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Transmissionary Six - Go Fast for Cheap

  by John Clarkson

published: 3 / 8 / 2003

Transmissionary Six - Go Fast for Cheap
Label: Return To Sender
Format: CD


Constantly engaging and enjoyable alternative rock reissue from Transmissionary Six, which reworks and builds upon their ultra-limited hinah label release, 'De Soto', from last year

The Transmissionary Six have been working to an ultra busy pace since they first formed in mid 2001.The Seattle-based band, which features ex-Willard Grant Conspiracy member Paul Austin on guitars and Walkabouts drummer Terri Moeller on vocals and percussion,self-released an impressive and atmospheric eponymous debut studio album at the beginning of 2002. It was promptly picked up upon by the Portland, Oregon-based label, FILM Guerrero, which subsequently put it out in another edition with a new sleeve some months later. The band has now recorded an equally satisfactory follow-up, ‘Spooked’, which came out in America in April, again on FILM Guerrero, and is due for release on Normal Records in Europe in September. The Transmissionary Six also tour regularly. They are due to embark on a second three week tour of Europe in November, and play frequent shows up and down the West Coast of America. As if all this hasn’t been plenty enough , they also found the time last year to put together a live album, ‘De Soto’, which recorded on a Seattle-based pirate radio station boat, the De Soto of the title, on a wet Sunday March afternoon, was released originally on the French micro-label hinah in a limited edition of just 50 copies. Austin has since put out another edition of the album of 100 white label copies.Interest in the ‘De Soto’ recording has been such though that it has now been released for a third time in the space of the year, this time on the German-based Return to Sender live label in a far larger run of 2000 copies, and under the new working title of ‘Go Fast for Cheap’. Moeller and Austin have taken the opportunity on ‘Go Fast For Cheap’ to brush up the original hinah recording, and also to add some extra tracks, which didn’t make the final edit of ‘De Soto’. As Austin describes it in some amusingly anecdotal sleeve notes which accompany the new CD : “We thought maybe we should go back and fix the mistakes ; instead we decided to just add a few new touches. In fact, I think we added even more mistakes. Oh, well !”. They are joined by Kevin Suggs, a member of another locally-based group, country act, Evangeline, on pedal steel and baritone guitar, and Anne Marie Ruljanich, who tours regularly with the Walkabouts and Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, on backing vocals and violin. Perhaps, not surprisingly, considering that the first album had only been out a couple of months at the time it was recorded, 'Go Fast for Cheap' consists largely of the same songs from that CD. Many of the trademarks that make that debut album such an enticing option-Moeller's eerie, ethereal vocals and enigmatic lyrics ; Austin's reflective,brooding guitarwork and the group's cinematic sound-are still all present, but 'Go Fast for Cheap' carries a weight of its own as well. Recorded acoustically with little radio ditties and hazes of static linking the songs, it is tinged with a robust sense of echo that is largely absent from that first recording. Suggs' gusts of baritone guitar and humming pedal steel, and Ruljanich’s freestyling violin also help to further enhance the original songs. One song, 'Dog Eared', barely two minutes long in its first version, is stretched out to nearly five minutes with a languid, but thoughtful extended instrumental work out at its beginning. '‘Go Fast for Cheap’ also features three songs which didn’t appear on ‘Transmissionary Six’. The haunting ‘Big Game Hunter’, which appears on the new ‘Spooked’ album, is one of three tracks (alongside ‘Marooned’ and ‘Mothball') that are not present on the hinah record , and is slow-burning and sinister. The otherwise unavailable ‘Purely Medicinal’ has a choppy, folkish sound. Best of all, however, is a reworking of Talk Talk's orchestral 'I Believe in You' from their 1988 'Spirit of Eden' album , which stripped to raw basics, is everything that a good cover should be, and, as does nearly all of 'Go Fast for Cheap', successfully retains the vision of the original, but also manages to build on it as well. The ‘De Soto’ original has always deserved, like so much of the hinah catalogue, to be heard by far more than a lucky few. The Transmissionary Six may indeed have gone fast for cheap with this reworking of that album, but, constantly engaging and enjoyable, it is, in this extended and altered form, worth every cent of extra mileage. Pennyblackmusic has five copies of ‘Go Fast for Cheap’ to give away as competition prizes. To win a copy of this great album , please check out the Transmissionary Six competition in our Features section.

Track Listing:-
1 Lora the Night Hostess
2 Clay Man Down
3 Mothball
4 I Believe in You
5 Paper Party Hat
6 Rodeo Satellite
7 Marooned
8 Big Game Hunter
9 Purely Medicinal
10 Dogeared
11 Shortwave Goodbye

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Interview with Paul Austin and Terri Moeller (2003)
Transmissionary Six - Interview with Paul Austin and Terri Moeller
The project of Walkabouts' drummer Terri Moeller and former Willard Grant Conspiracy guitarist Paul Austin, Transmissionary Six are about to release a second album, 'Spooked'.John Clarkson speaks to them about it and their forthcoming first European tour
Interview with Paul Austin (2002)

digital downloads


Cosmonautical (2008)
Uplifting and epic-sounding chamber pop on fifth album from previously melancholic Seattle-based band the Transmissionary Six, which is their most accessible album to date
Radar (2006)
Get Down (2005)
Desoto (2002)
Transmissionary Six (2002)

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