The 80’s regularly gets a bad rap when it comes to music. And I suppose there are a slew of easy targets to hold up in support of that view. But man, it was a super freaking great time for american rock bands. Whether it was punk or jangle pop or a new jag of psych pop or damaged art rock or sludgy grunge or just the simple joyousness of bands like the Replacements or Soul Asylum playing actual rock and roll music, I absorbed it all. Or at least tried, as I often struggled to connect with much of what New Alliance released post D. Boon’s death (New Alliance was founded and run by the Minutemen).
Once the remaining Minutemen sold the imprint to SST’s Greg Ginn, who was already distributing the band’s records, New Alliance more or less became the home for Ginn’s more, ummm, adventurous releases. And part of the roster featured a handful of SF Bay Area post-punk bands that had the abiity to kick up a din. That is, if you could hear the din through the din. Slovenly, which was started by Saccharine Trust drummer Rob Holzman, fit that bill.
You see, I know so little about Sovenly that I didn’t even realize the band was put together by a Saccharine Trust dude. But yeah, that makes so much sense. There’s definitely a lineage there, that of artfully arranged and aggressively played heavy rock with a heathy dose of noise. It’s the space were metal, jazz, prog and punk intersect. And it can alternately be a very beautiful or somewhat frightening place to spend time.
“Even So” was Slovenly’s 1984 four-song debut on New Alliance, and came out almost a year before the band’s debut full-length. Again, I don’t know the band and it was kinda hard even finding some references. I mean, no mention of it from Trouser Press? Yet All Music Guide actually has a short write-up about it? (Final sentence – “Mid-’80s avant-garde art punk seldom sounded this fun.”). But I did learn enough to know it’s fairly rare. Word. Oh, don’t think I mentioned it is sealed. It is. Great jacket, to boot.