* THE INDIE-LIST DIGEST #29 * May 1, 1993 * "Forward In All Directions - Playable At All Volumes" Serving the International Pop Underground since 1992 --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Mark <firstname.lastname@example.org> First, a round of applause to Jon Hilgreen for revamping GRUNGE-L. Although I occasionally enjoy reading about beer, lately I was deleting most of my daily GRUNGE-L feed without even reading it. Hopefully the changes Jon's made will result in a more music-oriented and controllable-volume list. (The option to get digests instead of the mess-of-messages was an especially nice addition.) Time will tell if this is the case, but for now GRUNGE-L is much improved. If you haven't read GRUNGE-L in a while, you might want to give it another chance. That said, here's my week's listening: * TRUMANS WATER, _Our Scars Like Badges_ 45: Took K!z!K's advice and picked up one of these. Low-fi songs with plenty of riffage & yelping, with occasional noisy blurts & blats. They've got the pop sensibility of Pavement and the sonic dementia of the Swirlies, plus a slight jazz bent, in one not-easily-categorizable package. I can see how this might be hard to keep up over a whole LP, but this 45 is certainly all right by me. Slacker folk music. **. (Homestead/Dutch East, PO Box 800, Rockville Centre NY 11571-0800) * SEAM, "Kernel/Sweet Pea" 45: In which Seam loses Mac and (coincidentally, one hopes) gets upbeat & happy. Well, happier than before, anyway... Semi-grunge sound a la Tar with still-mellow Soo Young vocals. Much more invigorating than Seam's previous LP, which at times dragged so much it made Codeine seem exciting. They're on to something here, although what it is I'm not quite sure. Hrm. *1/2. (Trash Flow, PO Box 250356, NY NY 10025; available as a CD single with two extra tracks from Touch & Go, PO Box 25520, Chicago IL 60625) * PITCHBLENDE, _Kill Atom Smasher_ CD: Much-awaited debut longplayer from one of DC's best-kept secrets, Pitchblende. Unlike many other noisy-guitar bands, Pitchblende write great songs (but they also dabble in tuneless cacophony once in a while too.) These great songs are then performed with total reckless sonic abandon. The result is perhaps not as unique and awe-inspiring as absolutely possible, but it's amazing enough to endear it to pop/noise/Sonic Youth fans everywhere. (Having the DCene's fave graphic artist, Treiops Treyfid, in the band is an asset unto itself: this is one of the best CD booklets I've seen so far this year.) **. (Fistpuppet/Cargo; mail order via Parasol, 201 North Coler, Urbana IL 61801) * MERCURY REV, "The Hum Is Coming From Her" 10": Looks like the drugs have finally caught up with Mercury Rev. The a-side is them screwing around with classical piano and scratchy vox; the b-side features a spoken travel story by some guy whose name I've forgotten, with sort of jazz-like backup. Not one of their best; recommended only for M-Rev KolectorSkum. It is, however, nicely packaged to look like an old 78 (it has even older Columbia labels than the LP, probably a 1920's or 30's design.) **1/2. (Columbia/Sony) * HOLY ROLLERS, "Watching The Grass Grow" 45: They're now a quartet with Ed Trask taking over the drums and ex-Alter Native C. Maynard Bopst on bass (Joe Aronstamm and Mark Lambiotte now both play guitar.) This 45 finds them more removed from hardcore than ever, but finding a stronger foothold in the "rock" sound of Fabuley. Two fine songs, with an LP rumored to be on the way this summer. Only complaint is that the vocals are terribly whiny. That aside, it's great to have them back. **. (Dischord, 3819 Beecher St NW, Wash DC 20007) * INTERNATIONAL HIP SWING compilation CD: 20 tracks from the International Pop Underground series of 45s. Most of your favorite IPU folks should be here (with the notable exception of Courtney Love, although you do get Lois.) Intentionally or not, many songs have a 6T's feel (notably "Shouldn't Happen To A Dog" by Thee Headcoats, which sounds a lot like Thee Yardbirds.) I still crack up listening to Brief Weeds, too. (Fugazi doing their Herman's Hermits tribute. Seriously.) As the booklet says, this is your punk rock primer. Required listening for any devoted indie-pop lover. **1/2 ("Skinhead Girl" again? By the time I get the new Unrest EP, I'll have this song on no less than four separate recordings!) (K, POB 7154, Olympia WA 98507) * SEBADOH, _Bubble And