yes I had to dig through my records to pull that one up. Think there were 2 demo tapes, maybe one is live stuff? First one had no cover, the second side of the tape had a really funny and "bad" early practice (Hendrix's "Fire" anyone?) that I don't think Sam remembered was on there when he gave me the tape. I know another tape had a cover of green paper...both are in a box at mum's house in Lancaster C. I'm on the other side of the island...will see if I can get some recordings available eventually, or maybe they are already on Larry's myspace page...cheers, FW.

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  11. Hey FW - I heard some of the older Spirit Assembly stuff on the Myspace page. Great stuff, although my association with them begins at the Old Joe 7", which is classic to me. I love all the music they made over the years, and they would definitely be a band I would travel far and wide to see again. Thanks for the history!

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  12. I came across this because I *needed* to hear Peroxide today, and though I didn't find it here, I'm happy to see this big post about Spirit Assembly. I got to see them a couple of times, (with Crownhate Ruin at LaSalle and with Frail at 924 Gilman) and then also Fields Like/Lay Fallow later. Spirit Assembly really blew me away, just as you described; they were so powerful and urgent. Sam seemed to be one of the kindest and most sincere people I met through music around Philadelphia back then. At the Fields Like Fallow show, the venue changed at the last minute, and he offered me a ride in their van to the new place. I ran into him and Julie in Trader Joe's years later, and he was working as a teacher, which seemed to make sense.
    Unfortunately I never saw Car Vs. Driver, but I'm glad to find your blog.

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    1. Hi Marlon, I plan on posting the Car vs. Driver discography soon (of course I also said this three years ago), but the CD is almost in the black - Gavin said that he needs to sell about twenty more to make his money back, so I figure it is a good of a time as any to post it. I'm sure you could find it somewhere out there if you really needed it. Yes, we need more bands like Spirit Assembly and Sam/Gus around, they were the best.

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  13. james! do you have the Floodgate Troubles A Brewin' 12" ? i've wanted to hear it for so long.

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