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Arson Garden


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Beautiful and fierce art rock.

Status:

Band has broken up. Final album, The Belle Stomp (1994)

See also:

An Arson Garden Page

James Combs is now solo and recording on Ubiquity Records; his home page

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Arson Garden was a rather crunchy band from Bloomington, Indiana. Mostly female vocals from April Combs, with occasional male vox. Lots of neat rhythms, time changes, and general weirdness. Go seek their CDs. Crunch. Tasty. Necessary. (burka@jeffrey.net)

although i cringe when i remember this, the capsule review of arson garden's under towers which i wrote for my university's radio station when this was released included the phrase, "the head of natalie merchant grafted on the body of [some band i can't remember i can't remember]." i don't know what possessed me to write that since i don't hear the resemblance anymore. then again, at the time (1990), 10,000 maniacs, in my opinion, hadn't lost their edge yet so maybe the comparison was more appropriate then. i love arson garden myself. (woj@smoe.org)

arson garden is an all-time fave. i saw them a number of times. a show at the teeny, dirty, and wonderful middle-east in cambridge MA stands out in particular; we talked to April and James before the show and they were so gosh darn nice and calm and then they got on stage and April's eyes literally rolled back in her head and then wonderful, baffling noise happened. i saw them the very next day at a Tower appearance, which made them either flattered or nervous or both ;)
     it's a shame if April isn't singing any more... (bossert@suddensound.com)

Recommended first album:

Wisteria or The Belle Stomp. (Neile)

Under Towers or The Belle Stomp. (burka@jeffrey.net)

Recordings:


Under Towers

Release info:

1990; re-released 1993—Vertebrae Records—3588-56017-2

Availability:

Can be found in the U.S. in stores that carry independent labels

Ecto priority:

High for fans of loud, alternative rock (Neile)

Group members:

James Combs—guitar, voice
Joby Barnett—drums
April Combs—voice
Clark Starr—bass
Michael Mann—guitar

Produced by:

Albert Garzon

Comments:

An amazing debut disc. Good songwriting and musicianship and April Comb's lovely, distinctive voice. (Neile)

Wisteria

Release info:

1992—Vertebrae Records—ASKD 66013

Availability:

Now out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for those who like harder rock—it's melodic but has a heavy guitar sound. (Neile)

Group members:

April Combs—vocals
James Combs—guitar, vocals
Michael Mann—guitar
Clark Starr—bass

Comments:

I bought this after hearing about it on ecto and love it. "She Reconsidered" and "Kathy's in Deep" are probably two of my favourite songs ever. The more I listen to this the more I like it. (Neile)

Drink a Drink of You E.P.

Release info:

1992—Vertebrae Records—Aske 66014

Availability:

Has pretty much disappeared except for the odd used copy (U.S.)

Ecto priority:

High if you like Arson Garden (Neile)

Group members:

Joby Barnett—drums
April Combs—vocals
James Combs—guitar
Michael Mann—guitar
Clark Starr—bass.

Produced by:

Frosty Horton (one song); Tom Herbers (one song)

Comments:

Two new songs (one of which is live), one from Wisteria, and one live version of a song from Under Towers. (Neile)

The Belle Stomp

Release info:

1994—American Empire Records—P2 53894

Availability:

Now out of print

Ecto priority:

High for anyone who likes louder, alternative music. (Neile)

Group members:

April Combs—vocals
Clark Starr—bass
Joby Barnett—drums, percussion
James Combs—guitars, vocals
Michael Mann—guitars.

Comments:

The most underrated album of the year, even in ectophilic circles where the band has a strong following. I wonder why. It's their best album to date in my opinion because it is diverse and expands on their sound. (kyrlidis@earthlink.net)

More of Arson Garden's great rock. Maybe consistently better than Wisteria. This is a powerful collection of songs, with a wider range than their earlier work—there are even two quiet songs, both of which are amazing. "Pull of a Speeding Train" gives me shivers. (Neile)


Thanks to Chris Montville for work on this entry.

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