Scrape_ CD: Do I even have to write about this? The most normalized Sebadoh effort to date, but packed with great songs (one featuring Swirlie Seana on backing vox.) No compromise, no sell-out. Puts _Smash Yr Head_ 10 feet under. Aw c'mon, you need this. End of story. ***. (Sub Pop/Caroline) And thanks to our resident T-Shirt KolectorSkum, Chris "Comet Barfly" Sievanen, for the lovely Tsunami shirt. Interesting that a shirt sold by a band from Arlington, VA, 2 hours from my house, made it to Seattle before making it to me. Weird. :) --------------------------------------------------------------------- [ This came to me with no author indicated. Which means that Joshua must've lost the address. If you wrote this, let me know and I'll give you credit next time. - Mark ] Interview with the Headless Chickens - New Zealand's most popular indie band. They sorta fuse discordant noisy electronic/regular music into pop songs. Recently Fiona joined the band. She has a very 'pop' voice (as she calls it), which does kinda contrast Chris' drawl...most of the time. I interviewed and saw this band twice over the last 5 days, here in Melbourne. The very distilled version of the interview follows: -- Chris/Fiona: We hate the recorded version of Donka. If you thought that was bad you should have heard the earlier cassette version! Me: You seem to be big fans of remixes - especially on Body Blow - why? Chris/Fiona: We just love buggering around with a song, & believe that it's not a fixed [pronounced properly in kiwi = fuxed] thing. Finances and tempers only dictate when we stop playing around with a song. Me: Body Blow was released in NZ 1 1/2 years ago but not in Australia - why? Chris/Fiona: That's our record companies fault (Mushroom) ;-) They reckoned too many good albums have been lost in Australia and wanted a single hit before they released the album [cruise control bruised the commercial charts, done esta la pollo didn't....this was 1 year after the NZ relase & still no Aussie release] We're working on the blueprint for the next album which is going to be a sort of Metallica meets..............urmmmm......ah.... Mary Whitehouse! [bullshit meter peaks at 58] [much laughing etc..] Me: You seemed to have mellowed out the last year or so... Chris: Bollocks Chris/Fiona: What about songs on Stunt Clown, such as Soul Catcher.....etc etc Me: What about "Agit Pop", Donka......? [small argument ensues] Me: How did Cruise Control go in the UK? [was remixed by on-u-sound's David Harrow] Chris/Fiona: It wasn't released there - That's our record companies fault ;-) We haven't been released outside of Australasia yet - that's our record companies fault too (poor Elanor from Mushroom cringes in the corner of the studio). We blame Elanor entirely for that one What are you playing next? Me: Railway Surfing Chris: Great! The new mix? [by David Koppleman] Me: No, the original mix Chris: Aw go on - play the new mix. I like that one better Me: No! Chris: Mind you, we do a dancy version and a full on guitar version live, I much prefer the guitar version live, I get to make lots of noise.. [After this, they played the full on guitar version at both gigs, with Chris trashing his guitar strings at the end of last Wednesdays Punters Club gig] [they carry on talking - won't shut up, so I have to fade them out. All in all they're a lt of fun to interview, but like a couple of uncontrollable kids! Review of live shows later] --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Mark Bunster <email@example.com> Hey ya'll. Something finally happened here in town, so herewith my first post. At the Flood Zone, April 13th: Jettison Charlie are local Richmond, have been around for upwards of six years, and appear on the verge of taking a decisive step forward. They've had a change in bass personnel and haven't lost a step, while putting a different kind of punch behind their songs. This was their first gig at the Zone, which has the best sound in Richmond (although that's not saying much), and I was excited to see them LOUD. They were, and they were also spot on. They ripped through a fiercely tight 45 minute set or so, mixing the heavy with the lilting. To make a lame attempt at comparison (and to compare them with a band few humans have heard), they do a lot of the same fussing with dynamics of tempo and volume that Hassan Chop! do, but a lot more seamlessly and with fewer jaunts into the odd. They