"Save a spot for us, Right behind the Pretty Things."
That line from Prisonshake's recently released "Cut-Out Bin" 7" pretty much sums up the legacy of Robert Griffin, his band, and his empire, Scat Records. I'd love a tell-all from the guy -- Were Guided By Voices the doing and undoing of the label? Why so long between Prisonshake releases? Why the eventual move to St. Louis? Is Damon Che as much of an asshole as they say?
Scat can be ranked alongside Siltbreeze as a 90's harbinger of lo-fi and the DIY spirit (or avant can also = pop). Griffin was responsible for the resurrection of the 70's Cleveland punk scene (with the Those Were Different Times comp.), wonky pop from Franklin Bruno, pre-Smog outsider folk from A Bullet for Fidel, sprawling, unheard, guitar masterstrokes from Thee Speaking Canaries...and of course he was the man who took a chance on Vampire on Titus and a little record called Bee Thousand. After that the catalog gets kinda' cagey, if only because the gems start coming few and far between, though we do get an essential Mice re-issue around SCAT65.
As far as I can tell Prisonshake haven't released a proper record in 15 years. The Nice Price EP, which showcases "Cut-Out Bin" doesn't completely make up for lost time, it does however contain enough acerbic venom and Lake Erie art-skronk to justify there's no need for Griffin to pack it in. He's got a good grasp still on the vision of his band and where he places among the current underground. It might be a bit crankier, more lucid and less stoned (mature?) -- but the sound that he grew up with followed him down to Missouri. There's promise of a double LP in June, hopefully not a record full of "Song 3 Side 2," still Scat needs to be propped back up in its own right, and a monster Prisonshake statement is the perfect place to start.