The Indie List Digest

December 28, 1993

Volume 2, Number 41

Princeton - Seattle - Ann Arbor - Raleigh


Hi.  I'm totally beat and have nothing of musical import to discuss
right now.  So, I'll get out of the way and let things happen. - Sean


In this (relatively) short issue:

Vinyl:  Bicoastal and Beyond
Yoko Ono, Stereolab, Palace Brothers, navel equators
holidays mean good beer, good music and good Cohen


From:  K. Lena Bennett, Slacker Goddess

Vinyl:  Bicoastal and Beyond

	I'd like to thank my cohorts at the indie list for convincing me
to return to vinyl, at least in some aspects.  I've been using the 7"
single as a medium to explore and discover new artists, which is
especially useful since there is no good indie radio here (as far as I
know, KCMU still sucks corporate cock).  Seven-inchers have also been
helpful to me in raising the question (by their absorption of scarce shelf
space) of whether I might be better off moving to an apartment of
greater-than-minuscule size.  So anyway, here's only a small portion of
what I've been listening to. 

Maxi Badd - Giddy  (Waterhouse records)
     While Olympia seems to be the home of girls with cute singing voices,
Seattle has women with strong, loud, big voices.  On this EP with inner
sleeve art by local cartoonist Ed (Lowlife) Brubaker (or is that Ed
"Lowlife" Brubaker?), Tess Lotta and Gretta Harley join sisters Carrie
Akre of Hammerbox, the Gits' late Mia Zapata, and of course Heart, in the
Jet City belting sweepstakes.  "Combustion" is written and sung by Tess -
it's a pretty straightforward guitar-and-drums driven rock-n-roll song,
and Tess's voice occasionally dips and swoops and cajoles in
Kat-Bjelland-isms when she's not singing from the diaphragm.  The other
side, "Smiling Stone," is written and sung by Gretta, and bops along atop
her funky bassline.  She's a bit more of a singer than Tess, and has lungs
to match.  Anyway, this is tight, hard, moving rock, it sounds good, so
check it out. Plus, it's "louder for heavy days"!  (I must say, though,
that Ed's sleeve art is some of his sloppier work.) My psychic prediction
for Maxi Badd in 1994 is a full-length CD release on C/Z, and major label
sniffings by year-end.  (*)

Uncle Wiggly - "Make You Crawl"/"Nice" (Dark Beloved Cloud)
     This record makes me happy.  I'll start with the B-side's "Nice,"
which is a delightful slab of geeky-guy-pop.  "Everything feels good, I've
no complaints from head to toe," and other similar lyrics, ride along over
tight, blocky guitar work that goes all over the place and then circles
back again, keeping it simple and complex at the same time.  At the end,
it dissolves into dreamy atmospherics, and the song still makes sense. 
They must be from New York - we don't do things like that out here!  "Make
You Crawl" opens with spooky modal harmonics and launches a martial-style
drumbeat.  The marching drums continue along under a user-friendly, almost
Beatlesque guitar line, with lyrics describing the actions of a
manipulative lover.  About 2/3 of the way through, the guitars start to
remind me of some stuff on my old Throwing Muses albums.  Anyway, if you
want to know more about these guys, I'm sure Douglas can tell you. (*1/2)

Palace - "Trudy Dies"/"Come In" (Drag City)
    When I first heard the Cowboy Junkies' _Trinity Session_, I called it
"music to slit your wrists by."  Palace shows me that the Cowboy Junkies'
suicidability is all just surface - these guys have the sincere stuff. 
Side A is about the way the house and the world feels when your other half
has died, and side B is an invitation to a goodbye dinner to a loved one
who's about to leave.  Usually when a record is "country" to me, that's
because it possesses certain familiar song structures and chord changes,
but with Palace (a.k.a. the Palace Brothers), it's much more a question of
mood and instrumentation - the songs have hardly any melody at all.  It's
primitive folk art brought to music.  I'd like to think that this music is
made by a bunch of 75-year-old men living in some Appalachian backroad
village where no one has been employed for decades since the mine fire
killed half the boys, where Nashville has never been heard of and Hank
Williams is considered a modern young turk....  but it's probably a bunch
of college-educated twenty-something sophisticates.  I won't hold it
against them; they've got some good shit going.  They bring the kind of
heartbreak that makes you see the beauty in tragedy and sadness,
miraculously curing you of shallow depressions, and making you glad to be
alive to witness it all.  I'm definitely going to check out the
full-length album, "There Is No One What Will Take Care Of You," also on
Drag City.  (**)

