Sickness and Health
Now available on Second Shimmy, the 20th anniversary release of “Sickness and Health” by The Semibeings, newly remastered by Kramer. Sickness and Health was Shimmy-Disc’s 78th release, produced by Kramer and recorded at Noise New Jersey during the summer of 1994.
The original album had the unique distinction of being named one of the top five Shimmy-Disc releases by Kramer himself. The newly remastered version of this lost gem of generation X youth sounds more sonically propulsive and exciting than ever. As with the times that it was recorded (a few months after Kurt Cobain’s suicide during the summer of “Woodstock 94”) it is an album that is equal parts sickness, equal parts health. The band cries out for maternal embraces, which are somehow found in their bloody knuckles and guitar strings. The iconic front cover says it all. The music is a reminder of lost pain.
Bands don’t make albums like this anymore. They rarely did in 1994 for that matter. Should they?
Option magazine’s review of the album stated “This New Jersey quintet makes a Kramer-produced psychedelic sound that’s got one foot in the grave, one foot at a rave, and the middle leg pissing on the alterna-rock scene.”
Formed in 1991, The Semibeings, from Trenton New Jersey, consisted of brothers Joe Baker (vocals, guitar) and Pat Baker (guitar), Keith Monacchio (vocals, guitar), Tom McDonald (bass), and Dave Von Bargen (drums). The band were regular performers within the New York club scene during the 90’s as well as in their hometown at clubs like City Gardens. The Semibeings were the only band known to use acoustic guitars through giant amps at full volume. Their manic and chaotic sets often resulted in broken strings and streaks of blood splashed over their guitars. Recorded in 4 days, Sickness and Health is the definitive audio snapshot of this sound.
RollingStone.com stated, “Their intricate, dreamy songs have a propulsive and hard-edged quality that at times sounds like a non-distorted Screaming Trees or a more varied, faster Codeine. The songwriting is shockingly gorgeous”.
The Semibeings had self-released two albums, and Sickness and Health served as their first release on an independent label, Shimmy-Disc. Their next album “Three Pawns Standing”, also produced by Kramer, would be released on Seattle’s C/Z Records, but Sickness was the last album consisting of the original five-piece band.
Sickness and Health
Produced by KRAMER and The Semibeings
Engineered by Steve Watson
Originally released September 12, 1995 (Shimmy 078).
1. I’m a Man (J. Baker) 6:17
2. In (K.Monacchio; P. Baker; T. McDonald; D. Von Bargen) 3:31
3. Flower (K. Monacchio) 4:35
4. Warped Masquerade (K. Monacchio; P. Baker) 4:15
5. Patricia Gladwell 12/16/66 (J. Baker) 4:19
6. I’m a Film (J. Baker) 3:06
7. Pulse (K. Monacchio) 3:19
8. I’m Alone (J. Baker) 4:17
9. I Am ( K. Monacchio; P. Baker)
10. Wise Baby (J. Baker) 7:30
11. Preaching for My Life (J. Baker) 4:10
12. Save Me (K. Monacchio; P. Baker) 2:41
13. Eye (P. Baker) 1:44