Fish & Roses just may be the friendliest-sounding band that can trace its roots back to NYC’s late-’70s no wave scene. Formed in the fall of 1985 by drummer Rick Brown (ex-Information, V-Effect), bassist Sue Garner (ex- Vietnam, Last Roundup) and keyboard player David Sutter, Fish & Roses eschew guitar, which gives the material a feel that is both convoluted and light. Meanwhile, the songs’ political dimension has something in common with the Minutemen.
Both of Fish & Roses’ records are excellent. The full-length We Are Happy to Serve You may be a better introduction than the seven-song Fish & Roses, since it includes the classic “Hillbilly in a Can” (Georgia-born Garner’s best recorded vocal turn) and a wide selection of other post-beat hoot. Those looking for Rick Brown’s coolest singing, however, are advised to seek out Noisy Champs by Les Batteries, his drum trio with Etron Fou’s Guigou Chenevier and Charles Hayward (of Quiet Sun/This Heat fame). On this singular LP, Rick howls a cover of Harry Partch’s “The Letter” that is absolutely breathtaking.