Wednesday, May 02, 2007

BAND OF SUSANS (years active 1986 – 1996)

Alternative Rock, Experimental

Lot of VIDEO :


Robert Poss: Guitar, vocals/Susan Stenger: Bass, vocals/Susan Tallman: Guitar/Susan Lyall: Guitar, vocals/Ron Spitzer: Drums/Alva Rogers: Vocals

Tracklist :

01 Not Even Close
02 Learning To Sin
03 Throne Of Blood
04 Elliott Abrams In Hell
05 All The Wrong Reasons
06 I The Jury
07 No God
08 You Were An Optimist
09 Ready To Bend
10 Hope Against Hope
11 Sometimes
12 Where Have All The Flowers Gone

Link to download:

"Hope Against Hope (titled after an EP track that was remixed and included; a second appears in a new version here) is an improvement on all fronts, revealing a bracingly loud — but never strident — band that seemingly can't put enough guitar electricity on vinyl to satisfy itself. Besides his febrile production, Poss' songs are better formed here, with chord progressions that actually resolve. (In a touching show of pop cognizance, "I the Jury" quotes the Stones' "Last Time.") Anchored by a solidly plain rhythm section, the storm of strings continues to rage unabated, making Hope Against Hope something of a rockier American response to Psychocandy. (Just ignore the English-major lyrics.) The CD adds the two remaining songs — "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Sometimes" — from Blessing and Curse."


Robert Poss: Guitar, vocals/Susan Stenger: Bass, vocals/Karen Haglof: Guitar, vocals/Page Hamilton: Guitar, vocals/Ron Spitzer: Drums


01 The Pursuit Of Happiness
02 It's Locked Away
03 Birthmark
04 Tourniquet
05 Thorn In My Side
06 Sin Embargo
07 Because Of You
08 Hard Light
09 Which Dream Came True
10 Child Of The Moon
11 Take The Express

Link to download:

"While Page Hamilton's work on guitar here is often referenced in stories about Helmet, the fact is that Band of Susans is very much Poss and Stenger's band, and the at-times grotesquely grinding feel of Hamilton's later work is thankfully missing in favor of the more intricate while still powerful music here. The group's second full album is one of those creations of its time which ages well rather than just sounding dated. Though you can easily imagine the band in its particular late-eighties New York context right from the first track, "The Pursuit of Happiness," from the squalling guitars and Poss' just a little bit like Thurston Moore at points vocals, the fact is that this album just plain kicks out the jams, art that is blessedly unafraid to rock. "It's Locked Away" is a killer example of this, centered around a great riff that has much more of an angular, drony sound to it than anything else, but is wedded to a full-on crunch that also has a great groove (one of the Susans' many instrumental secret weapons) to it as well. Poss, who produced the record, mixes his vocals, as well Stenger's occasional backing efforts, fairly deep into the mix throughout the record; rather than being annoying or pointlessly obscure, it just feels right, a good way of letting his voice be another instrument to carry the songs. Perhaps to reference that fact, "Thorn in My Side" and "Sin Embargo" are both instrumentals, and are as great numbers as any of the rest on the album. The CD version contains the band's noted cover of the Rolling Stones' "Child of the Moon," which in its guitar-overdriven way pretty much beats out the entire remake of Exile on Main Street that Pussy Galore did." ~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

"At this early stage, Band of Susans were already a fearsome unit, a wailing wall of guitars played by former Rhys Chatham sidemen, music and literature students, and a pre-Helmet Page Hamilton. They were like Sonic Youth without any concessions to pop, and they use feedback the way a sculptor uses a chisel. This was the band at their peak of noisiness (they aptly named their publishing company 'MY EARS! MY EARS!'), with sharp, endless waves of tri-guitar attack pouring through every song. Fourth track, "Tourniquet", introduces the propulsive rhythmic figures that would guide much of their later work, and then they launch into two fierce, sizzling instrumentals including the masterful "Sin Embargo". When Susan Stenger sings, as on "Hard Light", they come off as like My Bloody Valentine with steel-toed boots and flamethrowers. Their cover of "Child of the Moon" is like The Rolling Stones locked in epic battle with Mission of Burma. Love Agenda is Band of Susans in their most pure, unadulterated form, and it is truly a beautiful thing."

