Among the largely unsung alternative bands of the 1980s was this brooding, psychedelic and vaguely spiritual post-punk group from Los Angeles, led by singer William Faircloth. The group released two amazing albums before it disbanded in 1992; it reportedly reformed a few years back. Now its long-out-of-print music is available again, as the first installment in Independent Project Records' new reissue program.
A beautifully designed work of art, this package consists of an oversized, four-color "Discfolio" printed on IPR director Bruce Licher's vintage hand-fed, 2-ton letterpress. It contains 1988's Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon and 1989's If Tomorrow I Were Leaving for Lhasa, I Wouldn't Stay a Minute More ..., and a third disc of raw, previously unreleased demos along with fold-out lyric sheets.
While running IPR since 1980 and designing all manner of printed ephemera and memorabilia, Licher has released albums by such bands as Camper Van Beethoven, For Against, Half-String and his bands, Savage Republic and Scenic.
It's a genuine treat to hear and own these albums again. Dancing is very good, a solid debut. But If Tomorrow I Were Leaving for Lhasa is the band's masterpiece.
A quarter of a century ago, Red Temple Spirits may have struggled for a larger audience, but today their music feels fresh and ahead of its time.