Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Atlanta Singles Week 26 - At the Price of the Union/Some Soviet Station Split

Here are the two songs from the split 7": At the Price of the Union/Some Soviet Station

I have a large stack of classic singles put out by Atlanta bands over the years, and I am trying to keep a regular post going each week to showcase these records. This is planned for every Monday, but I already missed the first one, so we'll just have to see how well I can keep to my schedule. Let me know if you have any requests for old 7"s that you haven't heard for a long time, or would like MP3s made, as I might have them.

The first single in my stack was the split 7" on Buddy System Records (our friends in Brooklyn who helped put out the hal al Shedad records), with Atlanta/Athens bands At the Price of the Union and Some Soviet Station. At the Price of the Union consisted of Craig Dempsey from Lowboy and The 42 on guitar as well as Josh Lott on drums and Luke Gilbert on bass. They were a power trio in the vein of Hoover (you can tell they were big fans) but with a slightly more Ebullition-style hardcore thrown in. Craig is one hell of a guitarist, and the band could ride that deep bass postpunk groove like there was no tomorrow. One interesting thing is that Josh as a drummer plays right-handed, but with his left hand on the hi-hat and right hand on the snare, like Doug Scharin in June of 44 and Codeine and also coincidentally Francis Jensen from The 42. Playing drums like that is strange, normally as a right-handed drummer you hit the snare drum with your left hand and kick drum with your right foot, producing a natural side to side "dancing" motion. With Josh's style of drumming, you have a much more up and down motion without the swaying, and my main concern with this method is that you may lose the natural rhythm of your body when keeping a beat. Fortunately Josh didn't have this problem, and as an advantage, his right hand was free when it wasn't hitting the snare, so he could do a lot more tom work in the songs. Luke is also a natural groove-oriented bassman, and fits Craig's style perfectly. They are so matched together, it's like one guitar unit that cannot be separated. Chocolate Kiss played with them a few times, and I have to say they would put on one hell of a show. They lived in Athens, but was not really considered an Athens band as all three members originally came from Stockbridge (south of Atlanta), and we had known them for so long. They also played Atlanta all the time, not like some other Athens bands that never play the big city. Other than this split 7", they came out with a 5-song CD on Buddy System, which also had a plane on the cover. There was something with them and airplane/military imagery, it was cool. "Shifting" is also a great song, as should be when doing a split 7" with another band. The band didn't last much longer after their CD came out, and Josh went on to play with the string-guys in Some Soviet Station under the name Paper Lions. Craig and Luke went on to form Thoroughbred and released a single a few years ago, and still jam together but I believe no current bands at this time. Josh later played in a band called Teenage Meth Lab with Justin from Some Soviet Station, and now is the drummer for Elf Power.

Some Soviet Station was of course a powerhouse in their own right. They were like taking Drive Like Jehu and making them a band on Dischord Records, and you got an idea of how the did their business. Jesse Smith (ex-Kossabone Red) is a great frontman, Lee Corum (ex-Chapterhall) is one of the great drummers of our town - a real drummer's drummer, Justin Snyder and Chris McNeal held their own in respective duties, especially in Chris' backup vocals. They also used a lot of airplane imagery in their band, which also seemed to work with their sound somehow. Their song "Pistol-Whipped" was a hit single of theirs, with some of the strangest lyrics for this type of music. Click on the insert below to check them out. These guys got pretty popular, but after their full-length came out on Moodswing Records they somehow fizzled. Jesse now fronts the band Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, and they just released an LP on Douchemaster Records. Lee has been playing in many bands over the years, including Copa Vance, Home of the Wildcats and most recently Lay Down Mains, which is about to release their full-length on Moodswing Records.

Definitely good "turn of the century" stuff here.


  1. That was the first Some Soviet Station song we wrote. We wrote that in my parents' basement. It's weird because it just came together so easily but stylistically it was so removed from anything any of us had ever done before. I remember we all thought the idea of the long drunken Southern rock jam toward the end was ridiculous and we just kept laughing about it. We really took a chance with that shit, but it somehow fits into the song. I just HAD to put the "stinger" at the end!! I actually prefer this version to the one on the LP; it's faster and has more energy and it's way more raw. - Lee

  2. It's such a great feeling when you start a new band and the first song is so amazing. I had that feeling with Car Vs. Driver, although we never recorded the song and probably even dropped it before we played our first show, but at the time I was really inspired by it and knew the band was onto something. I would say that if your first song with a new band is kind of a clunker, then it's probably not a good fit and the band is not going to last. What similar experiences has everyone else had?