Released by Restless in 1991. Possibly the Band of Susans' finest moment. Mark Lonergan and Anne Husick replaced Page Hamilton and Karen Haglof on this disc, solidifying the lineup that remained unchanged on album until the band's dissolution in 1995. The CD contains one of the band's very few covers, that of Rhys Chatham's "Guitar Trio," as an extra track.

Tracklist :

01 Ice Age
02 Now Is Now
03 Trouble Follows
04 Plot Twist
05 Estranged Labor
06 Sermon On Competition, Part 2
07 Bitter And Twisted
08 Bad Timing
09 Tilt
10 Silver Lining
11 Guitar Trio

Link to download:

"Despite featuring their third pair of guitarists in as many albums (Love Agenda's Page Hamilton departed to form Helmet), Band of Susans deliver their most assured, accessible album. The guitars operate as interlocking pieces of a larger puzzle, while bassist Susan Stenger floats below, providing structure without being chained to the beat. The sound alternates between haunting and crushing, and the guitars are finally consistently corralled into the dramatic service of the song. The clean, nearly reverb-less guitar sound leaves plenty of room to hear the guitars' idiosyncratic directions while maintaining a nearly opaque wall of sound. Most rewarding are the moments when the band breaks loose from their throbbing chords to deliver a crunchy punch to the solar plexus, such as on "Plot Twist" and "Silver Lining." Mostly, though, the effect is of rich lattices of guitar and intermingling swells, lifting and propelling the songs through an omnipresent guitar drone. Bassist Stenger's throaty vocals add a moody counterpoint to the guitars' pitched screech and anchor the album's opening two tracks, not incidentally two of the better compositions on the disc. The album closes with a nod to Robert Poss' mentor, Rhys Chatham, with a cover of Chatham's hypnotic, slow-building fugue "Guitar Trio."" ~ Chris Parker, All Music Guide

"Band of Susans are best described as an intense, glorious, guitargasm. The Word and The Flesh is a scandalously underappreciated album that is almost a companion piece to Loveless - Kevin Shields could well have layered his masterpiece over top of this one. The difference between the two albums is much like the difference between their album covers. The Word and The Flesh features a tight shot of a guitar being played, slightly blurred and distorted by motion. Loveless takes essentially the same picture but xeroxes and distorts and saturates it beyond recognition. They share a similar beauty and intensity. This is less respected than the better-known Love Agenda, likely due to the departure of Page Hamilton (who had left in the interim to form Helmet), but this is the greater album - stormier, hazier, more dissonant, more ecstatic. Hamilton's departure is felt in the more narcotic, leisurely arrangements - the guitars skate and drift, building into walls and breaking apart like surf. Most stirring is the epic, winding, churning cover of Rhys Chatham's "Guitar Trio" (two members of the band had previously played with him). Best listened to at obscenely high volume, driving at absurdly high speeds."


Released in 1992 by Restless/Dutch East India Trading; this is a bit confusing to some because it's "out of order" in the discography -- the material was recorded in two separate Peel sessions in 1988 and 1989, with two different lineups. This may be one of the reasons why many people have always thought of the BOS lineup as constanty-shifting, even though it actually never changed (in the studio, anyway) after 1990. See the notes below for who recorded when.

Credits :
Robert Poss: Guitar, vocals/Susan Stenger: Guitar, vocals/Karen Haglof: Guitar/Page Hamilton: Guitar (1988 session)/Mark Lonergan: Guitar (Track 04-05: 1989 session)/Ron Spitzer: Drums

Tracklist :

01 Found That Essence Rare
Written-By - Gang Of Four
02 Throne Of Blood
03 Child Of The Moon
Written-By - Rolling Stones, The
04 Which Dream Came True
05 Too Late
Written-By - Bruce Gilbert
06 Hope Against Hope

Link to download:

More :

NOW EP (1992)

Robert Poss: Guitar, vocals/Susan Stenger: Bass, vocals/Ann Husick: Guitar/Mark Lonergan: Guitar/Ron Spitzer: Drums

Tracklist :

01 Pearls Of Wisdom (4:01)
02 Following My Heart (4:30)
03 Trash Train (3:38)
04 Paint It Black (4:21)

Written By - Keith Richards , Mick Jagger
05 Now Is Now (Remix) (4:54)
06 Paint It Black (Instrumental) (4:30)

Written By - Keith Richards , Mick Jagger

Link to download:

