Monday, January 23, 2023

Agitpop - Open Seasons (1988, T/T)

Word went out approximately two weeks ago that Agitpop frontman and focal point John DeVries passed away. Like the overwhelming bulk of artists I spill ones and zeroes on, I didn't know DeVries at all, but being acquainted with his music, and more specifically the four albums he and his two Hudson Valley, NY compatriots were responsible for in Agitpop was more than sufficient so far as my ears were concerned.  Often referred to as art-pop/punk, and even more consistently compared to the likes of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE, DeVries and Co. were coming from a considerably different angle than their southern Cali contemporaries. 

Dissonant and off-kilter to be certain (not to mention a real acquired taste if you were a more conventional pop listener) this trio bore warm and sentient affectations as well, especially on their final album, Stick It! wherein they were making significant tuneful strides. Truth be told they were halfway there on their penultimate LP, Open Seasons. DeVries' singular, half sung/half spoken parlance made for cutting commentary, yet occasionally a soothing and poetic balm too. Agitpop by and large occupied their own airspace, leaving indigenous chemtrails like "Straight Through to Nashville" and "Girl But Not a Friend," in their oblique wake, but not without inserting an ever-so-sly accessibility factor if you could spot it. 

Incidentally, for several years now I've been sharing a hard-to-come-by Agitpop promo ep from '89 that you can check out here. Furthermore, after the band were decommissioned (sometime around 1990 or so) DeVries went on to serve as mouthpiece for another downstate New York act, Cellophane, who I have yet to familiarize myself with.  

01. Straight Through to Nashville
02. It Won't Be Long Now
03. Getting Up to Go Down
04. Top of the Stairs
05. Three Boys and Space
06. Memory-Go-Round
07. Kick Back the Hands
08. Stagnant
09. Out to Pasture
10. Without a Trace
11. Girl But Not a Friend
12. Inventor


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