Asthmatic Kitty Records

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Trumans Water

Trumans Water: the band history retains mystery. That’s a telling achievement here in the 21st Century’s second decade. L’information ain’t what it used to be. Curriculum vitae; elusive back-story; shadowy career arc; hard-won cumulative ‘n’ contextualizing data: specify, Google it — just a Wiki click away, eh?

Even TW’s maddeningly scattered discography can be had. Notably, said list includes three Peel Sessions — as in, live sets done/recorded/broadcast in/from London at the behest of the great BBC deejay John Peel, a name that is key toTrumans’ tale. It was the beloved rock-era-spanning Peelie(1939-2004, RIP) who plucked TW’s self-released ‘92 debut LP Of Thick Tum off a pile … That engaging disc — 300 pressed, “issued” by band in recycled album jackets; each faintly spray-painted-over and lovingly hand-crayoned back at Brockbank, TW’s legendary ancestral home in San Diego — was, at first, semi-randomly tracked by Peel on his influential show, aired worldwide. He loved it, expressing same via more talk/more rock: raved, phoned said band-house in SoCal live on-air for nascent group details from charmingly unaware residents — so très après ’net, non? — and, wow, played the entire rec … and so on.

Many older Trumans fans know this story. And to this day, owing to Peel from way back and ongoing reliable Euro-good-taste tendencies, the Water is way bigger in the British Isles and on the Continent than stateside. They’ve not been on any American label in years, micro-indie or otherwise. So it’s major that US indie Asthmatic Kitty is releasingTrumans Water’s new album O Zeta Zunis back home in the USA (see OZZ one-sheet deets). And, amidst swelling cheers, AK will also digitally present much of TW’s rich back-catalog.

Nonetheless, there are still telling names connected to the history of Trumans Water that may not signify to even the most devoted Water devotees, much less new acquaintances. Seek out/etc., and ye may find/perceive yer own non-linear narrative …

Oh, Thurston Moore, sure, already a known quantity: early fan of Trumans (who indeed got some then-correct comparisons to “early mid-period Sonic Youth” in those heady early-mid ‘90s). He actually contributed to the 1995Trumans alb Milktrain to Paydirt. But what about Santee, CA mechanic Thurman Swanner? (And don’t think you got it figured out just cuz you know that young Santee sportsman Stephen Strasburg also went to SDSU as did TW’sBranstetter brothers [fierce ballers, Kirk ‘n’ Kevin B., BTW — recollection indicates Team Water tanned Polvo’s hide in hoops back ‘n the day].)

Beck? Check. Big fan. Got Trumans off the road in Europe to come open for him while mega-touring during his breakthrough/how-ya-doin’-America “Loser”/Mellow Gold era — and what’s more, would himself cover TW’s epic “Aroma of Gina Arnold” (a Spasm Smash goldie), enlisting sundryTrumans-men to assist on stage.

Azalia Snail? Don’t say you don’t — you kinda should. (“American avant-garde singer-songwriter …[1] …psych folk and indie rock [2] …the 1990s lo-fi music scene …[3] … dubbed the “Queen of lo-fi …” — now, was that so hard?) She and Trumans Water (and Supreme Dicks-ter Daniel Oxenberg) did a sui generis fab free-form-y rock/out album that, um, is, let’s say, less a trib to a famous Argie tango pianist (lo siento, Atilio) and more a nod to a certainOsmotic Tongue Pressure-championing scribe …

And, well-well-well, how about that enduringly, awesomely enigmatic “69-year-old drummer [surely now in his 80s]Andres Malinao”? Still in the mix 15-yrs-+ down the road!

Yes, all this and more awaits, to a soundtrack of inspiredTrumans Water guitar-strangle — and nary a misplaced possessive apostrophe, merci v. much.

–David R. Stampone