The Capstan Shafts

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The Capstan Shafts is the musical project of American lo-fi artist Dean Wells. He has been releasing material under the Capstan Shafts name since 1999, through various indie labels such as Yellow Mica, Asaurus and Abandoned Love Records. Most of his albums are very cheap (four or five dollars) or even free.

His songs are typically short, ranging in length from 45 seconds to 2 minutes, and feature a full-band sound of guitars, bass and drums, all of which are played by Wells himself. Every Capstan Shafts release to date has been recorded at home, giving the music a fuzzy lo-fi sound similar to bands such as Guided By Voices and The Mountain Goats.

Despite a prolific output of recorded material (his total output amounts to ten EPs and seven full-length albums), Wells has only performed live three times. His recent album Her Versus The Sad Cold Eventually, has led to an upsurge in media interest surrounding The Capstan Shafts; the album was given four very favorable reviews on music-news site Pitchfork Media by Matt LeMay of Get Him Eat Him.


Dean Wells has also released a song as Vergel Tears, and has three albums under his own name.

On May 2, 2008, Wells opened for The Ruby Suns and Menomena at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. His temporary drummer, never having played live, returned from the bar just in time as Dean was about to be forced to start without him.

In 2010 the Capstan Shafts regrouped as a 5 piece band before playing shows across the U.S. east coast. Festivals dates at SXSW and CMJ followed before the band released their first studio LP "Revelation Skirts" for Rainbow Quartz Records.

Recently, National Public Radio chose the Capstan Shafts as one of "5 Artists You Should Have Known in 2010".


"'Revelation Skirts'" (2010) Rainbow Quartz Records

  1. Fairwater Triumpalist
  2. Let Your Head Get Wrong
  3. Little Burst of Sunshine
  4. Versus the Sad Cold Eventually
  5. Class War Tease
  6. Heart Your Eat Out
  7. Successfully Into You
  8. From Revelation Skirts
  9. Quiet Wars
  10. Your Wasted is a Talent Here
  11. Cruel Streak Andes
  12. Versus the World-Hater
  13. Miss Stelliferous
  14. Great Reset Button of Life

Fixation Protocols (2008) Rainbow Quartz Records

  1. Asymptonic Freedom
  2. Shaky Days, Bring Honey
  3. Eyeliner Skywriting etc.
  4. Middles of June
  5. Anthropecene Stealers
  6. Miss Cenozoic
  7. What Used to Become You (Now Befalls You)
  8. Communists in 19th Century America
  9. A Heart That Never Flies
  10. Get Honest
  11. Brightest Page in the History of Man
  12. Her Novel 'Canal Zone Poetry'
  13. Little World Saver
  14. Boy to Take You Nowhere
  15. Behemoth to a Flame
  16. The Hell With the Days Again
  17. The Stunted Kind
  18. Fixation Protocol
  19. Squeals of Resignation
  20. Song for Monometallists
  21. The Framers Blameless Enterprise
  22. Voting Hopeless

Miles Per Famine (2008) self-released

  1. Main title miles per famine
  2. Perspective versus Evelyn
  3. (I dream about you because) you have such low standards
  4. Lemondrop hamstrung
  5. Contrary’s mom
  6. Trick years
  7. Second the devils esplanade
  8. The complete history of Ruth, Nevada
  9. Ethanol its cracked up to be
  10. Evelyn Halfstep?
  11. Hippolyte my life
  12. End title miles per famine

Environ Maiden (2007) Rainbow Quartz Records

  1. Right on the Malthus
  2. Flip Cup Casualties
  3. The Dig Perpetual
  4. My Family Was Welsh, I'm Just Tired
  5. Sincere as a Windchime
  6. The Origin of Rain
  7. Trouble Peddling
  8. The Giving Earth and Her Oils of Love
  9. Girl to Scoff World's Ills
  10. The Ballad of Kid Butane
  11. The Complete History of Greenland
  12. Drop Dead Innocuous
  13. Vegans and Meteors
  14. Disko Bay (Good Years Left)
  15. Elected Head of Her Anarchist Group
  16. One of Us Should Be Further Away
  17. Hip to the Sweet Blue World Again
  18. Low Ceilings for Bedhoppers
  19. Oil Over Greenland! (Morsels of Fortitude)
  20. The Devil's Gazebo
  21. Favorite Eco-Terrorist
  22. Snakeskin Belt Through Loose Hoops
  23. She's Kick People
  24. The Flowering Universe Confounds
  25. Phase Appraisals
  26. Sick of Green
  27. Days from Work
  28. Better Get a Dream out of This
  29. Northern Me!

