Alan Vega, Alex Chilton, Ben Vaughn
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Alan Vega, Alex Chilton, Ben Vaughn

The unlikely union of Suicide's Alan Vega, Big Star's Alex Chilton, and singer-songwriter Ben Vaughn happened in December 1994 in a fog of cigarette smoke at two barely-lit, all-night improv sessions at Dessau Studios in New York.

What transpired was the group’s only release, a brilliant album called Cubist Blues.

Some kind of alchemy happened. The elements are disparate–Vega, known for Suicide’s grinding, pre-industrial drone, Chilton for his ultra-melodic FM rock, and…

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What transpired was the group’s only release, a brilliant album called Cubist Blues.

Some kind of alchemy happened. The elements are disparate–Vega, known for Suicide’s grinding, pre-industrial drone, Chilton for his ultra-melodic FM rock, and Vaughn for his outsider art. Put together, what came out was something totally unexpected, a long, mesmeric incantation built on Elvis-meets-Ian Curtis vocals, rockabilly guitar, growling synths, and metronomic drums.

A jam session at heart–albeit a very productive one–the songs took shape as they were recorded. “I showed up with lyrics for one song and figured we would see what happened,” says Vega, recalling the first night in the brand new liner notes. “Little did I know, we would record for hours and hours. By the last song, my brain was burning up. I literally felt myself on fire. I was depleted. Yet, we could have gone on and on.”

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