Trotsky Icepick. With me so far? In 1983 the first incarnation of the Poison Summer album was recorded under the Danny banner, but wasn't released until 1985. That version is the one I'm presenting here. With that straightened out, once Trotsky Icepick were signed to SST Records, they decided to reissue an alternate version of the album in 1989 with a remixed, reshuffled track list that also featured outtakes from the original '83 session. It also bore an amended title: Trotsky Icepick Presents Danny and the Doorknobs in 'Poison Summer' I haven't come across hide nor hair of it, but from what little I've been able to glean, the album jacket is pretty frivolous.
On top of that, one year before the reissue, Trotsky trotted out yet another LP brandishing the Poison Summer title, but this was a completely unrelated record than the one(s) I detailed above. Here is what the ever reliable Trouser Press Record guide had to opine about each of them:
Recorded two years prior to its 1985 release, Danny and the Doorknobs'
clear-vinyl Poison Summer is a neat little pop record — underproduced and
haphazard, perhaps, but sprinkled with good songs (like the title track) and
skillfully varied arrangements. (Granted a more explanatory title, this debut
was later overhauled — replacing several tracks with vintage outtakes — remixed
and reissued in an inferior sleeve as Trotsky Icepick Presents Danny and the
Doorknobs in 'Poison Summer'.)
The second Poison Summer, an entirely different 1986 LP credited from
the get-go to Trotsky Icepick, was recorded as a quartet in which the arrival of
a keyboardist allowed Mataré to concentrate on guitar. Harmony vocals and
improvements on every front — studio sound, twin-guitar arrangements, melodies,
lyrics — make the LP a treat, a crisply uncommercial demonstration of unstylized
pop with intelligently offbeat lyrics.
My thoughts are as follows. Poison Summer is an offbeat, non-deliberate pop album, with obscure appeal that falls a few notches shy of "avant" territory. Textured, subtle, and occasionally contemplative, it's minor key aesthetics are engaging, that is if you're willing to invest a few concerted spins. Throughout I detect negligibly faint traces of Volcano Suns, Japan, Wire, Pylon, Monochrome Set, and early REM, but your results are sure to vary, and likely to be way off course from mine. For more insight into Poison Summer, check out this piece over at Lost In Tyme blog.
01. Poison Summer
02. In Exile
03. Northern Lights
05. Love to Hate
07. Slow Motion
08. The Game
09. From a Quiet Heart
10. Full Cone Escursion
11. Little Things You Don't Know
12. Winds Change Again
Music of the Sphere: The Jags, Bram Tchaikovsky, Amber Arcades, Little Triggers, Honeyblood, Kingdom of the Holy Sun - Inexpressible (at least by this inadequate crew) thanks to the magnificent bloggers who have made the following available for download. Special kudos to St...
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