Artist Spotlight: Country Teasers

Disclaimer: This is a pretty shitty entry, i really wanted to write something good but can’t be motivated last weeks. Still here it is. Had to sensor some of the titles because love you disqus.

William S. Burroughs leading Joy Division or the fall- http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=16826

Scotland isn’t the first place you think of when you hear the Country Teasers. A country infused ‘post-punk’ band with a love for abrasiveness dark comedy, old-timey country and only constant member Ben Walter’s gnarly deadbeat snarling vocals. A bunch of happy sunshine music i’ve ever heard. Somewhere left of the beat poets, somewhere right of The Fall’s Mark E Smith it all sounds strangely American which seems to be the punchline of the bands never ending joke. A joke like most of their lyrics are fuelled by parodies/critical notes on sexism, racism and overall nihilism. But Nihilism in a fun way!

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Formed in Edinburgh during the summer of 1993 by Ben Walters who has manned the ship since with various oddballs from the Scottish music scene and theatre world they firmly became a cult band. A cult band who loved to drink, play up in a comical way touchy subjects and loved to fight. Beside Walters looking like a string bean and the rest of the band not allot better their first tours were full of loud drunkenness and fights. As told in John Fine’s tremendous biography of his years indie-band touring Your Band Sucks they once tried to fight horrorcore band Kottonmouth Kings and exceeded to scare them away when Walters was beaten to a pulp but still was cracking wise. Even in recent years they seem to be on hiatus Walters’s still plays their songs sometimes while preforming as the Rebel whose output is to big and small in runs to even get a hold of anything most of the time.

Their debut 10inch/CD The Pastoral, Not Rustic, World of Their Greatest Hits was released on the infamous Crypt Records. Crypt at the time ran by force of nature Tim Warren and was the home to the immortal proto-punk Back from the grave comps and bands like New Bomb Turks.

Where the weird ep length album fit well with tons of classic rockabilly re-issues and lo-fi punk. It also provided them with a never ending cultist fanbase beside sounding like it was recorded on a lonely busted floor mic. It’s the perfect blueprint for the Teasers: 23(28 if you got the cd which includes a none album 7inch) minutes of deadbeat country-garage with a ironic but heartfelt cover, Tammy Waynette’s Stand By Your Man which gets turned into a sad home abuse ballad and Lerner and Loewe’s Black Cloud Wandering which becomes a guttural pyschobilly stomper. While fairly tame in subject matter the first sights of Walter’s lyrics: third person parodies on hatred, sex, race and self-hate mostly.

Next years Satan is Real Again or Feeling Good About Bad Thoughts shows the band in fully formed form. Even more lo-fi then their debut it’s the best introduction to the band you can wish. The old school countries are still there but get switched up with Joy Division like post-punk(Thank you god for making me an angel), short vignettes of noise-rock(Country f*g), proto-punk(the strangely relevant Black Change which goes about white people’s romancing of black people, a sort of bizzaro Watermelon Man) and Wire levels of neurotics on the title tracks.

Destroy All Human Life is by far their most accessible record even the band hasn’t lost it’s quirks on it. Starting with the demented rockabilly breakdown that is Reynard the Fox and following it by their biggest ‘hit’ Golden Apples. A lovely down tempo effort which has a extremely catchy riff to it and Walter’s spewing about how he is the gift to humankind. By far the most hi-fi of their output so far and while not doing away with their country loving it’s by far their most easy to start with record.

The Empire Strikes Back, their last full length record to this date, is their Magnus opus. Spiderman In The Flesh with it’s lyrics about rounding up minorities against the wall to shoot them is by far the bleakest forms of Walter’s humour so far broadcasts. Beside being a obvious parody of Roger Waters’s pink floyd stuff, it are pretty much the chords of in the flesh, it paints a perfect image of the band. Lo-fi folky absurdism slowly going over in a full on band blow out.

The album does away with a ton of the country tangled songs and replaces them with a more straight forward band sound. By far the most monotone and difficult to stumic album of the whole bunch but well worth your time.

Teasers were according to most accounts best experienced live, the small hand full of videos of Youtube sure seems to proof that but luckily there is also a lo-fi collaged live record. The very imaginative called Live Album from 2005 collect songs from all over the place. From them supporting Wesley Williams and covering Randy Newman’s Short People in front of a very hostile crowd, it even sounds like it switches to a other live acoustic version half way through. For the rest it has tons of the best band versions of a couple tracks, a great cover of New Order’s blue monday and overall mediocre sound.

Since laying the Teasers to rest Walters hasn’t remained quiet. Even during their run he had tons of side projects(the most famous being the Male Nurse) and nowadays he is mostly recording and sometimes touring as his (most of the time) solo project The Rebel. He also recorded a record with his long time band The Devil in 2013 which comes highly recommended for everyone who likes loud monotone noise-rock. The above linked docu shows him touring with the marvellous guys inSpray Paint in the Rebel live set-up.

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So in the end the Teasers are a interesting band with loads of stuff to check out. Also I can’t write to save my life. To top this off here they are covering one of my home country’s most well known tracks, 2 Unlimited’s No Limit