really, i can't explain...
but i'll be happy when we're all sane.


      Indie List Digest!

       August 8, 1994

     Volume 3   Number 46


'68 Comeback
Mekons, Polvo 
The Drop-outs/Sugarshack/Sons of Hercules
Air Miami, Boredoms, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Bedhead redux, et al.
Corrections, Reviews (Tone, Velvet Crush, GbV...)
YoYo a GoGo
ANNOUNCE: 0-aluminum check-up

This issue is a bit of a long one (echo!), delayed by travel (separate 
travel, which meant even pre-editing was delayed).  Sorry for the 
wait, but there's some good stuff in here...  A few notes and 

We're still taking submissions - electronic or physical - for the 
Indie-List T-shirt design.  There is a prize (generously assisted by 
a well-known netstore) for the chosen design, so if you're almost 
done, please drop me a line to let me know.

It's not precisely Indie, but it's fun: the Music Kitchen, at, is yet another of those "Music on the 
Net" places.  It's the new Beastie Page home, as well as host to some 
other music-related stuff (like Mammoth Records, verging on mersh as 
well).  I'm trying to collect these sorts of things, so any pointers 
would be appreciated.

This issue has Anne's (and to a lesser extent, my) musings on the 
YoYofest of this month past.  It's long, so if you don't feel up to it 
now, you can always eat it for lunch tomorrow...  It'll keep.  If you 
want the executive summary: good stuff, but exhausting.


And now - real content!:

From: David Gershwin <>
'68 Comeback -- Paper Boy Blues 10"

'68 Comeback -- Paper Boy Blues 10"
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)

There's been a whole slew of rootsy, bluesy, foot-stompin' music these 
days -- Rev.  Horton Heat, Mule, Red Red Meat, Southern Culture on the 
Skids, -- now I've been introduced to Memphis, TN's '68 Comeback, and 
I'm very pleased, having only been exposed to a 7" of theirs on SubPop 
a while back.

Lead singer Monsieur Jeffrey Evans, who moonlights in the Gibson Bros.  
with Jon Spencer (of Blues Explosion fame .  .  .) has been doing his 
fair share of scouring the record bins at Poplar Records and listening 
to a whole bunch of Hound Dog Taylor, Junior Kimbraugh and other blues 
greats, while also paying unspoken homage to _Off the Bone_-era 
Cramps.  The Cramps, for the uninitiated, are an American treasure in 
their own right, the gods of psychobilly.

The record sleeve itself is an eye-catcher -- 10" records are always 
so and seem to be consistently good regardless of who the artist is -- 
with a '50s-kitsch illustration of a wheel-less, lime green '58 Olds 
whizzing past the Pyramids and the Sphinx, and a back cover with a 
photo of other indie 7" releases by the Red Devils, Glory Hole, and 
other slices of Americana.

The band, consisting of Monsieur Evans (pronounced AYY-vans in 
French...) on lead vocals and guitar, Jack Taylor & Daniel Lin Wood on 
guitars to boot, Dan Brown on bass, and Greg Carthwright on drums, 
churns out some real numbers on this puppy.  "In My Dreams" is, for 
lack of better terminology, riff-o-rama -- very Cramps-like, very 
infectious.  Music that scares your parents, even if they went to 
Berkeley in the '60s.

"Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" was great as well, although I was having 
trouble listening to the song, since I was repeating the phrase 
"spo-dee-o-dee" to myself over and over again.  One can safely assume 
they ain't talking 'bout no Napa Valley wine from Cal-iff-or-nie-ay -- 
rather, wine of the T-Bird/Night Train valleys in down-and-out 
America.  (Could any of you Southern folks tell me what 
"spo-dee-o-dee" means? -- d.g.)

Then, after switching intoxicants from fortified alcohol to injectable 
opiates, the '68ers come back on side 2 with "Paper Boy Blues," which 
wouldn't be out of place on the Velvet Underground's first album -- 
dark, simple, and pleasurable.  "Tennessee Rock 'n' Roll" is what 
Chuck Berry would sound like if he were locked in a room with Jon 
Spencer (if only Chuck weren't too busy locking himself in rooms with 
little kids...).  The closer, "Half-Breed," contains the rather 
reactionary but otherwise funny lyric "Better get a gun and stand..."

