Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lost At Your Party

click for enlarged view

This record is as great as the story I'm going to tell about it is dumb, though I guess that's no different from any other day.

I'd bought the Baby Astronauts LP when it first came out in '86 and loved it, but then traded it in about a year later, though I at least made a tape of it. I found the tape-- now 20-something years old and looking all beat to hell-- while rummaging through my old duffle bag o' stuff a couple of years ago. The tape had no real information on it, so I had to pop it into the tape deck in the car to see what it was. The first two albums on it, "Bumper Crop" and "You're Living All Over Me", were pretty easy to figure out, but when I got to the Baby Astronauts tracks I was stumped. I started jammin' out in the car (really, dude, you shoulda seen me) to "I Hate This Song" and "Lost At Your Party" over and over, thinking, "holy shit, this is a great record," and while I could remember the song titles and picture what the record kinda looked like, I couldn't remember the name of the band for the life of me.

At first I thought it was Angry Red Planet, another band from the Midwest that released their own hand-numbered LP ("Little Pigs Little Pigs") with a do-it-yourself silkscreened cover around the same time Baby Astronauts did. Once I became motivated enough to do a Google search and figure out that the mystery band was indeed Baby Astronauts, I had to have the record again, of course. I eventually found a copy for pretty cheap, considering it was practically sealed and near-new, from an online store in Minneapolis (Landspeed Records). I say "practically sealed" because pretty much every copy of "All The Pancakes You Can Eat" comes sealed in a plastic bag already, since the bag itself is also part of the artwork. The front cover is 1/1000th of an original painting, and the lettering on the front cover is actually printed on the plastic bag that the record comes in.

Why "All The Pancakes You Can Eat" isn't ranked up there with all the other legendary Minneapolis records from the 80's is beyond me, because it's a great friggin' record. I'm guessing that Baby Astronauts operated within their local MRR-styled punk scene at the time, even though their song ideas arrive from more grown-up concerns (check out the politically-mocking intro to "I Hate This Song", it's hilarious) and their style veers toward indie rock on occasion. "Brain Surgeon" and "Fishing Song" in particular are almost Big Dipper-ish, with lyrics that nearly out-Volcano Suns the Volcano Suns-- believe it or not-- and the chugging tempo of "Lost At Your Party" is practically a hook in itself.

This also came out on CD as "All The Pancakes You Can Eat Plus Bacon", with a whole LP's worth of extra bonus tracks. I'm really curious to know what the Baby Astronauts cover of "Whole Lotta Love" sounds like, if anyone has a copy.

click for enlarged view

Baby Astronauts -

"I Hate This Song"

"Lost At Your Party"

"Brain Surgeon"

"Just About To Lose It"

"Fishing Song"

"What's In The Fridge?"

"Lovely Town"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Definitely one of the best records of the 80's from start to finish. I haven't heard these songs in about 18 years yet I remembered just about every part of each one, especially Fishing Song.

Somebody should mash up Ron Goes to The Faust with Ron Klaus Wrecked His House

Brushback said...

Sean, it was the exact same way for me-- I remembered every song as if I had just heard them yesterday. What a great record.

ib said...

They're definitely moving in all sorts of directions on this one; a hint of Pere Ubu maybe on "Lost At Your Party"/"Brain Surgeon" and somewhere far less tense on "Fishing Song"; a suspicion of early Stooges "OOOHs" on the oddly infectious "Just About To Lose It" which just fails to deliver up enough strut to knock itself out with a fair size rock.

The standout for me, though, is "Lovely Town". Great song - great delivery. More of that would've been a treat.

And yeah, I hope you beat yourself severely enough for taping over "Gluey Porch Treatments".

Brushback said...

Pere Ubu I can kinda see now (mostly in the singing), but the Stooges comparison is one I hadn't thought of before. Of course, almost every (rock) band has a little Stooges in them (and The Saints, and Wire's "Pink Flag" too, I guess).

The Big Dipper/Volcano Suns comparisons I threw out were just to let people who'd never heard this stuff before know what to expect. I'm sure there's no way that Baby Astronauts, recording their record in Minnesota in March of '86, were influenced by Big Dipper or Volcano Suns.... perhaps The Embarrassment would've been a better comparison.