also are fond of starts and stops. One guitar, somewhat metal-ish bass, and crisp, busy drums. They're doing a bunch of shows up and down the coast of East end of this month/beginning of next month in places like Balt, NY, Brooklyn, Portchester, Hartford, Boston, etc. Go see them. They're good. Crackerbash were a surprise--I had expected Helios Creed, who had done support on either side of this gig, but in the end I'm sure HC wouldn't have been as enjoyable. Crackerbash are from Portland and have an album coming out on Empty Records. The lead singer looks like Joe Strummer with dyed blond eyebrows and a snootful of crank in his brain. The drummer weighs about 300 pounds and is active enough to make me ashamed that i don't thrash myself around as much as he does. Anyhow, the music seems deceptively simple but rocks really hard, mostly due to the guitar, which squeals and skronks its way through the whole set. The bass is left to carry the melodies, strummed in chords. The whole band has an abundance of energy and really infects a crowd. By the end, folks were well enamored of Crackerbash. The final song was done with Watt joining in on bass--I'd feel like the coolest guy on the planet if I was playing guitar and looked over to see Watt thunking away with me on bass. I was hoping that the new material from the Hose would be better live than it sounded on record. I must now entirely blame J Mascis for fucking up Mr Machinery Operator, because it's the same old Hose. The new stuff is harder and a shade less funkdriven, but I like that stuff better. They showed a lot of chutzpa to play some of their quieter material, though, for a crowd that wanted to push and sweat. During the set, Mike or somebody in front put a beer bottle down on a monitor. I guess it fell over or something, because the stage volume sound guy rushed over in the middle of a song to retrieve it and mop up. Watt lambasted him for doing too much coke, and nearly pushed him off stage into the crowd. He continued to yell at the guy the whole set. They did all the fave standards--Chemical Wire, Brave Captain, Honey Please, Slack Motherfucker, Revolution, etc. During Revolution, a fracas ensued between a man and a woman. The man was being overly slamhappy (I guess--the crowd seemed kind of tame to me), and she was talking to him about it. He pushed her away, I guess, because when he turned around again she popped him one right on the jaw. fIREHOSE only saw the guy pushing back, and gave him grief for hitting a girl. Oi. Oh, also, Watt kept getting shocked by the mike throughout the set, so they chose this opportunity to just quit. If you're disappointed by the new album, go see them live. You'll feel better about yourself, and the world too. In fact, you'll probably go right out and donate to charity. --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org Greetings from the land of little brains and big egos (that's England for the uninitiated !). I'm Chris and I'm 'studying' (loose term) at City University, in London. I run my own indie section on the monochrome network, which is pretty dead at the moment, but I'm using Indie L to spice it up. I'd tell you all about all the Great British bands we have at the moment, but errr we don't seem to have any (and Suede + Huggy Bear don't count !).The only worthwhile things seem to come virtually exclusive from New Zealand and the U.s. and rarely grace our import sections for more than a week. Right a few reviews..... THE TERMINALS - WitchDoctor (Feel Good All Over Records) Revered for that cheesy organ sound, the Terminals have gone decidely Dead C on us. The 60s garage punk feel is all but gone. In it's place a guitar spews out endless scrapings and whinings. Fortunately Stephen Cogles voice is as wobbly and throaty as ever. It's more structured than their last 'Do the void' and a damn sight more moody. The B-side 'Psycho Lives' is far more familiar territory, an insanely catchy riff that you'd probably find on a Count Five b-side. And if hear anyone mumbling the Doors again at the back, I'll send the boot boys in..... *** A HANDFUL OF DUST - A little aesthetic discourse ep (Feel Good All Over) What the world did exactly to deserve Bruce Russell, I don't know. This gem came bearing the inscription 'kind of like a lost cousin of Lou reed's metal machine music' from the helpful shop assistant. I'm not about to disagree. If you thought Dead C were hard to take in more than say 5 minute doses then this will have you screaming. Ok, I'll admit it, it's pure 2 track white noise, but it's good white noise. (I've yet to hear bad white noise). It's like discovering what sound tinnitus actually makes. * PRAM - Iron Lung ep (Too Pure) I lied, I lied ! There are some Great British bands, but us loser Brits are ashamed of them so we heap praise on others less deserving (naming no names). Pram subscribe to the school of the worse you play, the less it hampers your creative ability. 