"More of interest to completists than in its own right, the album gathers two tracks from the forthcoming album, Veil, while the track "Now Is Now" is a remix of a lesser track from the previous album. While all are solid compositions, none are essential or significantly different from the album cuts. The song "Trash Train" is an unusually up-tempo tune for the quintet, and the instrumental rocks pretty hard but is hardly indispensable. The band does deliver a solid cover of the Stones' "Paint It Black," taunting fans with what the band might have been able to accomplish with material of equal emotional weight. The guitar builds intensity throughout the song, gathering substantial steam, but bassist Susan Stenger's throaty vocals cannot do justice to the song, and the instrumental version suffers from the absence of Jagger's haunting lyrics." ~ Chris Parker, All Music Guide

"What an extraordinary cover of "Paint it Black", even the instrumental version kicks ass."

"This is a very solid EP and you can probably find it at a steal on Ebay or something. The "Paint it, Black" cover is nice enough, but even the original tracks are praiseworthy. This is exactly how I like my BOS: in small doses."

VEIL (1993)

Robert Poss: Guitar, vocals/Susan Stenger: Bass, vocals/Anne Husick: Guitar/Mark Lonergan: Guitar/Ron Spitzer: Drums

Tracklist :

01 Mood Swing (5:06)
02 Not In This Life (5:03)
03 The Red And The Black (5:01)
04 Following My Heart (4:28)
05 Stained Glass (6:02)
06 The Last Temptation Of Susan (2:38)
07 Truce (3:59)
08 Trouble Spot (4:40)
09 Pearls Of Wisdom (4:10)
10 Trollbinders Theme (4:24)
11 Blind (4:30)
12 The Red And The Black (Remix) (6:23)

Link to download:

The fourth full-length from Band of Susans is their most assured to date. Perhaps not as immediately compelling as The Word and the Flesh, the band members are nonetheless at the top of their game, expanding the margins of their sound. Whereas the last album was focused on songcraft, here the compositions reign. The band is no longer content to let the guitars drone with feral ferocity, instead exploring greater use of dynamics, dissonance, and interplay. Far more experimental in approach than their previous albums, the rewards are revealed with repeated listening as the complexity of the songs' interior structures becomes more transparent. For example, "Mood Swings" begins with a lean-to of stereo call and return guitar lines before the throbbing bass and drums come in with the foundation and the song swells, becoming a storm with flashes of guitar audible within the squall. At the break, the guitars drop out, and after several measures of choppy rhythm, the storm returns. This intermingling of intermittent sounds and effects is made even more effective by expanding the palette beyond a melodic crush of guitar to include individual dissonant and minor chords that bring all three guitars into bas-relief. The lyrics are often lost, like a lone figure in a field beneath a thundering, searing cloud of sound, with only the refrain echoing softly. This is no great loss, as the sheer muscular musical virtuosity of this album requires few words." ~ Chris Parker, All Music Guide

"This band will never get the recognition that they deserve, except maybe among audiophile groups. Between the two Susans full-lengths that I own, I like this one better. The first half of this album is exceptional and gives it that extra boost over The Word and the Flesh"

WIRED FOR SOUND (1986-1993) (1994)

A retrospective released by Blast First! in the UK only. The CD version has two discs, "Songs With Words" and "Songs Without Words"; the vinyl version has three LPs, two of "Songs With Words" and one of "Songs Without Words." Some songs on the vinyl version are not on the CD version. Some helpful notes: The remixed versions of "Trouble Follows" and "Ice Age" are exclusive to this collection, as is the previously unreleased track "Out Of The Question." Additionally, while It's not readily obvious from the jacket or liner notes, the version of "Now Is Now" here is the remixed one from the NOW ep, and the version of "The Red And The Black" is the "hidden" one from the end of VEIL. The artwork is virtually identical; I think the vinyl version has a few pictures that aren't in the CD booklet, but that's about it. As for which version is "better" -- the CD is more portable but has less songs; however, while the vinyl version sounds a bit better, the CD cranks much louder. The "exclusive" tracks are on both versions. Choose accordingly....