Bug Tragic (2007)

  1. Thinking Done
  2. The Devil's Esplanade
  3. Moving Wrong
  4. Better Ways to Hang
  5. Arthouse Floozy
  6. Smoking Window Closed
  7. Sad the Gains of Statists
  8. A Senator Short of a Quorum
  9. Abomination Paint

A Brace for Hephaestus (2007)

  1. Going by Martian Years Now
  2. The Icecaps of Mars (Are Just Copying Ours)
  3. More Faults than the Tharsis Region
  4. Tart Collaborative
  5. Grapples and Orangutangs
  6. She's Kick People
  7. Second Porches Can be Closer to Mars

Kid Butane Goes to Greenland (2007)

  1. The Ballad of Kid Butane
  2. The Complete History of Greenland
  3. Drop Dead Innocuous
  4. Elected Head Of Her Anarchist Group
  5. One Of Us Should Be Further Away
  6. They Call Me Kid Butane
  7. The Giving Earth and Her Oils of Love

Consumption Violets (2007)

  1. Flip Cup Casualties
  2. Right On The Malthus
  3. The Dig Perpetual
  4. Death To The Martyrs
  5. Low Ceilings For Bedhoppers
  6. Champions Of Equanimity
  7. Tackle Factory

Dreamilys Throttled Revolts (2007) Fall of the West Records

  1. Half a Bottle and a Full Moon
  2. One World Government (is One Too Many)
  3. Your Wasteds are a Talent Here
  4. Sap for Clearcut
  5. The Better She Looks the Less She Will See
  6. Playing Doctrine
  7. Gravitational Pollster
  8. Quiet Wars
  9. Clammy Handed Favors
  10. She Makes Amazing Look Stupid
  11. When Gold Brick Twins
  12. Mosquito Net Worth
  13. Hopeful Grows the Molehill
  14. Dreamily Very Later
  15. Trickier the Wisdom
  16. Skirt Inversions
  17. Cool Green Sinkings
  18. Consumption Violets
  19. Interdiction Hips
  20. Box Store Apologist
  21. Abandoned Drum Circles
  22. ....and a Patriot's Lament

Her Versus the Sad Cold Eventually (2007) Asaurus (website)

  1. Wilds of Gloryville
  2. Kiss-You Advocacy
  3. “Lauren Behold” (A Discussion with a Stripper over Canadian Style Health Care)
  4. Can’t you tell a Slow Burn Woo When you Ignore One?
  5. He would Die for you (If it Were up to me)
  6. Bluejean V. Debs
  7. How Could China Fail?
  8. I Don’t Like the Movies
  9. If She Quivers?
  10. She Can’t Stand the Quiet (Unless it’s Me Shutting Up)
  11. Hearts to the Fore, We Storm Love Castles
  12. Your Alone Has so Many More People in It
  13. Pick your Dystopia
  14. The Trilateralist Told You not To
  15. Every Dog Has its Silver Lining
  16. Red Scarcity
  17. Goner Alaskas
  18. Saddlebags and the Age of Jesus
  19. The Onetime Milwaukee Suicide
  20. Proletariat Glow

The Megafauna Undermined (2006) SCTAS

  1. More Lovely than Likely
  2. Big Oil Hackery
  3. Save My Down for a Sadder Day
  4. Tanning Wrong
  5. My Family Was Welsh. I’m Just Tired
  6. Old Skull, New Mexico
  7. Quarantine Lifter
  8. Hairtrigger Recess Appointment
  9. Sincere as a Windchime
  10. Finer Supercathedrals
  11. Catch you Next Divorce
  12. The Lightning Boy
  13. No Threat of a Good Time
  14. Suckers of Twiddled Thumbs
  15. The Worst Lessons from the Wrong People
  16. Handstander in an Age of Backflips
  17. The Complete History of England
  18. Goodlie Oddthoughts Journal of Woe
  19. Hit me Like the Greatest Car Song

Euridice Proudhon (2006) Kittridge

  1. Everyone Plants Trees
  2. Sleepcure Theory Advancer
  3. Carbon Neutral Enterprise
  4. Orpheus in His Underware
  5. Signature Car Funk
  6. The Small of the Back the Crimewave
  7. Magical Dance Number Scene
  8. 61 Sideburns
  9. Gods Favorite Foreigner
  10. Most Cultures Were Wrong
  11. Use the Poets as Barricades
  12. Aching Tiny Everywheres
  13. I Don’t Mind you Dragging Me Down
  14. The Failure of History
  15. Sunshine Profligate
  16. Our Southern Ambitions
  17. Defenstration Makes Good Neighbors
  18. Polyestershines
  19. American Volume
  20. Griefseedling
  21. Good Riddence, Euridice
  22. Hip/Misguided

Springboard to the Boxwine Set (2006) Yellow Mica

  1. Slow Day for Reasoning
  2. The Deli Girls Give me what I Ask for if I Am Careful What I Ask for
  3. Trouble to Shave
  4. They Call me the Etruskan Musket
  5. Tilting at Windchills
  6. Jackie Relief Map
  7. The Laziest Gypsies
  8. Cavacade of Sulk
  9. Sonny and Cher
  10. Failed Budhist Retreat Come-On
  11. God is in my Bitchseat
  12. Sealed with a Kiss, Opened with a Crowbar
  13. Dumb Bastard Parade
  14. Sideagle and Supereagle
  15. Half of the Toys
  16. The Great Instead
  17. The Wives of Halloween Whiskers
  18. Among the Many Things Pinned to you Are my Hopes
  19. The Crime at the Anchorage Marina
  20. Show me your Sunshine
  21. Some Birds Soaring, Some Roasting
  22. Tombstone in the Poor Choice Graveyard
  23. Boxwine Willies
  24. Beach Delay, or Lighten up, Fuzzhead

