April 21st, 2012 | Album reviews


Shot Forth Self Living/The Buried Life

Captured Tracks

Once upon time, codeine cough syrup sold over the counter, Quaaludes on the black market.  Kids like me stared at our bedroom ceilings with “Cherub Rock” on the tape deck to match the apocalyptic grandeur of our emotions.  Psychedelic pop met industrial noise and gave us the romantic nihilism of Loveless.  Rick Rubin’s American Recordings hosted Sir Mix-a-Lot, but also JAMC, Skinny Puppy, Pram and Love and Rockets – and those most American of dark dreamers, LA’s own Medicine.

Now the ‘90s obsessives at Captured Tracks are giving Medicine their due with reissues of the band’s first two albums, Shot Forth Self Living and The Buried Life, on vinyl and digital/CD.  Both records will come with companion volumes of B-sides, and both double discs contain B-sides plus demos and live cuts.  The records will also be available in a box with Sounds of Medicine, a live cassette and a twenty page booklet.  The package debuts on Record Store Day and marks SFSL’s twentieth anniversary.

The commemoration has begun with a 7” single of “Time Baby,” a song with a story.  “Time Baby 1” was a Shot Forth-era demo.  “Time Baby 2,” the single version, remained unreleased.  So did “Time Baby VDP,” Van Dyke Parks’ arrangement for The Buried Life.  Listeners know “Time Baby 3,” which Robin Guthrie produced for The Crow soundtrack with fellow Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser on vocals.  The reissue includes them all.

Medicine’s Brad Laner describes the subject matter as “girls, drugs, girls on drugs.”  Indeed, songs like “Miss Drugstore” bring to mind the pre-correctional days of Drew and Winona, untied Doc Martens and scuffed mary janes.  If only the new century were as tragically enamored of fucked up women with more edge than Lindsay Lohan.  Thankfully, these records tell the tale.

-Bonnie Johnson