CD 1

01 Hope Against Hope (5:00)
02 Throne of Blood (3:16)
03 You Were an Optimist (3:18)
04 All the Wrong Reasons (5:26)
05 Pursuit of Happiness (5:29)
06 Hard Light (4:41)
07 It's Locked Away (5:10)
08 Birthmark (4:09)
09 Now Is Now (4:51)
10 Trouble Follows (1994 Remix) (3:53)
11 Ice Age (1994 Remix) (5:27)
12 Following My Heart (4:31)
13 Mood Swing (5:07)
14 Red and the Black (6:27)
15 Blind (3:54)

CD 2

01 Elliott Abrams in Hell (2:23)
02 Where Have All the Flowers Gone (5:03)
03 No God (5:00)
04 Thorn in My Side (2:54)
05 Sin Embargo (3:43)
06 Bitter and Twisted (3:13)
07 Tilt (5:06)
08 Paint It Black (4:33)
09 Trash Train (3:57)
10 Out of the Question (2:55)
11 Trollbinders Theme (4:25)
12 Last Temptation of Susan (2:42)
13 Guitar Trio

Links to download:

"Wired for Sound is a great introduction to the Band of Susans, conveniently wrapping up the New York group's 1986 to 1993 output. In fact, it could be argued that an average admirer of the band would only need this and their excellent swan song, Here Comes Success, to get a full picture. Although most of the material is excellent, the sometimes tuneless din can grow tiresome pretty quickly; the collection works best in small doses. Moody textures are the rule for the Susans, and when they leave second gear, they're at their best ("Trash Train," "Hope Against Hope"). Neatly divided between "songs with words" on the first disc and "songs without words" on the second, Wired for Sound will likely please any Sonic Youth or Television fan." ~ Andy Kellman, All Music Guide

"This compilation is the first BoS album I bought but certainly not the last one. Back in the 80's on both sides of the Atlantic various bands tried punk/hard core esthetics with pop sensibilities. They used different proportions of both ingredients. Band of Susans was one of those bands (together with Husker Du, My Bloody Valentine and others), one that used big amounts of guitar noise but as this compilation proves it is all listenable. The double album consists of one cd with songs and one with instrumentals. Surprisingly all are good and although tend to be lengthy, do not get boring. If you want to find the missing link between Melvins, Helmet and Kyuss look no further. By the way Page Hamilton out of Helmet was a member!"

More review:


Released by Restless in 1995; this was the last actual release by the full band (although Robert Poss and Susan Stenger later recorded a handful of tracks for the Wire tribute compilation VARIOUS ARTISTS PLAY WIRE -- WHORE and the as-yet-unreleased DRILL, an album composed of various bands all doing their interpretation of the Wire song "Drill."

Robert Poss: Guitar, vocals/Susan Stenger: Bass, vocals/Anne Husick: Guitar/Mark Lonergan: Guitar/Ron Spitzer: Drums

Tracklist :

01 Elizabeth Stride
02 Dirge
03 Hell Bent
04 Pardon My French
05 As Luck Would Have It
06 Two Jacks
07 Stone Like A Heart
08 In The Eye Of The Beholder (For Rhys)
09 Sermon On Competition Part I

Link to download:

"Though their prior records were all respectable, Band of Susans saved a knockout punch for their swan song, Here Comes Success. A solid collection of lengthy guitar workouts, it's not the best record to get a quick fix from (the nine tracks average seven minutes in length). Success certainly demands close attention, but that's easy to give, thanks to its thick hypnotics. "Hell Bent" is the Susans' absolute zenith, an entrancing ice-jolt that unfolds and coils in superb dynamic fashion. When bassist Susan Stenger drops to a one-note bassline, it speaks just as loud as a lengthy lead solo. "Pardon My French" features some Stonesy riffing and some dead-on societal commentary from Robert Poss: "The voice of god is Charlton Heston/He's told the FBI they should have me arrested/Bullets will fly but he'll never get the message/That people with guns can never be trusted." At 64 minutes, Success might test one's attention, but it's the Susans at their catchiest and most exciting." ~ Andy Kellman, All Music Guide

"Every year there's some obscure band that catches my ear and I become fascinated then ultimately obsessed with them, and generally collect all of their albums. Last year, that band was Long Fin Killie, this year it looks like it's Band of Susans. Let's get one thing straight right off - they're not shoegazers. While they do use a layered guitar technique and employ occasional whispery vocals, they're rather more classical in structure and raw in aggression. They come across as a band who has studied their craft very seriously - the lyrics employ poetic structures of assonance and dissonance to mirror the storm of guitar. Not that any of this keeps them from truly rocking out, such as is the case with "Hell Bent" or the paranoiac rant "Pardon My French" - 'the hollowpoint bullet that bears my name was sold up in the Bronx just yesterday. The poison-tipped arrow that will pierce my heart was sold under the counter at a liquor store. The voice of god is Charlton Heston, he's told the FBI they should have me arrested. The bullets will fly but he'll never get the message that people with guns can never be trusted' - how cool is that?"