Now, there's a black mark on this 10", and it's the opening track, "A 
Little Bitch (And A Little Bitch Better)".  Now, the song itself is 
all right, and I listened to it three times to see if the lyrics got 
any more offensive than the title ("I know you honey child" seemed 
innocent enough .  .  .).  But from what I pick out, Monsieur Evans 
sings "You're my bitch/a little bitch better," which I will not excuse 
in the least.  There's no reason for it, it's not part of a larger 
story, and it takes away from an otherwise great record.  So I don't 
know what this means.  For me, I'll just skip that song from now on.  
For you, if this isn't good enough, I suggest you ask the band 
themselves what's up -- here's their address:

'68 Comeback
P.O. Box 12643
Memphis, TN  38182

Now, there is a strong tradition of off-color remarks in blues music 
(Elmore James' "Dust My Broom" comes to mind .  .  .), but we're in 
clearly different times these days.  It's time to wise up.

-- David Gershwin

[while david's sensitivity is laudable, i just thought i'd mention 
that i don't necessarily want people to feel obligated to apologize 
for things like this in this forum.  if we all had to write apologia 
for lyrics by artists we liked, i suspect we'd be reading a lot fewer 
music reviews here.  as a writer/editor for this thing, i operate on the 
premise that our readers are able to tell the difference between art 
and real life.  -az]

[for an interesting set of interviews with Mr Evans & his erstwhile 
bro', Mr Howland, check out SuperDope #6, which I picked up recently, 
if belatedly...  -es]


From: <>
Mekons, Polvo 

Here's two records I've been listening to a lot lately (on a tape, in 
my car, about the only place I have time to sit down and just listen 
to music anymore!):

The Mekons, _Retreat from Memphis_

Hey, this is just a reminder to all you indie music fans who are 
getting swept away by all the Slint clone bands, Sonic Youth feedback 
fallout bands, and other bands with detuned guitars, odd song 
structures and bizarre rhythm patterns (not that there is anything 
inherantly wrong with any of the above, except that some of the 
creeping complicatedness of some of this music is beginning to smack 
of 1970s art-rock quasi-classical pretentiousness...) that there is 
still a lot that can be accomplished with ordinarily-tuned (or close 
to it) guitars, a modicum of distortion and/or feedback from strong 
amplifiers, fairly traditional song structures, catchy rhythms & 
melodies and good singers and lyricists -- yes, this is a wake-up 

The Mekons are arguably the longest-running punk band (who are the 
contenders? The Fall, maybe the Ramones, any others?) and this is 
something like their 327th album --ok, I'm just guessing here-- and it 
is something of a little return to their roots. The band is very 
stripped down this time, no keyboards to speak of, no violins or 
accordions much either. The guitars definitely take the steering 
wheel here, but it's the songs that really make this album great.  
Sally Timms sings nearly half of the songs, and her plaintive, 
ironic-romantic-tragic voice brings a great poignancy to the record.  
"Ice Rink in Berlin," "Soldier," and "Lucky Devil, Lucky Star" all 
bring a bit of a chill to you even as you smile and nod to the great 
witty lyrics and the rockin' band.

And this record does rock, too, make no mistake about it.  The singing 
male Mekons (plus a mystery rapper & another guest vocalist) bring 
their own desperate analytical pleading (hey, but not wimpy!) voices 
to the rest of the songs here, writing about history, politics 
(personal and otherwise), and the general state of mankind from the 
Mekon point of view.  The music ranges from the slightly poppy 
("Insignificance") to swaggering ("The Flame that Killed John Wayne") 
to anthemic ("Never Work") making all the relevant stops in between.  
Why, you could even dance to a lot of this, if people were inclined to 
dance to "indie" music any more. This is about the only record you 
will need -- until the next Mekons record comes out anyway.

Polvo, _Celebrate the New Dark Age_ (Merge Records)

All I kept hearing about was how WEIRD Polvo was.  Well, they have a 
weird band name, yes, but how really weird could their music 
actually be, hasn't it all been done before?