'Blue Singer' is a killer one chord monster that shuffles and lurches uncomfortably then pauses before looping around. 'Cumulus' has a toy piano motif that resembles a squeaky door hinge and a token grungey bit so you don't lose all track of normality. The other tracks are more wildly ambient doodlings, especially the 'dripping water' harmonics of 'Water Toy'. ** VOODOO QUEENS - Supermodel , superficial (Too Pure) No sooner have Mambo Taxi got their first single out than, Anjali, the driving force behind the band is off to newer pastures. It's a massive loss to the Mambo's who have lost their best songwriter (she wrote the single) and an awesome drummer. The Voodoo Queens are a nearly all-Asian, definitely all-female band of which three members couldn't play any instruments 6 months ago. The result is a splendid, sultry snarl of a single, far more realised than anything Mambo Taxi have yet written, a female Fall ? Haven't heard the b-sides on record yet, but as I've heard most of the songs they've ever written, I can guarentee they'll be A1 also ! ** PALACE BROTHERS - Ohio River Boat song (Drag City) Formerly Slint, who I'm reliably informed were the best rock band ever, but I haven't heard properly so can't vouch for the validity of that. The Palace Brothers on this single are supremely melancholic country/folk ensemble with a LOUD (ouch) drum sound. The flip side 'Drunken Woman' is full of gaping pauses and tearful vocals and bad rhymes "a woman who drinks, and she dances and winks". Very maudlin and completely wonderful. *** DADAMAH - Nicotine (Majora) Old, I know, but I've not seen it reviewed anywhere so worth a mention. Dadamah are yet another one of the one minute crew on Xpressway's utterly, utterly essential 'I hear the devil calling me' compilation. It has a wonderful sound that oscillates throughout, that can only be described as stars scraping or some other abstract nonsense. Kim Pieters voice is either hurt and bedraggled or irritatingly off key, depending on your point of view (I opt for the former) The b-side 'High Time' is written by the Terminals organ genius Mick Elborado and is a pointer of the new direction 'Witchdoctors' takes us in. Other worldly. ** Thats all for now! --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "Josh Ronsen" <email@example.com> PO! "Fay"/"Sunday Never Comes Around" (Sunday Records 009). This is not new, but I just got it. This is typical of PO!'s stuff: nice, pretty, clean-tone gangly guitars and Ruth Miller's somewhat child-like intimate vocals. The a-side is somewhat slow and takes the sightest bit of effort to get into. I find it difficult to find myself caring about the character Fay, who is either sad or misfortunate or both, as I could with the borther in "Your Brother" on their Little Stones EP (Question: why are 7"'s being called EP's these days: and EP should be 5 songs, not three, right?). The b-side is great. This is the bouncy-est that I have ever heard Po! "I've been here since Monday: Sunday never comes around" cries the singer, in a sorrowfully joyful manner. They have a song "Tina" on a somewhat recent 7" flexi-disk compilation from Sunday Records which is also worth listening to. My singer-friend and I just realized the the cover to this, a closeup of three black keys on a piano, was stolen from an ad for Johnny Walker Whiskey (why bother with Johnny Walker when there is Jack?: this is what I would like to know), which can be found in the latest issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. It is the exact same print from the ad, only greatly enlarged and printed in b&w. Sneaky. How many Po! fans read Rolling Stone? How many Rolling Stone readers listen to Po!? The odds were miniscule that anyone would notice... Severin/Caroliner/Come at the Lounge Ax in Chicago, 4/17. I arrived too late to see much of Severin. Just about a minute of their last song. It didn't