Oh, yeah-- wouldn't most of us wish to still own an original pressing of the first Melvins LP?

panzan said...

I used your cover art image for a post on my own blog. I hope that's OK. I also added you to my blog list. Check it out if you like -

Brushback said...

Hey, no problem! I checked your blog out and I kinda like it-- "God's Favorite Dog" and "Nothing Short of Total War", that's good stuff..

Brushback said...

Oh, man, you posted the first Speaking Canaries 12-inch!... I've always wanted to own that.

Brushback said...

The mp3 files on this post are now listen-only (non-downloadable) files. TOUGH LUCK, CHARLIE! No, actually, for those of you who missed the boat, I will do my best to respond to any e-mailed requests for the original files.

Or, you can go to Panzan's Blog Which Is On The Interwebs, where he's posted the whole album.

Anonymous said...

Yay! It's about time Baby Astronauts got the recognition they deserved. I knew Bill Sudz at one time, he was a great guy.

Anonymous said...

This might not even be interesting to people FROM the Twin Cities, but "Ron Goes to the Faust" was a reference to a porno theater in St. Paul. I was in high school when it was torn down, but I remember that they were auctioning off movie posters and other ephemera--my friend and I thought we could score some sleazy souvenirs if we could only get to the bus line from our lame northern suburb. Despite the Minneapolis address, I am pretty sure some of the Baby Astronauts were from an even lamer (and wealthier) suburb than my own.

You've posted lots of Minneapolis stuff that I tangentially knew but never appreciated in the so-called day--Man Sized Action, Breaking Circus and, to a lesser extent, Rifle Sport. Good to hear for first time some other regional junk like Couch Flambeau, too--Albini used to wear their T-shirt but I had never heard them. Thanks.

Brushback said...

That's cool! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am a good friend of Eric from the band. Still hang out with him a couple times a year. I went to High School with him and also with Bill Sidz older brother Toby. Rob Weum- well what can I say? I have copy of the original still. Believe me, neither Bill or Eric has any wealth in their background or in their genes - both grew up in farm country about an hour north of Minneapolis (North Branch) - Rob is from Cook County - which is a surburb of Dulith (I think). I'd say all three were wealthy in imagination, angst, and tube socks.

dave d. said...

This is a shot in the dark but if annonymous up there that still hangs with eric from the Baby Astronauts. I'd love to touch base with him. I used to Jam with Eric and Rob early 80's when they shared a place in st paul. Memories are vague but those 2 guys where the best!

Anonymous said...

hi Dave, it's Eric.

rickleach said...


I'm from Liverpool UK and I can't beleive that there's a reference to the Baby Astronauts somewhere on the web!

I got hold of the album form a record shop in Liverpool when it came out. It's one of the original 1000& I don't know how it got across the Atlantic. I only bought it for the sleeve and I'm so glad that I did as even back then it knocked loads of the other music at the time for six.

In the mid 90's I sold most of my 600 + albums I had and this one was one of only about a dozen that survived the great vinyl cull.

I've raved on and one about this album to my friends for years.

Seeing this now makes me think that they definately deserve more attention.

Thanks for all the info.

It's inspried me to listen to it again and I may even put something up about it on my blog.



MOTOPAC said...

I had this one. A fave.

Unknown said...

Not only did I have a rip of ATPYCE on cassette, but my band “the Pocket Snakes” was lucky enough to play the same stage as these guys (and Those Lamplighters). The StCloud and Mankato scenes were as good or better than MPLS from that era, even though nobody remembers. Just so everyone knows, there’s a video/audio of another release by them on Youtoob called Strawbery Enema. Not as well produced or polished songwriting, but quite good nonetheless. I wish those guys had hung around awhile. I ran into the drummer years later and we ate hamburgers and talked about the scene. Miss the 80’s local scenes.

Anonymous said...

I saw them at First Avenue. Eric lived at a big rental house I owned on Summit Ave. in St. Paul. At the time it was a party house full of fun, family & friends. Lisa

Anonymous said...

Do you still talk to Eric? If so tell him Lisa says HI! He lived at a house on Summit Ave and my husband, brother and myself owned it. We saw him play at 1st Ave.