Well, I'll say that Polvo is, in fact, marginally weird.  Mostly this 
is due to the fact that about 90% of the time all the guitars sound 
like they are being played with a slide, including the bass, which 
gives the music a rather warped-record/rubber-band-y sound, like the 
band was a bunch of marionettes hanging from bungee cords.  That, plus 
the very bouncy, off-kilter, ever shifting rhythms give Polvo a 
definite "sound," much the same way the 13th Floor Elevators' electric 
jug player gave them a "sound."

Polvo also experiments with odd song structures, but they keep it to 
an extent that makes all the changes seem necessary in the context of 
the song, not like self-indulgent over-written showyness.  The songs 
keep bouncing along, taking twists and turns like the drunk room in a 
fun house, throwing you against the railings and walls when you turn a 
corner unexpectedly.  They aren't doing this to show you how cool they 
are, they just want you to get dizzy & fall down & have a good time 
while you're at it!

Lyrics? Vocals? OK, the singer is a bit on the flat, uninteresting, 
matter-of-fact-sounding side, but his voice is not annoying, either.  
It doesn't distract from the music at all, and it does give you 
something to sort of follow along with in your mind...but I'm still 
not too convinced by the rather non-sequitur-ish lyrics.  I usually 
don't mind such "automatic writing"-sounding words, but maybe they 
just need to be sung with a bit more conviction: "Celebrate the new 
dark age with us/calculate the irony with someone you can trust/ Every 
holy shroud that keeps us warm/show me something round and I'll 
analyze the form/Give us something brown that sticks like glue/ I'll 
enjoy the taste and appreciate it too..." etc.  Kinda funny, kinda 
surreal, you get the picture.

But really, the music is the star, and it sounds pretty cool-- 
Chinese-sounding sometimes, quite bizarre, but fun and interesting...  
I've never heard so much slide guitar that sounded so UNrelated to 
the blues! Actually, this may have more in common with the old-style 
Hawaiian slide guitar music, hmm...Time to check out the 
"international" Hawaiian records at the public library!



The Drop-outs/Sugarshack/Sons of Hercules

The Drop-outs, Sugarshack, Sons of Hercules
Wacky's Kantina, San Antonio
July 30, 1994

Located on the so-called "North Saint Mary's Strip," Wacky's Kantina 
is like your typical elementary school cafeteria with all of its 
interior picnic tables -- albeit a cefeteria with strung Christmas 
lights hanging from end to end, a fully-stocked bar to the side, and 
an all-knowing giant cardboard Garth-head surveying all activities 
instead of the school principal and his/her female "noon aides." At 
the far end of Wacky's is where the bands play, and this area is more 
like your typical Al's Bar/CBGB's/Satyricon-joint with its Small Pit 
and layers of grafitti covering all exposed surfaces.

The Drop-outs, apparently (if the Austin Chronicle is to be believed) 
[hmmm -es] San Antonio's second-hottest band, need some work.  The 
band has borrowed "A Look" -- three moptops, tucked-in long sleeves, 
black vests, and precariously-hanging-from-the lips cigarettes.  The 
band has borrowed "A Sound" -- something like early-'60s Rolling 
Stones, back when Jagger/Richards/Jones & co.  covered R & B songs 
instead of writing them.  There's a lot of harmonica and some 
occasional unfortunate George Thorogood-esque growling from the 
singer.  Discernible lyrics fall under the sub-Blues "I need a 
woman/she's alright with me" heading.

Unfortunately, noone's lent the Drop-outs any Songs.  A couple of 
tunes did have enough of that basic harmonica-driven sweaty stomp in 
them to set some hips -- male and female -- to some pretty serious 
swiveling in the audience, but by and large, the Drop-outs seemed 
content to rely on tired R & B rhythms and some good ol' rocknroll 
spirit from the singer to carry the show.  Perhaps the problem was all 
the Evian and MinuteMaid the Drop-outs seemed to be drinking onstage 
between songs.  To paraphrase the Minutemen: Maybe whiskey will help.

