Columbus Discount's Holy Grail
Singles Clubs are a crapshoot. Anyone outside of the Columbus City Limits may have been suspect to simply jump onboard to the Columbus Discount Records great space coaster of a singles club, if only because most of the reported offerings were homegrown – I’d be hesitant to sign onto a label from Omaha’s club without some knowledge of the roster. It’s a good thing that folk have trust in our scene, as it’s surviving and thriving and spreading its influence far from the stretch of road that connects Washington Beach to Rontown. The CDR YR One is almost coming to an end (I’m thinking only Psych Horse and the Slicks have obligations on the way) and there’s rumor swirling YR 2 is even better, at least bigger – it would be hard to top some of the singles this club has pressed for our amusement.
But likely the biggest surprise that has come from the whole subscription is “The Voices of Men” – and lo and behold it doesn’t even bear a CDR label, it bears no label other than a blank white label. It was privately pressed. It was given as a gift. It’s absolutely free if you want it. And it’s likely a piece of the Holy Grail that CDR is just now searching for. The only info one will acquire from the small rectangular insert that comes with “The Voices of Men” is that it was recorded by Nudge Squidfish and Jim Shepard somewhere in the ‘80s. That’s all you get. It’s one-sided, so no reason to flip, instead just soak in the two odd minutes of creepy wonder. Jim Shepard almost turns in a disco number here, with a pulsating synth-beat, a flaying of flanged guitar trails, and the munchkin voices of mischief cajoling behind him. His message, as always, is potent, out to rally the proles against the bourgeoisie, and get them all over to his side.
Listening through a smattering of older V-3 from older times, I’ve noticed the fascination, or perhaps forced parallelization of Shepard and Jim Jones. “The Voices of Men” ends with Jones at the pulpit – not sure if this was the final kool-aid procession. Nothing as harsh or massive, but from a Columbus bunker, Shepard plotted his inevitable (in his eyes) coup of the music industry and the detritus of celebrity and hyperbole that surrounded it. With his art – I distinctly remember the guy claiming Photograph Burns was one of the top five pieces of art in HISTORY, and I often believed him – he was bound to eventually topple the ideals of the ideal model, the penetration of unfiltered, unfettered, thought and pure expression through his words and music. This little unreleased gem may not change the world towards his ends, but it might just be the tip of the iceberg that opens the vaults for everyone to hear. For now, I’m game to get to pressing that Live ’97 Bernie’s bootleg, wherein V-3 literally destroys the dank club. That shit is brutal. Please CDR, next week? Let’s do this.
Sub. Ref. beach talk