seem like I missed much: Typical loud two-guitar indie fare. Oh well. Caroliner, covered the stage with all sorts of cryptic orange and green posters and ovals and covers for their amps. The stage looked like some art project gone terribly wrong. In the front of the stage, blocking the view of the drum kit, was a..., a..., a thing for lack of a better word. It looked like a cross between a down comforter and a spider. It had at least six arms, what appeared to be a head, and another head shape growing out of it's neck. It had some flowery pattern all over it (I couldn't see it very clearly). Sorry to go on and on about this, but it really caught my attention. Then Caroliner came on stage. This is where things get weird: First they we were all wearing very odd costumes with masks and other assorted head-gear. The violinist (and banjo-ist) had a huge rotating lamp-shade on her head. The drummer had this profussion of orange twigs (???) atatched to his back: it looked like he was being attacked by some mutant bush. The female singer had this bizarre samuri-like dress on, with some odd face covering. Second of all, they turned off all the lights and turned on blacklights which were set up everywhere, so that all of their posters and clothing glowed. The guitarist had two fake arms which glowed in the blacklight, his real arms were bare, and hence, you couldn't see them. When he played, what looked like his arms were no where near the guitar. I was confused for a while. Then there was the music: complete beuatiful noise! Loud drums, loud guitar, loud bass, loud violin, and very loud vocals: both of the singers (who traded playing bass when the other was singing) had a very similar "singing" style which consisted mostly of screetching, groaning, yelling, ocassionally shouting into various effects units. I can definately say that I did not understand stand a single word of the entire show. Oh: I forgot, as soon as the music started, the "thing", described above, started to move and twitch along with the music. The male singer would run and jump into the audience attempting to walk on people's shoulders. I don't think people enjoyed this. Seeing Caroliner was definately a must see for anyone into the intersting and bizarre. This show was not for the sonicly squeemish. Some boys in front of me were smoking the smallest joints that I have ever seen. Shame shame shame... Oh, also they cover their LP's with various stuff, like dirt and spit and candy wrappers and other assorted "junk". We toyed with the idea of going up to the guy selling the records and asking for an LP, hold the dirt please. We left before Come came on stage, as what would be the point? It did not seem like we were missing anything. --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: David Bennison <firstname.lastname@example.org> Trumans water - Of Thick Tum (Justice my Eye/Elevated Loin) - Bit of a discovery this band. I havn't heard much press about them but it's bound to come. They have a sound very similar to a sort of oblique Pavement with quite Slint-esque! sections and Polvo guitar excesses?!. Songs include Yakboy = Nurturer, Nick Long Ding Barn and Deep Grub Yonder and the LP comes in a hand painted cover. Inside my record, I found a bunch of forms concerning the course work of one of the guys in the band and his end of term grades, complete with his own calculations as to what he needs to get to scrape through - won't find that in a CD. "Harness home ride with pride, your rubber mattress steam, drool a bone for sob suppression, bleed." "Got no legion stew. Heather got no legion stew, Brett got no legion stew. Calvin got no legion stew. PuncRock no legion stew..ewe". (Spot the reference). "Don't need fidelity, I'm such a trusting sole. Found alloy ogre, she's in complete control." Great lyrics I trust you'll agree, but as Morrissey so correctly said, "This says nothing to me about my life". Hasn't anyone else caught on to this band yet - do so now. [ Miss last week's issue? :) - Mark ] David... --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: email@example.com (Arielle Greenberg) Hullo everyone. I'm about to embark on a huge shopping spree, and have just recently gotten into the whole "twee" thing. Between the Parasol catalogue and a bunch of pretty darn twee frenz, I came up with a list of bands I'd love to know more about, esp their sound. I love Velocity Girl, Heavenly, Tsunami, the Sundays, etc, + harder stuff like Sonic Youth + the old wave stuff like Blondie and old Fall and THE X-RAY SPEX (esp) and, you know, Shangri-Las and TMBG and all that. So now you know what I like. Please send me info about the following: Blow Pops Heavens to Betsey One last kiss....