Demo Universe - 3/20/02
By Jim Santos
Suran Song in Stag
Cowboys & Indians (double cd)
Cruel Music Records
Not many bands have the nerve to self-release a double album, still fewer able to devote said release almost entirely to covers of other artists' songs. If anyone could pull this off, its Suran Song, whose provocative, multimedia "guerrilla peformances" have been turning heads since the mid-'90s. (See my 1998 feature
on the band, as well as reviews of their two previous LPs, Shiny Objects  and Pure Agitator .)
Suran's answer to Bowie's Pin Ups is an unusual mix that pays tribute to influences both expected (Gang Of Four, Pretenders, Throwing Muses) and surprising (10,000 Maniacs, Duran Duran, the Chills), and a few that make sense only in retrospect (Lords of the New Church, The Jam). Each cover, as well the smattering of Stag originals, receives equally forceful treatment, built around Suran's spitfire vocals and William Weis' monstrous distorto-bass (props also to drummer Brad Yablonsky's spicy meat beats). Produced and recorded by Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, John Zorn, etc.), Cowboys & Indians is a bracing reminder of why post-punk once mattered and still does.