ROBERT POSS - Distortion Is Truth (2002)

Experimental, Avant-Garde, Guitar

Tracklist :

01 Brakhage
02 Radio Free Albemuth Revisited
03 You Were Relentless
04 Henix Sambolo
05 That Same Dream Again
06 Azulene
07 Management Confidential
08 Showbiz
09 The Level Above
10 Memphis/Little Rock
11 Tinikling
12 Improvised Duo
13 Where Do Things Stand
14 You Know the Drill
15 Zener Shunt
16 Regret

Link to download:

"A collection of numerous improvisations and compositions by versatile guitarist Robert Poss, recorded both live and in the studio."
"Robert Poss is no stranger to the guitar. He's been playing the instrument for years now, not only in a solo setting but also with the legendary Rhys Chatham and as a founding member of Band of Susans. His back catalogue is extensive, having been involved with more recordings than one would care to name. Distortion is Truth is one of two releases that came out in 2002 (Crossing Casco Bay is the other), and it marks a very experimental outing for Poss. On the CD's 16 tracks, we're treated to a whole panoply of sounds; Poss's multi-genre background really comes through in the music. The songs run the gamut from fast, punk-esque material to twangy instrumentals to startling avant-garde pieces. "Brakhage," for example, is a short exercise in ambient guitars and experimental sound. It has a very comforting feel to it. The piece after it, "Radio Free Albemuth Revisited," is then a bleepy, spasmodic track with an eerie atmosphere. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there's "You Were Relentless," a powerful, punk-influenced track with strong vocals, energetic guitars, and pounding drums. Also nice is "Improvised Duo," a track recorded live with Tom Kelley. It's a sonic burst of raw energy with a really nice sound to it. "Where Do Things Stand" also carries this energy, but is slightly more accessible. Altogether, Distortion Is Truth is a very satisfying guitar record that really shows how much can be done with the instrument. This will appeal not only to fans of Poss himself, but also to fans of the guitar itself. Recommended. 85% (
More review:


Experimental, Avant-Garde, Guitar

Tracklist :

01 Crossing Casco Bay
02 Drift
03 Daybreak in Hanga Roa
04 Theme For An Imaginary Car Commercial
05 Throne of Blood (Reprise)

Links to download:

"This review poses one distinct challenge that separates it from most other reviews I have writtenin other reviews I was reviewing music, but here I am just reviewing sound. Unfortunately, for 3/5 of Robert Posss new album, that is all that there is. I know what some of you out there are saying, but its not true. Im not opposed to ambient music, at least in principle, but this album is just downright bad. One whole song is the ambient noise of crickets chirping. Now, crickets chirping may be a pretty noise, but it surely isnt music. Two of the last songs involve music; however, when Poss actually decides to put music on his album, you can almost see why he shied away from it earlier. The two songs that do have musical inclinations are undistinguished and pretty disposable on their own.
All of this leads us to the wider question: Why would anyone spend the time and money necessary to create an album of nothing? The answer to this completely eludes me. There is no justification for the existence of this album. No one is asking for an album of mostly silence and occasional sounds, and no musician should take pride in creating it, as it does not technically qualify as music. Brian Eno made several good ambient albums, and, as far as I can tell, the genre does not really have anywhere to go. Robert Poss could be seen as a weird deconstruction of the ambient genre, the response to some dare about making less and less music on an album. As far as actually listening to it, though, I cant see what the possible point in doing so might be."
-John Thrasher
PHIL NIBLOCK - G2, 44+ / X2 (2000) (Robert Poss and Susan Stenger both appear on it)

Minimal, Experimental

Guitar [Samples] - David First , Rafael Toral , Robert Poss , Susan Stenger/ Mixed By - Richard Lainhart/Other [Liner Notes] - Bill Meyer , Monica Kendrick , Phill Niblock/Photography [Cover] - Phill Niblock/Recorded By [Guitar Samples] -
Robert Poss

Track 1: 24-track mix of guitar samples from Rafael Toral, Robert Poss, Susan Stenger, David First. With 6 added tracks by Rafael Toral. Track 2: 24-track mix of guitar samples from Rafael Toral, Robert Poss, Susan Stenger, David First. Guitarists adding 2 live parts each to the 24 track mix version: Kevin Drumm, Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, Robert Poss, Alan Licht. Samples of Robert Poss, Susan Stenger and David First were recorded by Robert Poss at Trace Elements Studios in New York.

