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Down With Liberty...Up With Chains

Chain and the Gang

Down With Liberty...Up With Chains

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Ian Svenonius (Make Up, Nation Of Ulysses, Weird War) and his band have created sing alongs on this record; a call and response in the tradition of gospel tunes, work favorites, and the girl groups and vocal aggregates that once dotted the corners of the Mid-Atlantic states. This record is simple and profound, the way a pebble on the beach is. There are no song cycles, sample beats, sequencers, or baby pictures of the artist as a tot.


An incestuous affair even for K Records, Chain and the Gang boast an indie all-star lineup with members of Old Time Relijun, Desolation Wilderness, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Finally Punk, the Curious Mystery, Hornet Leg, the Vibrarians, and K-Records' head honcho himself, Calvin Johnson. In all, 14 people back Nation of Ulysses/Make-Up vocalist Ian Svenonius, who effortlessly and haphazardly drizzles his words over the lo-fi collective's minimal slop. With an elitist hipster charisma, Svenonius sounds like a cross between Alan Vega and Jim Carroll (in other words, a curt but affable loud-spoken New Yorker type) as he lectures in loose rhymes over simple song structures. Guitar, drums, fuzz bass, organ, some sax, and percussion (including claps) push the girl group sha na nas and railroad work songs on Down with Liberty...Up with Chains! into art punk territory, that, in typical K fashion, was recorded in an always raw, basement recording style. A few songs miss the mark and sound like unrehearsed jams, but at the album's middle, things get soaring and peak with the highlights "What Is a Dollar?," "Interview with the Chain Gang," and "Deathbed Confession" -- three thoughtful songs that poke jabs at "a society rotten with fascists," as Svenonius might say, while staying true to their lax, clownish roots.

Additional Information

Artist Chain and the Gang
Track Listing 1 Chain Gang Theme (I See Progress) - 2:44 2 Cemetery Map - 4:30 3 Trash Talk - 3:01 4 Reparations - 2:59 5 What Is a Dollar? - 3:51 6 Interview with the Chain Gang - 3:02 7 Deathbed Confession - 5:27 8 Room 19 - 3:23 9 (Lookin' for A) Cave Girl - 4:01 10 Unpronounceable Name - 3:53

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