NICE STRONG ARM : Reality Bath LP (Homestead, 1987)

armF photo armF_zps678ce9ee.jpg
armB photo Picture4_zps9ea39385-1_zpsbbdab60e.jpg
Arm_zpsef0b7477 photo Arm_zpsef0b7477.jpg
Nice Strong Arm's debut Reality Bath LP was one of my inaugural shares on this blog, originally posted way back in early 2009...

I can't remember how I originally acquired it, though the sleeve of my copy has a tell-tale, brutal corner nick, suggesting it was a promo copy that Selectadisc had dumped in their already crammed second hand racks. Of course, the late '80s was a boom time for off-centre guitar music, & if a record was cheap, released by Homestead Records, & generally looked a bit odd, I'd more than likely risk a few quid on it, secure in the knowledge I could offload it the following week if my cream remained unclotted. Reality Bath ticked all 3 boxes.

26 years on, I still know virtually nothing about Nice String Arm, merely that they were a shadowy trio of Austin origin (thereby continuing Texas' steadfast psychedelic lineage - from The Elevators & The Red Krayola, via The Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, & The Jesus Lizard, to latter day psychotropic explorers like The Black Angels, & Charalambides), & that Reality Bath's eye-catching Allen Burris sleeve art seemed to be everywhere when it first appeared. Presumably still flush from Sonic Youth's early success, Long Island's prolific Homestead Records issued it alongside a seemingly non-stop sequence of Live Skull, Volcano Suns, Phantom Tollbooth, & Death of Samantha albums - quickly cementing the "Homestead sound" (hint: there wasn't one). Despite being granted acres of column inches & advertising space by the more reliable underground music mags of the era (Forced Exposure, Chemical Imbalance, Your Flesh, Option, et al), Reality Bath was lost in the vinyl melĂ©e & quickly achieved a forlorn bargain bin omnipotence. Tellingly, I've never met anybody else who owns a copy, so I assume, despite it's bottom dollar "remaindered" status, virtually no-one bought it at the time...

Though they'd release a further 2 albums, neither equaled the often downright peculiar Reality Bath for bent-minded, quasi-grunge hallucinogenica. It's finest moments still remind me of Helios Creed's earliest solo records - a bedraggled, patchouli-reeking, backwoods Hendrix figure, staggering out of a drug-warped American south in oil-stained bells & a tatty Guru Guru t-shirt. It's never been granted a CD issue either (a 2-fer with 1988's Mind Furnace would've made complete sense) so, like many outstanding Homestead records of the period, it sadly slipped off radar some time ago.


  1. Sounds interesting .......

  2. Well, it's definitely "of it's time" (i.e. mid-to-late 1980s), but it's curiously timeless too... work that one out!

    Needless to add, I really like it.

  3. Anonymous25.4.13

    the singer/guitarist went on to be in TIMCO in SF...haven't heard the albums in years, but I loved their live shows.

  4. Anonymous17.3.14

    Just picked up on this entry. Reality Bath is one of my top 40 albums of all time. Bought it on a whim same day I collared a copy of EVOL and it's lived me ever since. 3 piece fabulous drifting Psyche Rock Noise that always sounded like there were 3 wigged out guitarists playing off each other. They never hit the same peaks again everything after sounded like a 3 piece rock band. Sad but hey....this album will live with me forever. I like "Rooksby's comment - "of it's time but curiously timeless" its true.