Spoils of Randomness: The Satellite Circle

Actually, what I said was, "There's no way that's not a stoner CD, right?" I don't often not speak in double negatives.As last weekend’s New England adventures played out, I found myself Saturday afternoon in Providence, Rhode Island, tracing along the racks at Armageddon Shop. I’d never been there before, don’t know when I’ll get back, but found it on the Record Store Day website (which is pretty handy as a database of indie shops around the country) and after seeing the considerable catalog posted on their own site, decided it wouldn’t be such a terrible way to pass some time.

And it wasn’t. The racks of used CDs were horizontal so you looked at the spines of the discs, there was plenty of vinyl around and not much standing room, Hank Williams coming from the speakers in a store with one of the coolest Melvins posters I’d ever seen. Nothing to complain about. I picked up a couple odds and ends; some Grief, Roadsaw, a Blind Guardian live record, Mobile by Dutch rockers Beaver, the digipak version of the last Type O Negative (I don’t care what anyone says, those are stoner riffs Kenny Hickey is playing), a surprising find in the first Monolithe CD which is something I genuinely never thought I’d own, and solely based on the artwork, knowing nothing about it, for $6.99, the self-titled album from The Satellite Circle.

I stood at the counter and asked the good-humored guy on the other side, “That’s pretty much gotta be a stoner rock CD, right?” He took a look at the front, turned it over in his hand, said, “Yeah, that’d be my guess,” and continued ringing up my purchases. My wife rolled her eyes.

Quick, no one look at the camera.Obviously then, The Satellite Circle (which I’d later find out was released by British label Rage of Achilles in 2001) was the first to go in the car CD player. I had to know what it was I’d bought. Sure enough, The Satellite Circle raged out in the classic rock tradition, throwing some psychedelic fluidity in for good measure and laying down a solid groove all the while. It wasn’t the most original or the best stoner rock record I’d ever heard, but hey man, I dug it well enough. Cool riffs, decent vocals, little to no bullshit. Easily worth $7 used. Check them out on the MySpace and hear for yourself.

The thing was though, as I listened to the cowbell pounding on “You Were Never the King” and “Simplicity,” I had to laugh. I mean, here was this record by this band I’d never heard of, and I grabbed it just because it looked like what it turned out to be. Total book by its cover on one hand, but on the other hand, I think it says something about how strongly established the branding, look and feel of stoner rock is. It’s kind of nice to be able to just grab this random-ass CD off the shelf and know that I’m going to at least be somewhat into what the band has going on. It’s like being able to read a code not everyone understands. I doubt in the long run The Satellite Circle will rank among my greatest purchases, but it’s an album I’d at least recommend others to check out, which is what I’m doing now.

Secondary point: keep your eyes open. Just because you haven’t heard of something you stumble on doesn’t mean you should disregard it entirely. And by you, I mean me. And by don’t disregard, I mean spend money. Killer.

The action shot!

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2 Responses to “Spoils of Randomness: The Satellite Circle”

  1. M83 says:

    I interviewed their bass player back in the day on my site.
    nice blog.. thanks

  2. F**k that´s me holding the bass. Thanks for a cool post. I wish we had made a strong follow up after the album, but a lot of stuff happening prevented us from doing so.

    I like the first EP a lot.

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