The Dumb and Ugly Club // Mars, 1967 / by g

It's been almost eight years since Michael Beauchamp and I released this record. Now, you can finally listen to it on the Internet:

The basic concept: a fictional space war on Mars in 1967 (and JFK is still the president). We thought we were being clever with this very strict creative constraint, but really, on some subconscious level, I see now we were just giving ourselves permission to talk about the wars that were ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. At that moment, the height of the G.W. Bush years, we felt helpless and disempowered, fiercely anti-war, but completely unable to do anything about it.

We recorded most of it in my living room and also collected field recordings by walking around Ann Arbor with a microphone. I produced it all on my laptop. Alexis Jakobson did all the design, mostly lifting and re-appropriating images from 50s and 60s science and space books.

We released it on the evening of November 19, 2005 at Arbor Vitae. Our opening band was Breathe Owl Breathe and we brought Matt Jones and Chris Bathgate on as our backing band. Someone suggested we dress as robots or spacemen, but we decided that would restrict our ability to sing and play instruments. I think it was a good call.

Putting it online is a nostalgic move on my part. When I listen back, I can hear that it doesn't all hold up. But the time and the people I was working with still occupy a dear place in my heart. Unlike a lot of other things I produced at this time, I'm still proud of it—and I still believe there was something a little magic about it.

Listen here >