Currently featuring founding members Cynthia Sley (vocals), Pat Place (guitar) and Dee Pop (drums) along with newest recruit Val Opielski, the New York-based act Bush Tetras can trace their origins back to when Sley, Place, Pop and Laura Kennedy (bass) formed the band back in 1979. Interestingly, their full-length debut Too Many Creeps was considered one of their scene’s defining moments as it accurately captured the vibe, feel and ethos of that scene’s particular moment.
Building upon a growing profile, the members of Bush Tetras were an opening act during The Clash’s legendary, spring 1981 17 show run at Bond International Casino. After the release of their Topper Headon-produced Rituals EP, which featured the chart-placing “Can’t Be Funky,” Laura Kennedy and Dee Pop left the band and were replaced by Bob Albertson (bass) and Don Christensen (drums); however, the band broke up.
For the better part of the next three decades, the members of the band were fairly elusive, although interestingly enough, the band’s original lineup reunited on a couple of occasions — in 1995, which resulted in 1997’s Beauty Lies and recording sessions the following year, which resulted in a Don Fleming-produced album that was shelved when Mercury Records was sold. That album was finally released in 2012.
In 2005, Julia Murphy replaced Kennedy and they resumed playing and touring across New York. The band toured across Europe the following year. Sadly, Laura Kennedy died in 2011 after a long battle with liver disease. In 2013, Cindy Rickmond, a former member of Cheap Perfume, Grayson Hugh, Church of Betty and Unknown Gender briefly replaced Murphy. And in 2016, Val Opielski, a former member of Krakatoa, Walking Hellos, PSXO and 1000 Yard Stare joined the band.
Last year saw the release of Take The Fall EP through Wharf Cat Records, the first batch of new music from the band in over 10 years. Over the winter, Third Man Records cleared their Cass Corridor showroom floor, invited the band down to Detroit — and enlisted the help of Third Man Mastering’s Bill Skibbe and Warren Defever to record their recently released “There is a Hum”/”Seven Years” 7 inch. A side single “There is a Hum” is a slashing bit of post punk, reminiscent of Entertainment-era Gang of Four and Sonic Youth — but seething with a neurotic anxiousness. B side single “Seven Years” manages to be a mischievously anachronistic track that sounds as though it could have been released at any point within the past 30 years. The glitchy and spastic track features some blistering and energetic guitar work centered around cowbell-led percussion and a sinuous bass line. Both tracks find the legendary post punk/No Wave act boldly reminding the listener that although it’s been a while, they play with a fury, passion and purpose that many younger acts lack.