Tracklist :

01 Guitar too, for four - (Toral version)
02 Guitar too, for four - (Massed version)

Link to download 256 kbs :

"Yep, in this day and age, there's money in this minimalism thing. Which is nice for a fellow like Phill Niblock, a man who's been out in the field for over thirty years. While some may be happy to dabble in approximate music, or that only hinted at in whispered tones by those who still subscribe to the idea of the 'tonal auteur,' Phill Niblock makes the very stuff around which this particular world of music revolves. Thusly (and finally and thankfully), a finished record, to add to the handful of other Phill Niblock releases available today. Guitar too for four, you say? Indeed. Phill Niblock has assembled here a full roster of 6 stringers, and that means simply, a lot of guitar players. The project started some time ago, when the original recordings were made by Phill and Robert Poss. These were then made into a 'version' (like a dub record -- dig the crossover appeal!) by Portuguese man about town Rafael Toral. A new 'street-level' version was made in New York, with more chaos provided by Alan Licht, Kevin Drumm, Lee Ranaldo, and Thurston Moore. All of these folks have performed the piece live, and brought the 'vibe' into the studio. The whole thing was overseen by Phil and Moikai head honcho O'Rourke. The disc features both versions of the 32-minute missive."

The Wire (9/02, p.59) - "...A floating world of radiant hum....Play it loud and the glorious drone formation offers sensory airlift..."

"Phil Niblock's trademark drone pieces dispense with melody, rhythm, and key changes in favour of tonal harmonics and volume. Far from being boring and repetitious the dense multi-tracked frequencies phase in and out, creating a rich textual dissonance"

More about Niblock:




Tracklist :

01 Manc (37:27)
02 Variation (34:13)

Link to download:

"Released in 2000 by WMO (Wire Mail Order). These two long tracks were first recorded live in England on October 11, 1995 as a three-way collaboration between Poss, Stenger, and Wire guitarist Bruce Gilbert. Due to technical problems with the mixes, they sat on the shelf for several years until the mixing issues were sorted out. The two tracks are long, freeform explorations in feedback and sound as a purely physical wave -- this is loud stuff, and it's not difficult to see why it was hard to properly mix. Fascinating but definitely not "song-oriented" in the manner of BoS releases.

"manc" recorded live at the Hacienda Club, October 11, 1995. Live mix by Russell Haswell. "variation" remixed at The Instrument, London, Jully 1997 by Paul Smith. Both tracks written by Bruce Gilbert, Robert Poss and Susan Stenger. Published by Mute Song / Blast First Music. Digitally remastered by Denis Blackham at Porky's, London. Photography by Kevin S. Eden, design / manipulation: Cop This. Released under exclusive license from Mute Records Ltd. / Blast First. (c) 2000 Mute Records Ltd. / Blast First. (P) 2000 WMO Ltd."

"Thrice a Wire guitarist, whether in three minds or forty versions, Bruce Gilbert had been in town for three Blast First Disobey events, playing perhaps the weirdest, and indeed finest, sounds you could hope to hear in a club. At the Hacienda for the fourth and final Manchester Disobey night on 11th October 1995, he teamed up with Robert Poss and Susan Stenger, playing slide guitar, to create an amazing improvised guitar noise maelstrom. This was recorded and was released by Wire Mail Order in May 2000. Bruce preferred to let the two ex Band Of Susans members talk about this performance "as they know more about it." In the middle of the interview my tape recorder mysteriously packed up and started doing what Bruce described, with the softly spoken air of an expert, as motorvating. Then for no apparent reason it seemed to fix itself and bizarrely none of the dialogue was lost. Quite aptly considering that the man I was interviewing once released an album which consisted of a recording of sounds generated in an interactive installation (MZUI), the tape was full of the sounds of wheeling trolleys, whirring ventilators, clunking doors and in the background, some of the electronic music Bruce plays being soundchecked." (


