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.
1. Pop Acculturation
2. It Wasn't Me
5. In Order To Visualize
6. Simple Transaction
7. Continuity Without Question
9. Convention Invention
10. Self Appointed Outcast
11. Pop Acculturation
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?