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The Blues Astronauts: A Lost Blues

The coolest thing about randomly searching the dregs of the interwebs is encountering something that you have no connection to, no relationship to in anyway and just sampling it. More often than not, whatever disc that ends up being, it stinks. On occasion, it's an entertaining listen and pretty rarely is it going to change ones perception of music. The Blues Astronauts are in the middle somewhere. The band doesn't stink, but there's nothing that really presents itself as overly unique and note worthy. It might be worth one's time, but not necessarily.

Coming from some Yale University students - an odd place seemingly - the Blues Astronauts were of the same crop of post-punkers that were able to at least have heard about no-wave, if none of them actually experienced it first person. That brief musical movement - as much conceptual as anything else - worked on the players that would follow it by figuring that a band's inclusion of any musical antecedent would yield something, if not something good. These Yale students took heed and as a result set down a brief set of thirty some odd minutes under the title of No Sanctuary.

And even if the moniker of the group - and its inclusion here on a site devoted to a specific genre - hints at some strict connection to the blues, the fact that these folks (Paul Bloodgood on vocals, Michael Albrecht on guitars & bass, Jodie Myers on bass, guitar & vocals, Dan Perlman beating drums, Boo Elmer blowing trombone and Willy MacMullen blaring some harmonica) considered themselves Astronauts lends a genuine insight to the music. There're hints of everything here. And even the lead off track, "Tela," cops a bit of a Latin tinge and could be a distant descendent of Santana minus the fiery guitar work.

But sporting a rock band replete with a one man horn section allowed the Blues Astronauts to get into funk territory as well. Over at DigialMeltd0wn, NØ who posted the disc, posited that there was a bit of James Chance in here on a few tracks. "Tabor," comes closest, but this could really just be nothing more than some white dudes raving up a groove with a band that attempts to get into the blues on occasion. There certainly isn't anything here as grating or adventurous as Chance or anyone else from the no wave scene, although the name check does serve to root the band in a specific time.

At times, Tin Huey, an Akron geek band, seems as close a reference as anything else. But again, the Blues Astronauts are of a time when this kind of rock mash up was becoming increasingly popular. The Talking Heads funked up some weird rock music previously - but Bloodgood's vocals sit closer to punk territory than David Byrne's.

I  suppose that No Sanctuary ends up being something nice to know about as opposed to something that'll get tossed on to enjoy or to freak out party guests. But the album remains an adroit attempt to incorporate a buncha different musical elements even if, in the end, no one really got to know about it.