(a comp) Waaah! (a zine/comp) EEC Punk Rock Mountain ( a comp) Thee Headcoatees (or is it the Headcoats? or are they different?) Rock Against Racism (comp) Fat Tulips Avacado baby Saint Etienne Jonny Cohen & the Shoetrees I am indie-centric already..I mean I know Beat Happening and all-- these are just new bands to me and as I am obsessive, I want to know all. Ta muchly, Arielle firstname.lastname@example.org ps ANyone know of a comp put out around 1990 of sXe-type, socially concious bands, I think from DC? It came with a big book of cool info. [ Might be the _State Of The Union_ LP, which is still in print from Dischord (address above) and worth checking out. - Mark ] **************************************************************** Revolution Girl Style Now sXe --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: stuart <email@example.com> On a visit home last week met a man who was selling vinyl on his market stall at the price of 3 LP's to the pound(english). Unbelievable. He had a job lot of a further 10,000 back home in his bedroom he told, with a wife screaming that he shift them. All must be shit your saying but couldn't resist a lucky dip to help the guy out. Carried off a pile of considerable crap plus a few definite finds: _Hand To Mouth_ compilation LP (Play Hard Records) This is a storming good compilation of Play Hard bands from 1989 and featuring two tracks apiece from The Train Set, King of the Slums, The Exuberants, Kit, and The Bodines. All the bands were Manchester/Liverpool based and I remember them all gigging around when I lived in Manchester back then. Doing/Surviving? I know not of any of them these days. But out of the five you can not neglect the name King of the Slums. Hard abrasive with the harshest of electric fiddles constantly interacting with vocals singing of dirty northern schoolgirls and biting mancunion comment and their classic "Fanciable Headcase" is here. Great. The track is also on a compilation CD of theirs Dandelions which I'd recommend highly. And they've released at least two albums more recently which I've not heard. ** ZVUKI MU _Modern Songs From Russia_ LP (Land Records) Recorded in Moscow and produced in London by none less than Brian Eno. Again dated 1989. This sounds at first exactly as you expect eastern european rock. But lets lose those preconceptions. Loss and jazzy guitar and drums with some primitive sounding synths and a real deep phlegmy vocal that just must be Tom Waits after years of vodka abuse. They drive through some good tight songs. Then you read the russian lyrics, translated on the sleeve, and find they are growling on about love in department stores and all sorts of crazy stuff. Definitely recommended if you ever stumble upon it. ** Now one that did not come three to the pound: ARCWELDER Pull LP (Touch & GO) You guys will know more about this one. I was looking forward to it greatly; my previous Arcwelder listens "Favour" and their cover of "I Am A Walrus" struck big impressions. Pull turns out to be a fairly solid if unadventurous album though, which I like, but which never comes close ImHo. * Also thanks to mister K!z!K for last weeks definitive run down on Trumans Water - information that I needed badly. Now by the time you, dear reader, reach here I'll already have seen them. Live review to follow in next weeks exciting instalment of the indie list. made in england, bored in the north stuart --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Skronkboy) Well its time for me to get some more reviews off my chest. Last weekend saw me going to two both of which highly entertained me. So here goes... MISCREANTS/DEAD MOON @SQUIRREL'S TAVERN CORVALLIS,OR 4/24/93 The Miscreants started off the evening playing the part of local garage rock heroes, and indeed this white boy considers his garage rocked. The Miscreants have expressed a desire/dream to tour with Dead Moon and this showed as they played to impress. The Miscreants were tighter and more precise this go-round as they curbed their thirsts in favor of eating the crowd alive. Gawd, how do I write such tripe. Anyway, great covers of 60's garage surf