Lifter Puller: Soft Rock (Self Starter Foundation)

The theme of white trash club hoppers seems to run like a vein through the band’s entire catalog, and they are people that are irresistible.

Picture this: a stage in a glittering club owned by none other than the Artist Formerly Known as the Artist Formerly Know as Prince. Three intense men concentrate on their instruments, playing with a passion and an intensity that are nearly manic. In the center, a man with his windbreaker zipped up to his chin. He thrusts his arms as if he is witnessing a robbery or the resurrection of a Gabor sister. He wears glasses, and he barks into the microphone with such force that it almost sounds as if he is having a spasm: “Six six six am on the weekend, she’s creepin’ out of the east end/and you said it was nothing, you just slipped and missed your ride from your girlfriends/and hey Jenny, your hair looks crazy messy/did you all nod off with your shoes on, did you fuck and fall asleep on the futon?”

That was my first Lifter Puller concert. I immediately went and bought the whole collection the merch guy had. He was happy. Though Lifter Puller is no more, Soft Rock is a fine collection that will get you up to speed and make you hope and pray that this band has a few more shows to offer. The two-CD collection features much of their creative output (missing is Fiestas + Fiascos, which is still available) including Half Dead and Dynamite, The Entertainment and the Arts, and their first, self-titled release. You also get some nifty early versions, including “Math Is Money” featuring Slug from Atmosphere and stuff “that was never released. Not really played that much either. Still pretty good.”

It is hard to explain why this band was so fun. My personal take is that they allow you to enter into a land of drugs, cheap sex, and off-kilter characters that few of us have the time and the legal representation to confront. The theme of white trash club hoppers seems to run like a vein through the band’s entire catalog, and they are people that are irresistible. You want to be one of the people who make it through to the dawn. You want to have some stories to tell in your old age.

The band (Craig Finn, Steve Barone, Tommy Roach [later Tad Kubler], and Dan Monick) is now scattered in New York, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. This CD acts as a fitting monument to the art-punk trend. When you purchase this, you get not only some cool grooves, but also a whole bunch of new friends including Katrina (but her friends call her Special Kay), Jenny, and, of course, the Eye-Patch Guy. With friends like these, who needs to leave the house?

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