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A New Creation Resurrected from Obscurity
January 16, 2009 12:46 PM   Subscribe

The New Creation was born in 1970 when Chris Towers, an unknown guitarist from Vancouver, decided to form a Christian rock group with his mother Lorna as lead singer and their neighbor Janet Tiessen on drums. Scared by reports of the hippie excesses of the Manson/Altamont era, Lorna Towers wrote doom-laden, apocalyptic lyrics for the New Creation's aptly titled album, Troubled. The band was unpolished, yet somehow captured a unique lo-fi sound comparable to a hybrid of the Velvet Underground and the Shaggs. The group might be totally forgotten today, if an aging hippie record dealer named Ty Scammel hadn't rescued a copy from a $1 bargain bin, leading to the album's rediscovery by collectors of Christian rock and outsider music.

Companion Records released a reissue CD that proved popular enough that the band not only re-formed, but released A Unique Disaster, a sequel CD inspired by the Book of Revelations and the Left Behind series. Now that an impossibly rare original copy of the New Creation's Troubled has appeared on EBay, rediscover the band once again with a great article from the Canadian blog, Alienated in Vancouver. Sound clips can be found here, and a fan video of the Status Quo Song can be found on YouTube.
posted by jonp72 (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
This rediscovery is a re-rediscovery, as Bellybongo had that LP up for years. And it is all they say it is!
posted by bonefish at 12:54 PM on January 16, 2009


It would suck 50% less if they just wouldn't sing.
posted by chillmost at 1:14 PM on January 16, 2009


I have that album. It has a weird eager-to-please yet apocalyptic puppydog charm to it. Old-school Jesus Freak rock was far less calculating than the 'Contemporary Christian' music of today, and a lot more listenable.
posted by jonmc at 1:23 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Must take opportunity to talk up Second Chapter of Acts here, a Jesus-freak outfit whose early stuff blows my mind, man. They have a weird tragic backstory also.
posted by emjaybee at 1:29 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marvelous. I have to say that musically they are better than The Shaggs, but the lead singer's voice is wonderfully lame (it's pretty obvious that she's someone's mom) and the lyrics are just beautifully naive.
posted by ob at 1:46 PM on January 16, 2009


Each one of us gave all we had, we believed in what we were doing. Finally, tired and spent with nothing more to add or fix, it seemed to me its success or failure was completely out of our hands. We said our goodbyes and thanks to the sound man, who really had been very patient with us, and walked out into the morning air. The sun was shining and we talked about breakfast. I believe we felt we had really done something.

There is a God.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:52 PM on January 16, 2009


The whole concept of "outsider music" is challenged by something like MeFi Music, which is a constantly replenished source of outsider musical maunderings, many of which put New Creation to shame for sheer lameness (and for undiscovered greatness). Is is possible to create genuine outsider music any more? What would happen if someone posted a Christian rock song to MeFi Music?
posted by Faze at 1:55 PM on January 16, 2009


First record on emusic: bag of WIN!!!!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2009


This is wonderful. People into this sort of love should also check out Christian Yoga Church's Turn On LP.
posted by jtron at 3:17 PM on January 16, 2009


Outsider music or not, this album makes me think Dennis Hopper is going to come ejaculate on me with an oxygen mask or that someone from Quentin Tarantino's fine oeuvre will end up blowing my brains out.

I am squicked by it is what I'm on about here. Squicked.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:30 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


these guys were featured as part of this comment. a lot of good links there.
posted by lester at 3:31 PM on January 16, 2009


All Is Well is a great song, slathered in reverb, with a real Jefferson Airplane feel to it. Which I doubt is what they were going for.
posted by kersplunk at 3:44 PM on January 16, 2009


Comparing this to the Shaggs does the Shaggs a huge disservice. Setting aside the question of what outsider music IS, I find it worth listening to when it provides some alternative or contrast to the rest of what I would hear called music.

In other words, when it offers me something mere lack of talent or practice couldn't.

The Shaggs did this, because they seem to have known few enough of the rules to not know the ones they were breaking. The Nihilist Spasm Band do this because they want to, despite knowing the rules.

These guys seem to know the rules, want to follow them, but just do a really bad job of following through. The more energy, thought, attention, and practice that the Nihilist Spasm Band puts into their music, the more fucked up the result will sound (in the most delightful of ways). I sincerely doubt you could say the same of these guys.

Feel free to like this music, and enjoy it with whatever ironic form of admiration you would like, but please don't don't think this is what outsider music is about, and please don't think my love of the Shaggs is ironic.

