Artist Spotlight: The Capstan Shafts

Although music is very important to me, I rarely bring it up on the Avocado. For one, I don’t know that I’ve listened to much of anything that anyone else here has. There’s the Beatles and the Stones, and then a smash cut to Indie (or independent) very white liberal 90s-current rock, which I like mostly for the rhyme schemes. After a bout of depression in 2006-2010, music, and music acquisition, kept me going. I liked hunting down and sifting through vast quantities of music to find the one song I really liked from an unknown band. Traditional hipster behavior, but different in that I wanted everyone to love them. I found the Mountain Goats, Dr. Dog, Emmy the Great, Christians & Lions, and a hundred others, but my first love and favorite band is Dean Wells’ the Capstan Shafts.

Energetic, perfect, short. I own only 10 of his songs that last over two minutes, and only one of them that’s any good, the thumping ‘Dying Sun.’ Ready to leave/ With the duct tape between her tits/ Old railway bar, getting herself good and lit/ -crude base and longing paired with a beautiful, elegatic melody.

Most of his albums were cheap or free, the cd covers homemade and done with glue and colored paper. He only created anything worthwhile over a short 2004-2007 period, but sometime in 2005 he created his first masterpiece in the Halaluah Moancoaxers EP, still available for free here:
Any upside to your/ taking off/ And/ Why I’m good at moving on/ When I wake up in the middle of the night/ There’s no one to tell me I’ve been dreaming wrong/

From there his lyrics attained a new density and impact. The brilliant satire sex rock of Recovering Cheerleader, Recovering Greenpeace Canvasser

The descent into crescendo of Here Comes Down that makes sex talk out of the Protestant Reformation- Church bells you nail a/ Proclamation to the door/ I spies a failure, baby/ Let’s nail some more/

And the feminine frustration of Tilting At Windchills- Only flattops looking to score/ Look at me with love anymore/ She complains as I’m trying to get her to bed/

The masterpiece album arrived with 2006’s Euridice Proudhon (available on ITunes) with 61 Sideburns (the first song) and I Don’t Mind You Dragging Me Down, about glorious toxic relationship bliss- It’s something to think about/ I’m still a little boy with doubts about who his friends are/ But mostly I don’t care/ About who they are or where their morals start/

And the plaintive lament of A Failure of History- Five am again/ What happened to my clean living/ I’m a deep thinking man/ Some of those are going to be misgivings/

After that, everything went downhill, and Dean dropped off the map in 2010 after selling out and making some terrible records that changed his sound and made his lyrics incomprehensible. But he had one last great song in him, my favorite song of all time, and the one my dad and I think is the best rock song of all time, The Ballad of Kid Butane