The Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files: The Sugarplastic’s Surly Sweetness

Dec 21st, 2006 // 9 Comments

bang.jpgTime for yet another installment of the Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files, where we blow the dust off of a forgotten favorite and give its lack of chart success a once-over.

Artist: The Sugarplastic
Album: Bang, The Earth Is Round, 1996
What happened: The Sugarplastic were signed to DGC in the mid-’90s, during that label’s post-Nirvana flush, and Bang came out in 1996. The singsongy “Polly Brown” was released as Bang‘s first radio track, but it didn’t stick in programmers’ minds, and the band landed in corporate-induced limbo. Eventually, they negotiated themselves out of their contract; they released their follow-up album three years later, and they’re still pumping out brainy, meandering pop. (They’ve even launched their own singles club.)
Why it should have been a hit: Bang is, no lie, one of the greatest 99-cent bin finds we’ve ever scored, and it can probably be one of yours, too, since every promo copy was seemingly sent out to used-CD emporiums for extra burrito money. It’s full of can’t-miss hooks and just-off-kilter guitar chimes. Really, we’d post the whole thing if we could; we’re still stunned that so many music writers completely slept on it, since it seems tailor-made for their pure pop sensibilities. Maybe it was the king-throwing-a-tantrum cover art?

The Sugarplastic – Another Myself [MP3, link expired]
The Sugarplastic – Don’t Sleep [MP3, link expired]
The Sugarplastic – Polly Brown [MP3, link expired]
The Sugarplastic [Official site]


  1. brasstax

    I’m impressed at how the Idolators wrote a whole couple paragraphs on the Sugarplastic without mentioning XTC one time.

  2. BillyK

    That is one seriously messed-up MP3.

  3. MTS

    When my radio station was cleaning out its collection a couple weeks ago, they nearly chucked his out. Thank heavens I was there to prevent this from happening.

  4. soundbitesnyc

    Around the time of Bang’s release, I remember seeing an interview with Abraham Benrubi, who played Jerry on ER (and Kubiac on Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) and the interviewer asked him what music he was listening to. He said he really liked The Sugarplastic… I just remember my jaw dropping.

  5. MTS

    This is not surprising. His dad is/was a pretty well known radio DJ in his hometown.

  6. Slappy McJackass

    I had a roommate in college who WOULD NOT STOP listening to this record. After a while, I was grudgingly forced to admit it is a great record. The chorus of “Montebello” is sublime.

  7. jody

    i’ve been trying to spread the gospel about this record for a decade now, with mixed results. when i mention the sugarplastic around my l.a. friends who were THERE in the ’90s they laugh at me.

  8. Jane Canary

    While I was in collage in 1994, the drummer’s mom audited a class I was taking. She hinted at trying to fix me up with him. My bratty 18 year old self didn’t want to take his mom’s advice and go down introduce myself the next time they played Jabberjaw. (Also, heaven forbid I spend more time at Jabberjaw than absolutely necessary). The Northridge quake hit and threw everything out whack, we never did meet up.

  9. forestbleu

    they actually got voted Best Pop Band in LA in the LA Weekly or something last year?! but i still haven’t met a Sugarplastic fan outside of a gig. i’ve been devoted to them ever since i bought their CD blindly at a $1/each Record Shop parking lot sale somewhere in Silverlake, SoCal. they make the heart go “weeeee!” i’m very delighted about this post!

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