The San Francisco band cover (and collaborate with) an outsider music cult figure on their latest release.
Thirteen years ago I reviewed the wonderfully weird Songs in the Key of Z outsider music compilations for PopMatters, and on Volume Two was a kooky Electric Prunes cover by someone called the Space Lady. With her Casiotone blipping away, Susan Dietrich became a cult figure, busking on street corners in Boston and San Francisco, and releasing a pair of obscure albums in the 1990s.
San Francisco band Burnt Ones are fans of the Space Lady, to the point where they've recorded a split release with her, with one side featuring four tracks by the band, the other with four new covers by Dietrich. Among Burnt Ones' tracks is a wonderful, starry-eyed, psychedelic interpretation of the Space Lady's signature track "Synthesize Me".
"I heard 'Synthesize Me' on a college radio station a few years ago while I was driving across the Bay Bridge," says Mark Tester. "I had heard a couple of the Space Lady's covers on different mixes, and whatnot, but that song just completely floored me at that moment and led me to delve in to the rest of the Space Lady's music more extensively.
"Reinterpreting music and art is so interesting because it captures just how differently everyone's personal antenna and filters receive and send. Living life, highs and lows and all that, informs how we hear and take in music and, in turn, how we spit it back out again. I think that sentiment is really present in a lot of the Space Lady's covers and hopefully it peers out a bit in our cover of "Synthesize Me", as well."
The Space Lady & Burnt Ones will be released on 16 October.