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Starship Beer

Starship Beer was a trio from upstate New York which, during the course of the 1970s, made some extraordinarily cacophonous, sophomoric, messy, and utterly out-to-lunch music. Their brilliant insane-asylum racket went undocumented, save for a single LP, Nut Music: As Free As the Squirrels, issued in 1979 in a batch of 1000 and out of print ever since. The band's members went on to other careers (most notably, Kevin Whitehead became a respected music journalist, known for his book New Dutch Swing and his NPR jazz commentary), but there were some who remembered. One was John Corbett, Atavistic's resident resuscitator of extreme and experimental musical arcana of the 1960s and '70s, who reissued Nut Music (along with a few bonus tracks from the '70s and '80s) through his celebrated Unheard Music series.

And kids, the term "nut music" doesn't even begin to do these sounds justice. Starship Beer creates a musical nuclear meltdown that could vie with Three Mile Island on the disaster meter. They capture the feeling of a nervous breakdown so effectively they're liable to give you one. The trio takes the hallucinatory blues skronk of Beefheart and the zany free association of Frank Zappa, the theatrical force and excess of early metal and prog, and the schizo improvisational furor of Albert Ayler and Dutch energy jazz, mixes in some country music on barbiturates and some Carole King on a whole lot of bad acid, and drops the whole horrifying mess into an industrial-strength blender, firmly secures the lid, and hits "emulsify." The results, friends, will shock and amaze you. So sit back, relax (if you can), and enjoy a few pints of Starship Beer. Where you'll end up is anyone's guess.

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