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Best band ever
Written by Tommi on 14.07.2008 00:56:26
There's a lot of best bands in the world when it comes to my world. I throw the line around like a preacher throwing around the name of Jesus and usually I'm not kidding. I just feel very strongly about music and about certain bands. Especially since everytime I make some sort of deeper connection with a piece of music or the body of work of a single artist, for that fleeting moment in time that artist truly is the best in the world. Ever.
Then again, one band will always be worthy of higher recognition.
The Pet Shop Boys? No.
The Divine Comedy? Nu-uh.
The Smiths? Nyet.
The Flaming Lips? Sorry.
The Notwist? Non.
Even if all the bands listed above (and a handful more) are truly worthy of the title "Best. Band. Ever." in my world, I'm not referring to any of them.
I don't know if it's the tiny (but loud) elitist in me that makes me favor a band that in addition to myself may just have a handful of believers or just people who ever remeber them for that matter over the artists that have the public concensus on their side or what, but I truly feel that there once was a band that was superior to all those and all the rest.
The band I'm referring to here is a little known, or more specifically totally unknown (they seriously for instance have less than 4000 listens on Last.fm whereas my own band Viola has almost 150k - and we're not really super-hot either!) band from Hobart, Tasmania (or Melbourne, Australia) called the SEA SCOUTS.
I just don't believe there's any way for me to accurately describe their music, so I'm just going to borrow some lines from the excellent memorial website made for the band by a Finnish dude called Lari Nerg:
"Sea Scouts were an Australian noise-rock group. They were formed in early 1995 and they broke up in early 2000. Their music has often been compared to early Sonic Youth, Joy Division or Unwound even though there are no bands that really compare to them. Combining tribal-like drumming, heavily distorted bass lines, noisy guitars, violent screaming and overwheling feeling of non-forced angst, they're still truly unique and they deserve this small tribute my site tries to offer."
That's just about as close as I can imagine anyone coming to capturing the band in words, so I'll leave it at that.
As stated in the quote above, the Sea Scouts decided to call it a day in the very first steps of the 21st century. Just some few months prior to that we (Echo Is Your Love) had the privilege of touring with them (and the almost-but-not-quite as amazing Ninetynine) in Finland for three days in the fall of 1999. For some reason I hadn't really listened to their record too thoroughly even if we had actually booked the entire tour, but on the first day of the tour at TVO in Turku as they were soundchecking I just realized that I'm about to witness something truly one-of-a-kind and special for the next three days.
I can tell you that I've seen some live shows in my life by a really HUGE amount of bands. Everything from your tiniest basement shows to big-ass stadium extravaganzas. Everything from "just plug in and play" -type of honest no-frills acts to theatrical live performances where everything is planned. hundreds and hundreds upon hundreds of shows. Still, I've never been as spellbound and intensely moved at any live show as I was for those three nights in a row. I'm not going to start going into details on how much I was moved or you'll think I'm a total wimp, but I can assure you, shit was intense.
That was almost nine years ago, though, but to this date my relationship with the music the Sea Scouts left behind lingers. Obviously in those nine years, there's been several periods where I've been a bit "bored" of it and haven't really listened to them all that much, but every time after a certain cool-off period they just creep around the corner for some reason and catch me off-guard to let me know they truly are the best band in the world.
This time the trigger was this YouTube video uploaded by somebody a few months ago from the Sea Scouts' final show in Melbourne in early 2000. Although the material is just a track from their last (and easily finest) album Beacon Of Hope with some shoddy video of the show, that was way more than enough to just push me right back into those weird September days in 1999.
Anyway, that's the sum total of my point in this post: This totally forgotten band from exactly the other side of the world from where I am is in fact nothing short of "Best. Band. Ever."! I will not let myself live and ultimately die without knowing that I've done my best to let other people know about them and not let our collective memory forget about them. I've had this dream for a while now of doing a reissue of all (or at least most) of their material on If Society, but since the main people (Monica, Tim and Alex) of the Sea Scouts are really hard to reach and since the labels that have initially put this stuff out are long-ago defunct tiny indies, it's going to take some work. Also, I'd really love to do it in a way that isn't half-assed, meaning there should be as much good material (artwork by Tim, audio, pictures...) to really make it worth it. If there's anybody out there reading this that can help, please get in touch!
Of all the people reading this who are unfamiliar with the Sea Scouts, most have most likely quit reading by now. The rest are no doubt hungry for some proof of the genious of the band. Go check out the page for the Beacon Of Hope -album on Last.fm for some streams of their best tracks!
(As a small piece of additional trivia, the artwork for Hero Dishonest's first album Pleasure/Disgust was done by Sea Scouts singer / guitarist Tim Evans, or more specifically they were dug out of a sketchbook he left behind - with his permission, naturally!)
Also, we were able to restock a few copies of their genious last album Beacon Of Hope a few weeks ago. We seriously have like 3 copies of this record and I have no clue if we'll ever get more, so do yourself a favor and get it. This is not an ad, this is a friend's advice. I just want these records to be heard and cherished. (Update 14.7.: sorry, sold the records out in a second, I wonder why?!)
Here's a few links to provide you with further information, but since the Sea Scouts disbanded before the internet had really taken off, the amount of data collected on them is rather scarse:
Wikipedia-page on the Sea Scouts
Lari Nerg's awesome tribute-page for the band
Some video material from the Sea Scouts' final show on YouTube
The Sea Scouts' Last.fm-page
Last.fm-page for the Sea Scouts' finest album that has some of their best stuff available for streaming!
Here's a few records we think you'd really enjoy (because we do)!