Mary Lou Lord - "Some Jingle Jangle Morning"/"Western Union Desperate" 
(Kill Rock Stars)
	I'm sorry.  I just don't get why this is so hip.  Maybe I'm still
reacting to too many college years spent in coffeehouses and Folk City
hearing sincere singer-songwriters.  Uninspired songwriting, and
uncompelling folk-rock instrumentation.  Does anyone remember Cindy Lee
Berryhill?  I'll sell this to the first bidder (someone who gets this kind
of thing or thinks they would) for the $3 I spent on it.   I'm sorry.  I 
hate giving bad reviews. 

The Mountain Goats
     I hope soon to write about the Mountain Goats stuff on Shrimper and
other tiny SoCal labels.  These are the greatest weirdest little songs I've
heard in some time.  They defy description, but hopefully after I've
absorbed these beloved little ditties some more I can write about them in
some way that will persuade you to check them out yourself.  Maybe I can
just say, "hey, these tapes are only $3 apiece, so order some now!"

Finally, I just have to mention that one of our local record stores has in
its window a cardboard cutout of Michael Bltn wearing a "LOSER" t-shirt. 

I did have a new .sig, but forgot to write it down....


From: Douglas Wolk <>

Yoko Ono, Stereolab, Palace Brothers, navel equators

	Well, a merry happy and a cheerful new pleasant to everybody. To
celebrate the end of my work year, I went to Kim's Underground, aka "the
money trap," and found copies of two Yoko Ono albums in the original Apple
vinyl pressings. The only early Yoko I'd heard before had been _Plastic
Ono Band_, but that'd impressed me enough that I bought these two (Fly
and _Approximately Infinite Universe_) on the spot. Boy am I glad I did.
Fly, especially, is amazing, very Can-like and expansively strange and
beautiful. And that packaging! High-gloss, thick, full-color gatefold
sleeves... and even a poster and a card shrink-wrapped inside Fly...
Great stuff. I won't rhapsodize about it too much, because you either get
pre-'73 Yoko or you don't. (And anyone can be forgiven for not liking
post-'73 Yoko.)

	Also picked up Stereolab's new "French Disko" CD single, having
seen some major-league praise for it either here or on chugchanga (I
forget which). I'm fairly disappointed--both songs are remixes of songs on
the _Jenny Ondioline_ EP, and the original versions of both are better. I
suppose that the new "French Disko" is a little more radio-friendly, but I
miss the edge of the older one. Too bad. 

	On the other hand, the new Palace Bros. single is fuckin' great.
It's very, very different from "Ohio River Boat Song," which for all its
depressing "oh but I cannot live without her" overtones was essentially a
build-to-a-climax anthem a la Fairport Convention's version of "Percy's
Song" or something like that. "Come In" feels broken-hearted and
half-written, which for once is a compliment (think of the late Big Star
songs with the long pauses or single-instrument fills); "Trudy Dies"
sounds like a '20s recording of some Appalachian folk song, except that a)
it's way more subtle and existentially sad than most folk songs get, which
is saying a lot, and b) it's got strings playing in the background--on
close inspection, they're a single-note string sample played at the
appropriate pitches on a keyboard (there's no tonal variation, they're all
compressed and crackly--a nice touch--and they start and end each note in
a way that actual strings don't). Very highly recommended (and yes, the
single and the CD have exactly the same songs on them). 

	Incidentally, the Palace Bros. will be playing in New York the
same weekend as the Simple Machines weekend in Washington. Yet another
reason not to go to D.C. for a festival that started selling tickets
before they announced who was playing. 

