Chris Crofton and the Alcohol Stuntband's new album is being held up by a woman with no arms 

All Capps

All Capps

If anyone has a contact for Louise Capps, please pass it along to Chris Crofton. The armless woman from Gunbarrel City, Texas, is holding up the release of his album.

It's not her fault, and it's really not Crofton's either. Flashback to the crowded shelves at McKay Used Books, where Crofton's eye was caught several years ago by a photo of a severely deformed man with elephantiasis. Turns out he was looking at the cover of a 1981 Canadian documentary called Being Different, which Crofton later found was "really popular among exploitation documentary super-nerds." He bought the doc and was especially taken with the footage of Capps, who's shown driving a car with her feet and expressing her hopes of becoming a Playboy Bunny.

He found Capps' segment so compelling that he not only wrote a song about her — titled, "She Smokes With Her Feet" — but included it on his new album THELEMA! with an audio clip of her voice. Alas, there's the problem. The record press handling the vinyl release won't put out the LP until Crofton gets clearance from somebody. Not even the doc's producer, legendary Canuxploitation vet Don Carmody, knew exactly who held the rights. He suggested contacting Louise Capps ... wherever she may be.

So there we are. As of press time, Crofton has a record release show scheduled for Friday at The 5 Spot with no records to release. (Placeholder CDs will be available.) It's a shame too, because THELEMA! is a flame-throwing, fire-breathing dragon of a hard-rock album, swaggering with threat and ambition. Recorded with Crofton's Alcohol Stuntband, it is, he says, nothing less than his crack at an anthemic, arena-razing Springsteen album — albeit one with songs about a woman who smokes with her feet.

Its near-metal sound and brazen theatricality are the product of an aesthetic honed in the late '80s and early '90s, Crofton says while hunched over a coffee at the Gulch Turnip Truck.

"It was a great time for independent music," Crofton says, a Kwik-Set Fasteners cap clamped down on his head above his intense, searching eyes. "Adult people could make a living making music." That stands in ugly contrast to now, he says, and the reason is simple: "Trust fund kids make shitty music."

No one will mistake THELEMA! for a hedge-fund holiday. The record's shot through with the edgy energy and abrasive wit of Crofton's Nashville Cream podcasts and his stand-up routines — as on "I Like Your Wife," a grinding slow burn in which he assumes both sides of a conversation between the leering sleazeball who really likes your wife and you, the husband getting dangerously pissed. His "Jungleland" is the stunning title track, a mini-rock opera whose movements recount the real-life rise and fall of Jack Parsons, the rocket-propulsion pioneer, Aleister Crowley acolyte and sex-magick voyager whose search for transcendence met its fiery apogee in his home laboratory.

It snarls from a car CD console like a beamed-in broadcast from the age of punk, and no doubt it'll kick twice the ass live, as Crofton's in no danger of losing his standing as one of Nashville's least inhibited frontmen. But for the sweet, staticky crackle of vinyl, which Crofton fans backed via Kickstarter earlier this year, you may have to wait. Unless someone out there reading this has Louise Capps on speed-dial.

Email music@nashvillescene.com.

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