Band of Susans was a noise rock band formed in New York City in 1986.
In the early to mid 1980s, Poss studied under the tutelage of avant-garde guitar ensemble composer Rhys Chatham, and played in the bands Tot Rocket and Western Eyes.
Taking their name from the number of Susans then in the lineup, Band of Susans released the 12" EP Blessing And Curse on Poss's own Trace Elements label. A record-release party (also said to be the band's first-ever live gig) was held at NYC's The Love Club on January 31, 1987; BoS were the opening act for a band called Das Furlines. They were soon signed to the avant-garde Blast First imprint of U.K. record label Mute Records.
After the release of debut album Hope Against Hope, Rogers, Lyall and Tallman quit, and were replaced by Karen Haglof (guitar) and Page Hamilton (guitar). This lineup recorded the album Love Agenda and a Peel Sessions EP, which featured a cover of Gang Of Four's "I Found That Essence Rare." The two new guitarists then quit, with Hamilton quickly forming the more metal-influenced Helmet. Anne Husick (guitar) and Mark Lonergan (guitar) then joined BoS, yielding the band's "classic lineup" which made three more albums and one EP, all on Restless Records.

What about with the members ? (

Jason Braun
filled in on guitar during the final set of tours; he is now playing in a band of his own, the Negatones. They supposedly released a sin gle on their own label a few years ago, although I've never seen it; Robert Poss did some of the single's pre-mastering work. He nows plays (along with his brother) in the Negatones. (

Kelly Burns
filled in for drummer Ron Spitzer on the last set of tours; he has since returned to school to study art. He continues to drum occasiona lly on various local New York projects.

Libby Flynt
filled in briefly on tour after Karen Haglof left and was later permanently replaced by Anne Husick. No telling where she is now....

Karen Haglof (guitar, 1988-90),
left the music field entirely after her departure from the Band of Susans and is now in medical school. (

Anne Husick (guitar, 1990-95),
is currently playing bass in the New York band Siberia, among other projects. She has also been playing guitar with her cousin, Lida Hus ik (and no, neither name is misspelled); what will happen with this is anybody's guess. While she was thanked in the liner notes for Lida Husik's latest release FLY STEREOPHONIC, she apparently did not play on the album.

Page Hamilton (guitar, 1988-89),
left BOS to form his own band Helmet, which you already know unless you have been living in a cave for the last few years. Helmet broke up for a while and have recently reformed.

Mark Lonergan (guitar, 1990-95)
works regularly as a studio musician and as a sideman for NYC blues artists such as Bobby Radcliffe. It is possible that he will " ;resurface" as a solo artist sometime in the future. Mark also used to write guitar instruction books for Mel Bay many moons ago; you can still find them in stores.... (

Susan Lyall (guitar, 1986-88),
left BOS concentrate on work in the theater and film world; she is now a costume designer for major motion pictures and has worked with Jodie Foster, among others.

Robert Poss
has been working as a producer for bands like Combine, Tone, and now Skulpey. He and Susan Stenger recently played with Bruce Gilbert as GilbertPossStenger; future appearances in that configuration may or not be forthcoming, as the mood strikes said participants. He recently released two solo cds, DISTORTION IS TRUTH and CROSSING CASCO BAY.

Alva Rogers, (vocals, 1986-88),
since leaving BOS, has continued with what was originally her main focus -- solo vocal performance and writing for musical theater.

Ron Spitzer
has largely retired from the music business to spend more time with his wife and child.
He recently plays together with Mark Lonergan in The Atwaters.

Susan Stenger
currently resides in London and has appeared in The Brood and GilbertPossStenger. Most recently she was seen playing bass on tour with the reformed Creatures (with former members of Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees). At the same time she continued to be a flutist (her original vocation) for John Cage, up until his death. She has since toured the UK with choreographer
Michael Clarke and as the bassist in Nick Cave's touring band.

Susan Tallman (guitar, 1986-88)
returned to the art world upon her exit from BOS and is now an art critic, author, and artist living in Europe.

More Info : The Unofficial site


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I've heard of Band of Susans before, but I'm not familiar with them. The links seem to be removed, but I found one of their tracks elsewhere to download, so I'll take a listen to them!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Would be really interested in the Phill Niblock guitars album mentioned.

5:06 AM  
Anonymous dj.deepc said...

please...please... could you show or send to me the link for "Band Of Susans - Hope Against Hope" ..really apreciate...
all the Best

9:36 PM  
Blogger John Garratt said...

Can the gilbertpossstenger album be uploaded again, perchance?

It's expensive. Even used copies.

7:31 PM  

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