	One other thing: I'm going to take rude advantage of the
indie-ness of this list to ask about an indie-soul record from 20 years or
so ago. The record that's spent the most time on my turntable this week is
Betty Davis's utterly over-the-top _They Say I'm Different_, on the Just
Sunshine Records label. Anybody know anything at all about her? 

Douglas D. Wolk
"We regret that this performance of 'Waiting For Godot' has had to be
postponed because the actor playing Godot has failed to turn up. We regret
any inconvenience this may cause. Please collect your complimentary
tickets for tomorrow's performance on your way out." --Andrew Langridge


From: Mark Cornick <>

holidays mean good beer, good music and good Cohen

Greetings, salutations and holiday cheer to all. Ya gotta love people who
give you the good stuff: extra cash, Yuengling Porter, and...

* Jonny Cohen And The Love Machine, _Getting Our Heads Back Together_
(Teenbeat): Whereas the other well-known Teenbeat groups (Unrest, Eggs,
etc.) are developing more rockstar tendencies by the day, Jonny Cohen
would never want to be a rockstar -- he just wants to be Speed Racer.
Anyway, _Getting Our Heads Back Together_ is the second Love Machine LP,
recorded over 1992 at various times and places (so it would precede
Jonny's current band, the Shoetrees.) The big addition to this LP over the
previous Love Machine LP is... ladeez and gentlemen... the world's
cheesiest organ, adding a bit of a surf sound to the new-wave-ish Love
Machine style. Love it! Guitarist Pete Nelson seems to be the only Love
Machinist on this one that was also on the debut. This means that you get
his heavy-metallish guitar, some of which I could do without. But the real
focus here, of course, is Jonny's fabulously quirky voice & lyrics. The
topics run the gamut from rubber superheroes to cross- dressing to
Coke-machine vandalism. The feel-good record of the year? Close. (GOHBT
is available only on CD, but the CD includes the first LP and the "Space
Butterfly" 45, for nearly 72 minutes of fun with Jonny. Like Jonny's
"Indian Giver" 45, the inserts are made of construction paper in various
colors -- collect 'em all.) It probably sounds really silly -- and,
frankly, it is -- but I'll bet you'll take a liking to Jonny too. Now
where's that Shoetrees record? **

Also got the debut CD from Frances Gumm, Cruella (on VHF/Land Speed) but
haven't listened to it yet. Pester me about it next week. 

Happy Whatever (thanks for the card, Liz!)


From: Steve Silverstein <>


OK.  All the reviews I hadn't bothered to write yet (be warned, it's a lot)...
7"ers come first...

Pitchblende--Weed Slam EP--I like this quite a bit.  Not as good as the
best stuff on the album, but still a worthwhile investment.  3 catchy
tunes, title track is my favorite.  (Jade Tree/2310 Kenwynn
Road/Wilmington, DE 19810)

Mark Eitzel--Take Courage--Up to his usual par, just him, real bare.  OK. 
I'm 2 years late in getting this and everyone knows that.  I still like
it, so I figured I'd say so.  (Mt*dr)

Von Ryan Express--Up on the Block--This is just brilliant.  Sort of
MC5/Stooges feel but more noise and less garage rock tunes.  Still it's
really catchy and after a couple listens the songs stick in your head. 
Also includes a song I think is a Boredoms tribute, "Whitey's Big Chance",
tacked on at the end of side B for like 50 seconds.  (Load/Ben McOsker/120
Hadley Avenue/Clifton, NJ 07011). 

