The scenario is very familiar. You walk into a coffee shop to grab a quick cup of joe to power you through the rest of the evening. In the corner, quietly crooning into a close-mic’d guitar is a small town songwriter or two, guitar cases eagerly splayed open for tips. Maybe you stay for a couple songs, drop a dollar in if you’re feeling particularly generous. If you had lived in Los Angeles in 1982, David Kauffman and Eric Caboor might’ve been haunting the corner of one the shops you visited, strumming their eerie pain out into the California ether. After several years struggling through this lifestyle, the Jersey-born Kauffman and Burbank-native Caboor pooled their loneliest, darkest songs and issued a parting shot at the music industry: 1984’s Songs From Suicide Bridge.
These aren’t depressing songs — they’re the vicious, living and breathing specters of depression itself. Recorded on a four-track in an old, renovated utility shed in the backyard of Caboor’s childhood Burbank home, Songs From Suicide Bridge is a collection of howling, morose dirges. The pair held a now-iconic photoshoot on the Colorado Street “suicide bridge” that connects Pasadena and Los Angeles and pressed 500 copies of their album. No miracles occurred, no savior appeared. Instead, the record went largely overlooked for three decades until reissue-specialist label Light In The Attic stumbled upon it, as they tend to do.
In advance of the album’s reissue, we’re premiering “Life Without Love,” a song that’s like a nightmarish, muted negative to an Eagles song. There’s nothing ambiguous about these forlorn, acing lyrics: “Somebody save me/ Throw out a line/ Life without love is destroying my mind.” Pretty sure if I heard that line alone tossed out in a coffee shop, I’d sit riveted through the whole set. Time can make anything sound like a revelation, but these two were tapping into some deeper wretchedness. It’s absolutely spell-binding, gruesome emotion drawn taut across wiry barbs of guitar. Listen below.
Songs From Suicide Bridge is out 5/12 via Light In The Attic. Pre-order it here.