The Sun Don’t Get Things Done (2006) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. Hearthrobgoblins
  2. Lower Costa Rica
  3. She Sees the Good in Everyone
  4. Several Dozen Engines
  5. Don’t Let the Motorcyclists
  6. Avoiding Daddys on the Floor

The Sleeved and Granddaughters of the Black List (2005) Abandoned Love Records

  1. St. Paul?
  2. Can’t Climb a Tree (without Breaking a few Branches)
  3. A Gal Called Allegory
  4. Live Nudebranches
  5. Wonderful Lottery Ticket Way
  6. Sister Artworld Frenzy
  7. Grindcore Tribals
  8. Recovering Cheerleader, Recovering Greenpeace Canvasser
  9. Groovy your World View
  10. Here Comes Down
  11. Hominid Stickler
  12. Brush Cleaning Boy
  13. Testy and Half-Baked
  14. Chandelier of Bad Ideas
  15. Fates Hammer, Hollows and Powderkegs
  16. Leftcoast Intolerant
  17. “Cheery Magdelene”
  18. Whatever, I’m a Miracle
  19. A Bad Childhood and the Commerce Clause
  20. She Paints with Both Hands

Halaluah Moancoaxers (2005) Beat the Indie Drum

  1. Love Pundits Bright Future
  2. Lessthreatening Day
  3. Petals on an Austin Rose
  4. Personals Surfer
  5. Sarasota vs. the Concrete Poets
  6. The Strategy of Daylight
  7. The Giddy Tramps Marching Orders
  8. Your Hipper Default Settings

Demon Dog of the American Park Service (2005) Yellow Mica

  1. Drunken Eagles West Coast Bash
  2. Get your Cat out of my Sunbeam
  3. Lucky Monkey Briefs
  4. Kinder Springs
  5. Gone City Knock Out
  6. Negative Man, What’s the Anti Matter?
  7. 93 Approximately
  8. Take your Coat off and Stomp for a While
  9. Carrier State Anthems
  10. Light as Mantra

The Night Shrine of Well-Groomed Lawns (2005) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. The Gourgestest of Glorious Suns
  2. Good Mood Passes
  3. Tape-Opera
  4. Get Needy on Me
  5. Barnacle Geese
  6. Sometimes the Horns
  7. Particularly Mindsticking
  8. No Downer for the Skein

Unreconstructed Lo-fi Whore (2005) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. The Days Don’t Pass in Wonder
  2. Half-Drunk and Assless
  3. Landfill Dancers
  4. Anniversaries of Genodices
  5. Cuddleparty Renegade
  6. World-Hater Company Song

Her Chapbook Called “Tiny Grey Radio” (2004) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. Upstairs with the Anti-Christ
  2. Perfect Bound Someday
  3. Gift of Higher Aspirations
  4. Pome on Pg. 14
  5. She Reads Easy
  6. Tulipsqueaking
  7. Scripted Ass Collisions

Ample Tribes for Sullen King Pounder (2004) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. Posters for Cat Disappeared
  2. Dukes of the Ugly Sound
  3. No. 5 Aluminum Lake
  4. Alien Like Paraguay
  5. She’s the Moon Hoax
  6. Feed me Flowers

Hopegetswheels (2004) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. Hibiscus Wildzoo Pt. II
  2. Little Burst of Sunshine
  3. Shimmyshake on Monster Islan
  4. Dinosaurs to Drive Off
  5. Fireman Among the Eskimos
  6. Hibiscus Wildzoo Pt. I

Seal Cull Rebellion (2004) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. Birthdays and Middlenames
  2. Drags of Grind
  3. Datepanties
  4. Sacrificial Anode Rod
  5. Favorite Enabler
  6. Camel Lightyears

Great Reset Button of Life (2004) Ladder the Christmas Monkey Records

  1. Virgin Queen of the Cattlemen
  2. The Tragedy of Empiricism
  3. Crownchafings
  4. All Your Little Happenings
  5. Some Good Factory Ass
  6. Blue Foreign Cartoons

Chick Cigarettes (2004) Asaurus (website)

  1. Good Judge of Witch Flesh
  2. The Day you Called me Pretty
  3. Auto Naval
  4. Ogre Finds
  5. Vulture Juice
  6. Qualms of the Azor Bombers
  7. Gentler Trending
  8. Cornflower Blues
  9. Froth of July
  10. The Battle of Metaphor
  11. Goddess of Provisional Affinity
  12. Felony War
  13. Shiny New Chain
  14. Too Much Shit (and not enough Ass)
  15. Dying Sun
  16. My Beautiful Days
  17. Sweet Lady of the Calmatives
  18. Good Morning, Please
  19. Revenge Sex Theater
  20. My Gal Lo

Some Creatures Have No Experts (?)

  1. In Favor of the Trees
  2. Felony Wear
  3. Three Beer Drama
  4. Precious Dimple Refinement
  5. To the Dreamy Pop Icons
  6. Alien Hand
  7. Five Reasons for Moonshots

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