Capital Punishment were a teenage band who formed in New York City in 1979. They took their influences from Throbbing Gristle, Brian Eno, Chrome and Cabaret Voltaire. Roadkill was their only album and was self-released. The interesting thing about them is their line-up, however. Supreme Court Justice Peter Swann, professor Peter Zusi, actor Ben Stiller and Kriss Roebling, whose family built the Brooklyn Bridge. LP and CD on Captured Tracks.
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I uh, I’m pretty confused about this record. The press release cites some interesting influences, including Chrome and Throbbing Gristle, but then it just throws in that Ben Stiller was in this band? And that he went on Jimmy Fallon and talked about it? The music simply does not match up -- it’s a cracked schematic of collaged noise punk that owes more to Beefheart than the movie Anger Management. Further reading reveals one of the band members went on to be a supreme court justice judge, another is a professor and the family of the other guy helped build the Brooklyn bridge.
Dude, what? I’d understand if they were just some guys who’d gotten together and made some seriously nothing alt rock, but this record is art punk and ambient and sampledelic avant-garde. It sounds like something that would’ve influenced your local scenes best dissonances. The record is an absolute trip and seems to have been a place for all their stupidest and most unsounded inclinations. It also has plenty of that kind of energy you only get when you’re recording dumb music with your friends that you expect no one will ever have a chance at hearing afterward: “Confusion” snarls with stupid melodies and whirring sound effects, a broken down jam of nonsense contained within stringent rhythm. The rockabilly of “Delta Time” is wonderful and unleashes some sparse cowpunk riffs alongside furiously growled vox, suggesting the band could rock straightforwardly as well as diagonally -- as long as it still felt like goofing off.
Who knew a bunch of industry folks had it in them to make a record like this? It’s the kind of experimental rock record that is non-stop fun and interesting to listen to and it makes me wonder serious things about, stuff, and, I don’t know, sorry, this is the first time a press release has fully bowled me over and I don’t know what to say but in 1979 these were very, very different people, I guess? This is fake, right. It's fake?
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- Roadkill by Capital Punishment
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