Sugarshack are some out-of-towners (I think) who do the Estrus thing 
poorly.  Speedy, rudimentary garage-rockabilly-surf rhythms and lyrics 
about (one guesses) race cars, bad women, and booze only partially 
describe the mediocre Sugarshack; they also are fronted by a 7-foot 
tall singer compelled to dance in the most awkward and embarassing 
fashion possible.  Many in the audience were likewise compelled to 
avert first their eyes and then their ears.

The Sons of Hercules' garage rock seems based solely on the Stooges.  
The singer, like Iggy Pop, looks (is?) old but moves young, the band 
(including -- I have to mention it -- a guitarist with the worst 
Prince Valiant haircut I have ever seen) churns out recycled 
proto-punk riffs, and I get bored.  This isn't garage rock -- it's 
more like "mirror-rock," music created as you pose in the mirror, (in 
this case) scowling and gyrating, trying to generate some real Raw 
Power.  As usual, the result of such mirror-gazing is that scourge of 
all rock revivalism: homage on the verge of self-parody.  Perhaps Sons 
of Narcissus would be a more appropriate monniker for these San 

Such is the state of the mostly-moribund San Antonio "scene" that it's 
left to an out-of-town alternative weekly (the Austin Chronicle) to 
argue the case that San Antonio is actually producing bands of 
quality.  Such also is the state of the San Antonio scene that its 
"top" band -- the Sons of Hercules, who have just released an album on 
(of course) Austin-based Unclean Records -- can attract, at best, only 
70 locals to what in even a semi-thriving scene would have been a 
special hometown gig.  Sadder still is that San Antonio's Bands of 
Promise seem content to wallow in their (admittedly high-quality) 
record collections and influences instead of coming up with their own 
musical ideas.

- Jay Babcock


From: Robert Lim <>
Air Miami, Boredoms, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Bedhead redux, et al.

Oops, a rather lengthy submission.  If you're too poor to buy records, 
you can cut to the chase down at the bottom, where I take on Josh 
"Jeff Beck is My Hero" Ronsen regarding his slanderous comments on 
Bedhead. [watch that axe, eugene -es]

Air Miami w/ Romania and some other band @ TheNightclub 9:30:::
The not quite so hotly anticipated re-emergence of Mark and Bridget 
after the demise of Unrest was surprisingly devoid of much interest in 
the DC hipster community.  We got there after the first band was 
finished, and after loitering about in a crowd much too heavy for my 
elitist taste, Romania hit the stage.  In a very loose way, I guess 
because we started hearing really goofy early '80s new wave tinged 
with that later '80s take on new wave that produced such wonderful 
bands as the Pet Shop Boys, etc.  Only after they really started 
playing did we realize it was not a joke, these 2 guys dressed up in 
lipstick, flashy sequins and whatnot plus tight leather stretch pants 
(in the case of the singer) were really a Factory cover band.  
Although not quite, as the only cover they did was of Toto's "Africa" 
(off Toto IV, you collector scum) strategically placed in the set 
as to not come off as ironic at all.  The singer was trying all these 
neo-disco moves out, and even though he had the flash and pizzaz, the 
keyboardist was obviously the master...  I'm really just kidding, it 
was wretched; when Ceacescu bought it by angry mobs of Romanians, it 
was not (as is commonly believed) because he was an evil despot who 
was the leader of one of the more oppressive police states in the 
world at the time, but because the proles, blinded by fury, mistook 
him for the leader of this band.  A Robinsonian joke gone awry.

After they left and a significant delay, Air Miami (not a Henry Cow 
song and probably one of the worst new band names) took the stage 
without much cheer.  In fact neither really said anything to the 
audience (neither Mark nor Bridget- the other two members seemed 
almost an afterthought) the whole night, not even a friendly hello or 
nothing.  The big change from Unrest was that Bridget now plays guitar 
and it seems as if the songwriting is more even.  Mostly midtempo 
pop songs with a feel of optimism after a rainy day when the sun is 
beginning to emerge.  Is that a review? Well, Bridget's songs were 
pretty weak and Mark E.  seems to be sliding, too.  Less song-oriented 
than Unrest's stuff and more just atmospherics, but could that be the 
subpar mix and the oppressive heat in the club? Nevertheless, there 
were a couple decent songs, including one with actual structured 
dynamic that was sorta predictable but enjoyable for the very same 
reason (kinda like _Go Fish_ or Speed, the only time you'll ever see 
those films being compared).  All in all, this could have been the next 
Unrest album played live.