hotrod fare as usual. Dead Moon are local (Portland) punk legends. Fred(gtr) and Toody(bass) Cole not only play together they stay together; you see they're kind of like husband and wife too. Which I think is really cool when you consider how long they've been around. Fred was in bands way back in the sixties including The Weeds and The Lollypop Shoppe. Prior to Dead Moon, Fred and Toody had a band called the Rats, a somewhat seminal Portland punk band. Dead Moon and Poison Idea, another Portland band, are hardly well known outside of the PacificNW and Europe. They tour Europe frequently but have yet toured the states! On top of that Fred and Toody are grandparents and they record exclusively in MONO; I mean how much better can it get. I'd never heard Dead Moon play before so I was anxiously awaiting for this show. They were so primal and rawk that I thought I could never stop grinning and bopping. Pure unadulterated r&r that has no peer filled every bit of Squirrel's that night. Fred screamed like a deranged Robert Plant, the drummer pounded tribally on a set that included an upside-down whiskey bottle that served as a candle holder. Toody was great too... imagine Kim Gordon to the n'th power. I mean their two sets were like some kind of occult scene what with the candle and the splattered wax and the beats and the screams. Quite enough to make this Viking Pirate feel sated yet rant for more. They probably played for 120-150 ferocious minutes and showed it in sweat. Yeehaw! NEGATIVLAND@ THE WOW HALL 4/25/93 Again, I witnessed a band, if you can call them that, that I had heard lots about but had never really listened to either recorded or live. The evening started out with some non-descript unit trying their hand at ambient noise for an opening act. In between the opening act and those wacky Negland guys the audience was treated to a public service education film about germs and the importance of washing one's hands. You know the type of film that they used to show in grade school (these films must have been created in the 60's at the latest) to make you a better person and citizen. Anyway the story was about Billy a dirty little boy and his friend Soapy the walking talking cake of soap. I have not laughed so hard since I don't know when. Anyways, girls remember to wash your hair once every two weeks and do remember the utmost importance of having your own drinking glass. And boys remember that even cowboys wash up before meals and put on clean clothes every once in a while. You learn something new every day, gee! Negativland's theme for the night was this: Rip on U2, Casey Kasem, Dick Vaughn (some cheezy radio jock ala Kasem), and SST and Greg Ginn among others. The U2 parodies were cute as were the Casey Kasem outbursts but they were a little heavy-handed in their application of said subjects. They wouldn't let the U2 issue rest and became, to my eyes and ears anyway, overly self-referential. The piss take on Greg Ginn and SST (cover of Gimme Gimme Gimme) was inspired however. I will not say that I was un-entertained however; I mean heck I had burnt toast, strobing crosses, dismembered appendages, and great electronic processing to amuse me more than any one person should be amused on a school night. Check em out if media manipulation is your thing but I see their genius as being more studio-bound. That's the news fer now, travis --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Sean <skmurphy@phoenix.Princeton.EDU> Trying to sneak one in under the waiver wire...it's the quasi-coherent archivist, finally recovering from 2 weeks of intense paper writing and other general crapola. In the midst of my insanity, I did find a little time to go record shopping and listen to a few other things... Records: Crawling Chaos - "The Gas Chair" (Factory/Benelux - long out of print :( ) A 1981 release which served to continue my somewhat irrational fetish for early 80's British indie stuff. It's kinda weird and varied: acoustic folksy tunes slamming into art-rock-jazz (a la Henry Cow) into pure jangle pop, touching lots of bases in between, too. I just wish I knew more about this band...cross-reference this one with Unrest's "Malcolm X Park" (which even has a song titled "The Gas Chair") and both will make a lot more sense. ** 1/2 Making Losers Happy - compilation (Drag City, P.O.Box 476867, Chicago, IL 60647) Wow! A compilation of 5 Xpressway singles (Dead