Album Mini-review: Alan Vega / Alex Chilton / Ben Vaughn – Cubist Blues
File next to: Tav Falco and Panther Burns, Suicide, Jesus and Mary Chain
One of the more unlikely musical summits in recorded history, this one-off album was made in two days in December 1994 and is finally back in print. All three participants brought the baggage of their individual reputations: Big Star refugee Alex Chilton was notorious for his cavalier approach, as evidenced by the tossed-off nature of albums like Bach’s Bottom and Like Flies on Sherbert. Alan Vega‘s work with Suicide proved him as uncompromising an artist as one could conceive, while Ben Vaughn was the most singer-songwriterly of the lot. Cubist Blues succeeds at its stated goal of recording controlled chaos: sounding as if it was captured live in an empty warehouse, the album’s production aesthetic is decidedly one-note (not to mention one-take). Perhaps best described as “late-night, laid-back psychobilly,” this is a timeless document of outsider artists doing their thing.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.