Mandible Chatter- Hair Hair Lock and Lore- ():  

Know almost nothing about this band, except they are probably from San 
Francisco and have at least a couple of records out already.  This 
band features no vocals and the "songs" are basically drone oriented, 
in both ways: the organic sorta way and the mechanical, repetitive way 
that takes a percussive loop or what have you and throws it back in 
your face while instruments meander over and about it.  There are some 
bits that veer close to the New Agey side of things (including an 
acoustic guitar solo piece that sounds like a generic intro to an NPR 
segment) but on the other hand, sometimes they mix the two to create 
interesting results.  Truth to tell, I'm not really sure if this is 
more compelling intellectually (c.f.  Azalia Snail, which embodies all 
the mentally stimulating voyeuristic joy of primitive Sebadoh, but 
almost none of the gut pleasures) or in execution.  Take a looksee if 
you find it about if you're the type that thinks Andrew MacKenzie is 
very fascinating for double albums at a time.  Warning: One song 
sounds like an outtake from Peter Gabriel's Passion, which may be 
good or bad for you.

Boredoms- "Super Roots e.p." (Sire/Reprise/etc)

A wise friend of mine said "Fuck Blockbuster, Viacom, QVC and all 
their friends" in reference to the latest Sonic Youth offering.  But 
here is tangible proof that those mega-corporations are really looking 
out for us, because they make this available to the average peon whose 
idea of record shopping heaven is to go to a Tower Records store.  
Unfortunately, the closest Tower didn't have any of these despite the 
Lollapalooza angle, but I am pleased to report they had The 
Gerogerigegege, Guru Guru and Fat in stock.  After mucho 
head scratching, I finally found a used promo copy elsewhere still in 
its shrink wrap and the nice holographic chastity belt that's in such 
vogue with the majors today.

Let me tell you, Simple Machines can work as hard on packaging as 
they want, but they will never make a record as dear to my heart as 
this: it has an indexed track! This aside, I must say that the 
Boredoms are one of the most brutally original band in rock today, and 
this release is as indicative of this as any of their other ones.  In 
fact, half of it is pretty much devoid of instrumentation (and the 
slower bits are the more cluttered), but there's lots of beloved 
squeaking, grunting and goofiness that is expected from the Boredoms.  
For some odd reason, this band has been blessed with such talent that 
they can make insanely listenable and obscure music given anything at 
all. If there were no musical instruments, they would be the best band 
on the planet.  As it is, they are damn close, no doubt about it.  
Probably more accessible as _Pop Tatari_, tho that record had more 
"rocking" parts to it.  Will upstage every Lollapallooza band past, 
present and future.

Some Velvet Sidewalk, Whirlpool, (K Records)  

Yet another Northwest (I think) band that I don't get.  Less than half 
of this is that obnoxious love rock, which I refuse to comment on due 
to a lack of objectivity.  Most of the rest are lo-fi takes on the 
Ohio rock and roll sound circa mid-'80s, as displayed on various 
bands on OKra and Homestead in doses of sheer brilliance.  The point? 
Ya got me.

