Saturday, October 16, 2004

Pleasure Forever...

Pleasure Forever, now deceased, were one of those groups that I followed with a keen interest... In their first incarnation as Slaves, my interest was mostly because the band was comprised of 3/4 of The VSS (the other 1/4 being Sunny Kay, proprietor of GSL and current member of Yr Future), who had released "Nervous Circuits" which topped, and still tops, my list of favourite albums.

The VSS - In Miniature.mp3 from Nervous Circuits

Slaves released two EPs, one self-titled, and "The Devil's Pleasures", both of which were collected on a 1999 TroublemanUnlimited CD, also titled "The Devil's Pleasures." Sex, death, and gnostic rituals.

Slaves - Chemical Priest.mp3 from "The Devil's Pleasures".

After that, the group changed their name to Pleasure Forever, were signed to Sub Pop, and released two albums (self-titled and "Alter") as well as a single, neither of which sold stunningly well, but fared better critically and sold to that enthusiastic group of music buyers that might count Antioch Arrow's "Gems of Masochism" as a crucial album to have in their collections. The albums are evocative, droning, cabaret-tinged affairs, recalling the darker elements of The Doors and Echo & the Bunnymen or Crime & The City Solution, with the piano used as the lead instrument (as in the VSS) and that puts them in the same family as art-damaged groups such as The Get Hustle and Birdland. While "Alter" is a gorgeously textured and theatrical element, it's marred by the ill-advised move of having Rothbard record his vocals over a department store PA system. (Better than a vocoder, however: ahem, Trans Am).

Pleasure Forever - Goodnight.mp3 from the self-titled album.

Pleasure Forever - Wicked, Shivering Columbine.mp3 from Alter.

l-r: Jennifer Pearl, David Clifford, Kevin Garrison

David Clifford, the drummer, has moved on to Lion Fever, joining Jennifer Pearl, formerly of the Lost Kids and Kevin Garrison, of The Get Hustle and Angelhair (which, coincidentally enough, was the precursor band to The VSS, and one of the main architects of that Gravity Records-styled, "San Diego sound"* despite originating in Colarado.) As you can hear on the below track, their sound owes a lot to both The Lost Kids and The Starlite Desperation...

Lion Fever - Slave.mp3

Andrew Rothbard left Pleasure Forever in the fall of last year, and though Joshua Hughes and David Clifford had intended to carry on, nary a peep has been heard from them since then, outside of a one-off gig with a group called Coast Ghost and the Abandoned Meaner last November.

*Such as: Drive Like Jehu, The Swing Kids, The VSS, Antioch Arrow, The Crimson Curse, so on and so forth... Every single music-playing resident of San Diego seems to have moved to Portland in the past couple of years, much like the Victoria to Montreal exodus in Canada.

Another note: Lion Fever will be playing at the Dim Mak showcase at the Knitting Factory in New York City along with Montreal's Pony Up! a week from tonight, on Saturday, October 25th.


Optimus said...

somewhere, and i wish i could remember where, i saw a band family tree for all these bands. i remember that the van pelt is somehow connected to the vss. a bassist, perhaps? they're all bandcestuous, in any case.

nice mp3s, by the way. many thanks. i very much heart pleasure forever. 'any port in a storm' is one of my all time favourite songs.

Jay Watts III said...

I think it might have been on the GSL site, possibly? I recall that they had a band family tree link up there a while back...