P.S. to ob: this is musically much much much worse than the Shaggs.
posted by idiopath at 5:24 PM on January 16, 2009


I'd download this.
posted by Jezztek at 5:52 PM on January 16, 2009


Why does A New Creation get a comeback, while Hello People doesn't, even after all my best efforts? (Maybe my best efforts have something to do with it?)

flying time, flying time, it's flying time...
with future shock!

Yep, earworm's still there...

posted by wendell at 6:14 PM on January 16, 2009


ideopath wrote: Comparing this to the Shaggs does the Shaggs a huge disservice. Setting aside the question of what outsider music IS, I find it worth listening to when it provides some alternative or contrast to the rest of what I would hear called music.

In other words, when it offers me something mere lack of talent or practice couldn't.


OK, I just want to understand: a lack of practice and talent makes good music -- to your ear? I just listened to three Shaggs tunes on Youtube. The singer can't carry a tune in a bucket, the drums lag behind, and it's out of tune. That somehow makes it good? (New Creation was awful too, of course, despite a positiive message) No offense, but what the hell are you talking about?
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:31 PM on January 16, 2009


seekerofsplendor: I did not say that lack of practice or talent makes good music. In fact I was trying to say something else entirely: that it was not lack of practice that makes the Shaggs sound like that - they practiced but were ignorant of conventional music. If an extremely talented drummer played "my pal footfoot", perfectly on the beat, it would still be pretty damn weird. Because there is more to the drumming than lack of skill. Like rock from an alternate reality. Similarly, you could try to play the guitar part in key, but they are using unconventional chords, so that you would have to do a complete rewrite of the song to make it sound "nice".

Maybe a shorter and simpler way to put it, is that New Creation are poorly executing something I am already all too familiar with, while the Shaggs are playing something that even if executed perfectly would still sound very odd.

It is like listening to music from some alien place. I fail to understand their conventions, I don't know their history of what is musical, I have not taken part in their conversation of what good music is. All I can do is listen in ignorance and try to make sense of it. And I find a new way to understand what music is.
posted by idiopath at 6:54 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey Wendell, I'm with you on the Hello People. I've picked up their first LP on ebay, and man, some of it holds up. Especially "Jerusalem" (but I liked that song when the album first came out). When is the Hello People revival going to happen? Keep pushing, man.
posted by Faze at 8:05 PM on January 16, 2009


No offense, but what the hell are you talking about?

it's like this - you can analyze the new creation, say if they had done this, or that, or the other thing, that they would be better (first order of business - tune your guitar!)

you can't analyze the shaggs - your brain will freeze trying
posted by pyramid termite at 8:49 PM on January 16, 2009


The difference between The New Creation and The Shaggs is that The New Creation I find enjoyable in an indie they're-playing-their-poor-little-hearts-out-to-make-beautiful-pop-music kind of way while The Shaggs turn my brain to mush, happywonderful mush. Like, what the hell is My Pal Foot Foot? What the hell... is... it?

To further demonstrate its weirdness, here's a cover of it by Japanese rockband Push Lives Against Yesterday. Goddamn it's a weird spectacle to watch, just completely, utterly wrong. I'll admit that I have to push against a desire not to listen to The Shaggs' music, but when I do I find the rewards are amazing.

Also, I love old Jesus freak rock. Larry Norman, especially, will forever have a place in my music collection. Here's his song U. F. O.
posted by Kattullus at 10:51 PM on January 16, 2009


idiopath writes The Shaggs did this, because they seem to have known few enough of the rules to not know the ones they were breaking. The Nihilist Spasm Band do this because they want to, despite knowing the rules.

These guys seem to know the rules, want to follow them, but just do a really bad job of following through. The more energy, thought, attention, and practice that the Nihilist Spasm Band puts into their music, the more fucked up the result will sound (in the most delightful of ways). I sincerely doubt you could say the same of these guys.


I think this nails the concept of Outsider Art. It's not just a question of being obscure, it's a question of musical/esthetic "education." A dude making tinfoil religious sculpture in his barn for fifty years is definitely obscure, but he's also engaging in an artistic practice without conventional training and with no idea of what the "rules" are for sculpture or religious thematics.

So I like A New Creation, but it's interesting to consider whether not they're truly "Outsiders."
posted by bardic at 12:10 AM on January 17, 2009


btw Kattullus, I'm pretty sure that band you linked is Chinese, not Japanese.
posted by bardic at 12:22 AM on January 17, 2009


Yeah... Taiwanese. Oops, that's embarrassing.
posted by Kattullus at 7:09 AM on January 17, 2009


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