Catching up with 75orLess

Six Star General's 'Hair Supply,' and a Coma Coma sighting
By CHRIS CONTI  |  October 24, 2013

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BACK IN ACTION Demers, Ulmschneider, and Sampson of Coma Coma.

Warren-based imprint 75orLess Records has supplied us with some excellent music over the past nine months — eclectic offerings from Allysen Callery, Northern Lands, the McGunks, and Haunt the House (aka Will Houlihan). And the 75orLess 4Q report is already shaping up nicely behind the label debut from singer-songwriter Dan Baker, plus the brand-new Six Star General album titled Hair Supply. And I can’t forget the really big news — a possible Coma Coma sighting! Could it be? Yes! Eric, Steve, and Dan are back with new tunes in tow.

The original plan was to run a full Six Star feature here in honor of Hair Supply and the release show slated for Saturday at the Parlour, but Six Star singer/bassist and label founder Mark “Slick” MacDougall was forced to cancel the gig due to an ongoing bout with diverticulitis. It’s tough timing for the trio, considering drummer Dan Ulmschneider had recently returned from a shoulder surgery that sidelined him for a few months; his first show back behind the kit was last month at the annual 75orLess-curated Fusion Fest. We’ll run a full feature when the CD release show is rescheduled, but Hair Supply is available now ($8 at 75orlessrecords.com) and should be on your radar. Six Star’s ninth studio release follows 2012’s Splinter and finds the band delving deeper into their sonic stoner influences (fans of Archers of Loaf and the Minutemen — look up Six Star ASAP) along with a few twists, like the haunting all-star choir (including Suicide Bill, Jodie Treloar, and Mark Cutler) that pops up at the end of “Christopher Walken,” the piano finale that creeps up on “I Don’t Know Where We’re Going,” and the nine-minute closer, “Breathe At Different Speeds.” Kyle Jackson’s patented guitar squalls come in waves on the killer one-two punch of “Trans Am Hands” and “I’m Expanding Slowly.” Hair Supply also features a revved-up rendition of Daniel Johnston’s “Life In Vain.” SSG could easily release a full album of covers, which over the years has included inspired takes on CCR, Screaming Trees, Jonathan Richman, and Cat Power (look up the trio’s version of “Metal Heart” on 2009’s Take Your Teeth Out). Another year, another kickass album from Six Star General.

“It feels really good to be back,” Ulmschneider recently told me regarding the arthroscopic labral surgery on his left shoulder. “I have dislocated my shoulders about five times over the past five years, and I’ll need to have my right shoulder operated on too, but will delay that as long as I can.”

It’s no wonder his shoulders were mangled, seeing how he also hits the skins for labelmates Coma Coma. Ulmschneider, singer/bassist Eric Sampson, and guitarist Steve Demers have cleaned up on our Best Music Poll over the last few years behind one of the tightest live sets you will witness around these parts. More than three years have passed since they released Chateau Rex. Well, it’s about fucking time to grace our ears with another album, and rumor has it they’ll hit the studio next month and begin recording the loooong-awaited follow-up. The band will fill in for Six Star at the Parlour, followed by what should be an epic shitshow at the Common Pub with the diePods next week. Coma Coma is another band with a penchant for jaw-dropping cover jams (e.g., Pavement’s “In the Mouth a Desert” and “Happy Man” by Sparklehorse) and Eric Sampson said to expect a cover of Dinosaur Jr’s “The Wagon.” I’m there.

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