Monday, September 19, 2005

Saccharine Trust

Why write my own description of LA's Saccharine Trust when this quote from Perfect Sound Forever captures it all:

A screaming hybrid of punk energy, be-bop swing and beat poetics, for many, the 'Trust were SST's "difficult" outfit. Without the brutal anger of Black Flag, the populism of the Minutemen, the hillbilly stomp of the 'Puppets or the pop smarts of Husker Du, the band was often left playing support to the stars and being content with their "cult band" status. So be it.

It took many years for the music of Saccharine Trust to sit well with me, but I've reached a point where I can now cautiously appreciate (if not fully understand) what Jack Brewer, Joe Baiza, and company were trying to do in the early '80's. I remember picking up the Sacramentel Element tape after reading about it in an SST catalog (which effectively hyped every release ), and being disappointed by what I heard. Or rather, what I didn't hear (see above quote). In retrospect the Trust's 1981 debut Paganicons is a classic 12" filled with Baiza's twisted guitar dissonance and Brewer's impassioned rants. 1984's Surviving You, Always is a more schizophrenic affair, mixing spastic jazz riffs with weird, psycho-religious lyrics to create some strange soundscapes. Sometimes great, often frustrating, Surviving You, Always can be an exhausting listen. As a result of my initial distaste I passed on Saccharine Trust final two LP's - 1985's World broken and 1986's We Became Snakes. Below are a couple of my favorites from the first two albums:

from 1981's Paganicons 12"
Saccharine Trust - I Have...mp3
Saccharine Trust - I Am Right.mp3

from 1984's Surviving You, Always
Saccharine Trust - Sunk.mp3
Saccharine Trust - Speak.mp3


  • buy Saccharine Trust releases
  • photo from the official Saccharine Trust website
  • Dave Lang is the author of the quote from PSF