Adickdid--All-American Girl--I like this a lot.  Quite unlike Kaia's solo
acoustic 7" (see below) which is newer, but which I got first.  Sort of
Helium-ish, but a bit more lo-fi.  I should probably mention it's an
all-female trio if you didn't know that.  (Imp/P. O. Box 34/Portland, OR

Wing Tip Sloat--Half Past I've Got--Still sort of Pavement-y, but the
songs are catchy and the cover art is damn amazing (it comes in a paper
bag; must see to believe) and it's CHEAP for 2 7"s.  (VHF/Box 7365/Fairfax
Station, VA 22035)

Karl Hendricks Trio--Baseball Cards/Smarty Pants--Versus-y, but when was
that ever a bad thing.  Catchy songs and good use of dynamics.  (Mind
Cure/Box 19438/Pittsburgh, PA 15213)

Aurora Paralysis--The Messenger/Bubble Song--This is really great.  It's a
damn shame AP broke up.  Soft, airy, but not in a bad way.  Really catchy
and pretty and totally unique.  The singer has a great voice which floats
over the tunes. (Brilliant/P. O. Box 17116/Richmond, VA 23226-7116)

The Very Pleasant Neighbor--Retro-Amazer, etc.--This is really excellent. 
I'm about 3 years late in reviewing this one, and I don't know where you
can find it anymore (ask Douglas, who may have a clue?).  I like it,
though.  Goofy and weird, but you don't forget the songs (or the lyrics). 
"Oxmallet" is just too darn funny.  (Fang--?)

Dreams Made Flesh--Renegade Debutante--Not as catchy or memorable as the
Great Men 45, but still solid, and probably more energetic and powerful. 
Decent, if not amazing.  (Interplanet/5 Dale Court/Stoneham, MA 02180)

Scarce--Scorpion Tray/Days Like This--A bit cheesy on the mixes, but the
songs are catchy and energetic, though not too unique.  I like it, but
it's not a must-have.  On clear blood-red vinyl.  (Delmore/P. O. Box
477458/Chicago, IL 60647)

Slug--Rubber Ape--Not a great recording; fails to capture their live
stuff. Nonetheless, I kind of like it.  Noisy, solid.  Pretty good songs. 
(PCP/ Box 1689/New York, NY 10009-8908)

God is My Co-Pilot--How I Got Over it--6 cool songs.  Ranges from some
sense of normalcy to none.  Noisy and interesting, sometimes even catchy. 
I'd endorse it.  (Ajax/P. O. Box 804293/Chicago, IL 60680-4114)

Kaia--Kopi--4 nifty acoustic tunes from former Adickdid singer/guitarist.
Simple, pretty, and really nice.  (Little Brother Records/P. O. Box
3224/Eugene OR 97403)  [I promise I'll review this one soon too - Lena]

Lazy Eye--Soul Suck/Phlogopyte--Noisy, powerful, unrelenting.  Nonetless,
sort of catchy and sometimes interesting.  Solid, and worth a listen. 
(Lonely Fat Boy/500 Wickenden Street/Providence, RI 02903)

Aurora Paralysis/Young Love--split--Young Love impressed me little; I
found the song rather generic.  AP I still like a lot, and this song is
excellent.  A neat thing about them is that each song is fairly unique. 
(Assembly/P. O. Box 4785/Richmond, VA 23220)


Poem Rocket--4 song demo thing--I like them a lot.  I'm not sure if this
is available yet, but check them out live if they're near you.  Sort of
Pavement meets Echo and the Bunnymen?  Catchy, energetic (though very
soft) and not like much else you've heard of late.  (41 First Avenue/Apt.
4/New York, NY 10003)

Swoon--Papa Sunday EP--Their 6 song demo-ish thing is for sale.  Recorded
by Rob Christiansen (Eggs) at American U., it sounds real nice.  Catchy
songs with a noisy feel and a definite early-80s influence.  At times they
sound a little like the Dambuilders with guitars replacing the violin, but
not really. (

Enough already!  I'll shut up now.  I hope I hadn't reviewed any of these
yet, and if I had, sorry.  I hope everyone is in the middle of an
excellent non-denominational holiday season, and maybe I'll see some of
you at the Simple Machines shindig. 



The Indie-List Digest is published every Tuesday and Friday by the
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 please send your articles for the next issue to LENA!

[Submitted by: karlof chris knox  (
               Fri, 31 Dec 1993 22:20:03 -0500 (EST)]