As for Josh Ronsen's take on Bedhead on the last Indie-List, well...  
Josh has always been a pinhead when it comes to Galaxie 500.  It seems 
that whenever any band gets favorably compared to them, you can 
actually see his mind close (well, you have to stare into his eyes) 
and then his ears can only hear vague scribbles and out-of-tune 
caterwaul.  Funny how it is that in his checklist comparison in 
Galaxie 500, he puts "yes" next to G500's pleasant voice and catchy 
lyrics when in fact a) Dean Wareham has the most hideous and grating 
voice paired up with intensely stupid lyrics (esp towards the This Is 
Our Music era).  I will be the first to admit that I like Galaxie 500 
quite a bit (one might say too much) but on the other hand I refuse to 
put them on some sort of pedestal or whatnot.
In short, don't count Bedhead out 'cos they don't live up to 
unrealistic standards (G500's goofy charms would seem pathetic in 
another band and it's not like Dean's ego is going to deflate anytime 
soon).  Bedhead play soothing, soft pleasant noise that's nice to wake 
up to and fall asleep to, even at the same time.  They aren't great 
live (start their songs too slowly), but on album they evoke beautiful 
moods and sleepy vibes.  Especially wonderful is "Bedside Table," 
which melts into a slippery echo groove a la Czech 4AD wannabes Ecstacy 
of St Theresa.  I think the reason why the G500 comparisons are made 
so often is 'cos this music probably appeals to open-minded Galaxie 500 

Until later,

Robert Lim    | "It's always disquieting to find out that your
lim7@midway   |  tastes are shared by the masses.  It's like when |  a guy in an ugly tie asks where you bought your
12XU!	      |  shirt."			-Kyle Baker


From: (Robbeldebobbel)

The time: yesterday (7/31), 11:30 p.m.  The place: Bottom of the Hill, 
SF, CA.  The band: UNSANE (I missed half of and didn't pay attention 
to the other half of Smartyr's set - sorry).

They look like three ordinary guys - well, the drummer is pierced and 
tattooed, but you tend not to notice when you spend too much time in 
SF.  And they make a hell of a racket on stage.  Simple but very 
effective drumming, guitar and bass both heavily distorted, sometimes 
going in unison for a while, then going off and doing their separate 
things.  It was impossible to not move to the groove.  From start to 
end, there was nary a second of silence - drumming and feedback 
leading from one song into the next.  Except mid-set, when a 
leather-clad (and scantily, at that) fraulein crawled onto stage and 
started strutting her stuff - Unsane were clearly unprepared for this 
event and it took a while before the guitar player finally said "look, 
I'm sure you're a nice girl, but we're a band - please get off the 
stage," - and she did.  "Now, if we'd been Surgery, that girl would've 
been dancing topless."  And the pummel attack continued.  Not since 
the Bailter Space show (also at the Bottom of the Hill) had my ears so 
protested after an evening of live music - but it was more than worth 



From: Steve Silverstein <>
Corrections, Reviews (Tone, Velvet Crush, GbV...)

What first.  Versus' drummer most of the time recently is Ed Baluyut, 
Richard's brother and the guitarist from Flower.  I haven't heard of 
Rob Hale playing with more than 3 or 4 times since he "quit" the band, 
though these included Indie 500 and the Working Holiday thing.  The 
new LP is on TeenBeat, The Stars are Insane.  There is a reissue of 
the Landspeed 7" in case you missed it the first time.  That could be 
what you're thinking of.

Tone.  One of the best bands I've seen in awhile.  Sorry, whoever saw 
them.  Guitar symphonies with about 6 guitars, 2 basses (though 
sometimes only 1 bass and 7 guitars--see 3 guys play bass, only 1 or 2 
at a time, and Tom is always playing bass--makes no sense.  Sorry), 
and 1 drummer (currently Phil Krauth).  They hardly tour, since some 
of them (incl.  Phil, apparently) have day jobs.  But they're really 
interesting and complex songs, a bit like Branca maybe, not like much 
else.  Really neat.  Worth seeing.  I think they have a tape out that 
is hard to find (i.  e.,  I haven't found it yet).

Velvet Crush--Teenage Symphonies To God (Creation/Epic/550/Sony).  
Their major label debut, and not as outstanding as it should be.  The 
sound is stellar, but it's got fake strings, some songs that sound a 
lot like the last couple Matthew Sweet or Teenage Fanclub records, a 
couple of bad mixes from Scott Litt (though a great one on the single, 
"Hold Me Up").  Pretty solid with some high points, but not essential.

Guided by Voices--Get Out of My Stations (Siltbreeze).  I like this.  
It's weird, even by GbV's usual standards.  It really tests their 
experimental edges.  Still, it's got a neat B&W cover and it's kind of 
catchy at times and really interesting the rest.  I'd say start with 
Bee Thousand or Fast Japanese Spin Cycle or something, but this is 
still well worth a listen.

