Six Finger Satellite (or 6FS) is a synthesizer-based post-hardcore band based in Providence, Rhode Island. Formed in 1990, the band was signed to Sub Pop Records in 1992 after submitting an “alternative rock”-styled demo tape which deliberately misrepresented their true sound (as synthesizers were considered extremely unfashionable at that point in time) and released their debut album The Pigeon Is the Most Popular Bird the following year, which did lean more heavily into guitar-based sounds but still featured a Moog synthesizer and organ (most noticeably on the untitled instrumentals that pop up throughout the album).
“Rabies (Baby’s Got the)” is taken from their second album Severe Exposure (1995), which featured synthesizers more prominently. I first discovered the song via Brave New Waves on CBC Radio, and it promptly made its way into heavy rotation on one of the mix tapes that provided my soundtrack to the summer of ’96. And you can DANCE to it! You SHOULD DANCE to it! “Rabies” is easily the most accessible track on the album; while the rest of Severe Exposure is more abrasive and demands your attention, it’s unlike anything else that was coming out in 1995 and well worth checking out.
Paranormalized came the following year, and while it was less guitar focused than their previous albums it was also less compromising, cramming all sorts of gear shifts into a mere 33 minutes. 1998’s Law of Ruins (produced by James Murphy) is twice as long and features guitars front and center1 – and those guitars sound absolutely FEROCIOUS (one contemporaneous reviewer called it “the closest anyone’s come to pulling off a Raw Power for the ’90’s”) but the album also included lengthy atmospheric instrumental sections, with some Krautrock and a bit of dub thrown in for good measure. 6FS broke up in 2001, but reformed in 2008 and released two more albums (one of previously unreleased material recorded prior to their initial breakup and one of new recordings) the following year.2
If I had to describe 6FS using other artists as examples, I’d probably go with “Big Black meets Gang of Four meets Chrome” – and if that sounds something you might enjoy, then this just might be the band for you!
OPTIONAL DISCUSSION PROMPT: What are your favorite songs to dance to that aren’t necessarily considered “dance” songs?
Have a Great Night Thread, Avocado!