Friday, March 7, 2014

Angst - Mystery Spot (1987, SST)

Angst were one out of as many as two-dozen unknown acts that SST was capable of bankrolling after they began raking in profits from Black Flag and Husker Du records.  They were on an intriguing roster to say the least, but this trio sounded relatively organic when stacked up against their more noisome stablemates.  1987's Mystery Spot was their third full length, and the only one I've really listened to.  It's a samey but likeable batch of songs threaded together by briskly strummed chords and rumbling rhythm accompaniment.  Deliberately or not, Angst definitely had a collegiate rock angle, and were even reminiscent of the Feelies, albeit more concise.  Trouser Press had a real issue with the recording quality involving Mystery Spot, but as for myself, not so much.  You can read their critique below.

Angst took a calculated risk on Mystery Spot, engaging producer Vitus Mataré to help flesh out and upgrade the sound. It almost worked. Multi-tracked guitars and dynamic arrangements bring the songs into near-pop focus, with unprecedented melody, sensitivity, structure and vocal appeal, but atrocious recording quality (and/or a heinously bungled mix) buries them in a flat, muddy swamp. Pope and Risk continue to reveal themselves in emotionally resonant songs — too bad their ambitious effort was spoiled by a technicality.

01. Outside My Window
02. Back in January
03. It's Mine
04. What's the Difference?
05. Looking for a Reason
06. Colors
07. Mind Average
08. One Life (Out of 9)
09. Wazee Street
10. I Remember
11. Ah, the Morning
12. Red Wing


thenoiseboy said...

All of their stuff is worth checking out. Mending Wall, the one before this one, is probably their best. But I also really love their punk rock debut EP on Happy Squid. Check it out!

Harbottle Grimstone said...

Hooray for posting this! Do you have their album Lite Life? Or any other releases for that matter??

Scaggsaway said...

Hope you don't mind, but I am going to work "samey" into pretty much every conversation from now on.

slovenlyeric said...

Thanks for posting this. I have some stuff from them on vinyl, it is nice to get a chance to hear them again.

spavid said...

Thanks for your comments. This is all I have by Angst, but I do want to investigate some of their other records, including that first ep.

Mason said...

Awesome, I love this era of SST. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Angst's Life Lite is probably the best "unknown" album SST ever put out. Black Francis of the Pixies was a huge Angst fan/the 80's Californian roots-rock revival in general.

Anonymous said...

I looooved Angst when I was a senior in HS. I was buying any SST release I could get my hands on at the time. Thanks for posting this. Any other Angst records would be greatly appreciated.

Unknown said...

Like these guys a bunch with Mystery' clearly their best effort. Thought Cry for Happy songs not as good, but saw them play those songs live and was blown away. Check out YouTube "Live in Hamberg" (GE), that will give you a good idea...though I think a bit of an alcohol induced set.

Brian Standorf said...

Thank you for posting these. Great band, very hard to find.

Unknown said...


Thank you for posting this first, i have fall in love with Mending Wall and i want to listen more things done by Angst. I try to get the album, but the link is gone. Could you upload it again?


Robert Nagle said...

Wow, this and Mending Wall are both outstanding stuff. I liked in particular the slower/bluesier pieces -- Mending Wall had too much of the same -- although I also liked that stuff. Hey, it's taking me awhile to listen to all your downloads. This definitely counts as one of my favorite finds from your blog though.

captain2man said...

Angst are my favorite band on SST that the rest of the world doesn't really know about. Their first 12"EP on Happy Squid (later rereleased by SST) is art punk and very different than the rootsier, folksier stuff that SST put out. Their catalog desperately needs a proper reissuing.