C, Terminals, David Mitchell, Alastair Galbraith & Graeme Jefferies, and Peter Jefferies & Robbie Muir) and 2 tracks from the seven song Plagal Grind EP. Unless you've been on your toes as a psycho Ajax/Xpressway collector since 1988, you probably haven't heard this stuff before, which is a real shame. Edgy, wired, contemplative, another look at the darker side of music from our pals in Dunedin. Essential listening for all. ** 1/2 Marine Girls - "Lazy Ways / Beach Party" (Cherry Red, 3rd Fl. Bishops Park House, 25-29 Fulham High St. London, UK SW6 3JH) Whatever I say about this CD will be hopelessly inadequate at capturing the beauty of these songs, but I'll try anyway. Jane and Alice Fox and Tracey Thorn recorded a bunch of amazingly simple, pretty songs between 1981 and 1983. This CD compiles both their albums - 30 songs, 61 minutes. The first 14 songs are the "Lazy Ways" LP from 1983, produced by Stuart Moxham - take away the Young Marble Giants' organ and jazz up the songs a little, and you'll have an idea of the sound. The remainder of the CD is 1981's "Beach Party", which reminds me of a Calvin-less Beat Happening (or Bratmobile without the attitude) and which I prefer to the first half (but not by much :) ). Beach Party is more fun, Lazy Ways is more poignant. Both are amazing. Everyone deserves to hear the Marine Girls (even if we Yanks have to pay $18 for an import CD). *** The Electric Prunes - "The Electric Prunes" (Reprise) Yeah, I raved about this band about 4 issues ago when I found a 7" of their very best song, "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" and I was pretty amazed to find the whole LP last week. Unfortunately, only 3 or 4 songs begin to approach the brilliance of "Too Much To Dream," and some of this stuff is totally derivative pop drivel. Which version was the "real" Prunes and which was forced by the record label? I can't tell... ** 1/2 (but still an infinite number of stars for "Too Much To Dream") Mai Pen Rai - compilation (4 AD) A promo sampler from 4 AD featuring 11 tunes from recent or upcoming releases and a mystery bonus track. The first 7 tunes get me scratching my head and mumbling about "how the mighty have fallen" - Ultra Vivid Scene, Frank Black, Dead Can Dance, and worse. The last 5 songs, though, restore my faith in the label - Unrest has re-recorded "Teenage Suicide," and there are songs from This Mortal Coil, Underground Lovers, and Matt Johnson (before he started calling himself The The, he put out a solo LP in 1981 - this song is haunting as hell...). The super mystery track, yet another Brit thing from 1981, is totally fucking cool and the best song on the CD. And, the packaging is beautiful - cool cardboard fold-out stuff done by Bruce Licher and his Independent Projects Press. * in its entirety, ** if you skip the crap. One lonely zine review/plug: Caught In Flux #1 (P.O. Box 7088, New York, NY 10116-4627) This is the new project from Mike Appelstein, as he has put Writer's Block on infinite hiatus. A smaller zine than Writer's Block, but still the same style - Mike's never been afraid to slag records and bands, and this issue is no exception. Great interviews with Stuart Moxham and the Spinanes, and a slew of reviews of zines and records. Since Mike hopes to do this one on a more timely basis than Writer's Block, it might be worth keeping an eye out for it. $1.50 will bring one your way, or check with Ajax, Land Speed, or Tower (yes, Tower Records does carry zines...). Anyway, I hope to have a more regular reviewing/writing schedule in the foreseeable future, so it won't be one of these 4-weeks-between-writing things... :) Sean --------------------------------------------------------------------- * THE INDIE-LIST DIGEST * "Feast on the sacred punk pop implosion. Pump the tunes. Crank the volume and ride the rocket through the euphoria of a noisy pop rockin' overdose." - K "Just Gimme Indie Rock!" - Lou Barlow "La la la la la la, la la la la la la, la, la..." - Pavement EDITOR (send your questions/comments/etc here) Mark Cornick <email@example.com> SUBMISSIONS (send your articles here) Joshua Houk <firstname.lastname@example.org> SUBSCRIPTIONS (send subs/signoffs/address changes here) Liz Clayton <email@example.com> ARCHIVES (send back issue requests here) Sean Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org> FTP/Gopher archive is at <cs.uwp.edu> /pub/music/lists/indie Thank you for reading.