Golden Touch--Hits the Sweet Spot (Load/POBox 35/Providence, RI 
02901).  This is a great Birthday Party sort of thing.  Lots of minor 
chords, and tough, sort of Dischord-y riffs.  This pressing is only of 
300, and there may or may not be more.  Wait at your own risk.  It's 
really intense, fun energetic punk stuff, highly recommended.

McCarthy--Keep An Open Mind or Else! (Midnight).  Have you wondered 
what Tim was doing before Stereolab? Very overtly political, slightly 
skewed pop from 1989, but no Moogs and no indication of what was 
coming.  I like it, but it kind of caught me offguard, and didn't blow 
me away.

Silkworm--Inside Outside (Punchdrunk/POBox 3032/Bellingham WA 98227).  
Their first release, dating back to 1990.  It's pretty interesting 
from an historical perspective and worth a listen, but I'd recommend 
their newer stuff first.

Silkworm--Violet (Blatant/POBox 10173/Olympia, WA 98502).  Their 2nd 
7" from 1993, shortly before the 12".  It sounds like the 12", not 
quite as hard.  I like it, it's good punk stuff, but I'd recommend any 
of the last 3 full-length releases (incl.  the forthcoming Libertine) 

Team Dresch--Molasses in January (Kill Rock Stars/120 NE State 
#418/Olympia, WA 98501).  This is Jody from Hazel, Kaia from Adickdid, 
and Donna Dresch.  It's good stuff.  Given the name power and the 
raves I'd at least been hearing about I expected something 
earthshattering.  It's real good, but just real good.  Well worth a 
listen, but my life wasn't changed by it.

Sun City Girls--Valentines from Matahari (Majora/POBox 78418/Seattle, 
WA 98178) One of their noisier, more bizarre things.  Lots of 
pounding, noisy, guitars, pretty lo-fi sort of stuff.  Complete with 
the angular drumming and all the things you expect from SCG.  Not 
like, say, the more countrified Horse Cock Phepner, though.  Neat-o 
stuff.  Check them out if you haven't yet.

Silkworm--Libertine (due soon on El Recordo/1916 Pike Place 
#12-370/Seattle, WA 98101-1056).  A sort of continuation from where In 
the West left off, again recorded with Steve Albini.  This one is 
probably a small step forward.  Still punk stuff, still great.  They 
really know how to use dynamics--no one plays except when they have 
something to add.  The songs build and fall slowly but powerfully.  
And the lyrics have some subtle twists once in awhile too.  You'll 
probably like this if you liked the last, it's a bit better too.



YoYo a GoGo, Olympia, Wash., July 12-16, 1994

Written by Anne Zender  [Bracketed comments by es]

Of all the bizarre things to do.  For our summer vacation, Eric & I 
found ourselves traveling to the other end of the continent to visit 
friends, see mountains, and watch some indie bands.  Go figure.

First stop was Seattle, where we saw Jad Fair & Barbara Manning on the 
10th, along with the I-L's own Lena & her friend Scott (see Lena's 
review, a few I-Ls ago).  By Monday I had definitely caught a 
dreadful, drippy cold, the effects of which were felt for the rest of 
the vacation.  Nonetheless, on Tuesday 12th we headed south for 
Olympia, which turned out to be a lot smaller than I expected for a 
state capital.  Downtown at the Capitol Theater, a couple hundred 
indie kids were coagulating out front, waiting to claim tickets or 
passes to YoYo a GoGo, the five-day music festival organized by YoYo 
Recordings of Olympia to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

On the whole, the festival seemed fairly well organized.  Sets were 
generally limited to half an hour or less, which was good news for 
those with short attention spans, like me.  The more adventurous fans 
gathered on the floor of the theater right under the stage, but we 
found it less crowded in the balcony, and we still had a pretty good 
view.  Bands got on and off the stage quickly, with only periodic 
interruptions from YoYomeister Pat Maley, who would occasionally 
interject commentary, or unannounced interlopers, who would sometimes 
pick up a guitar, sing a few songs, and then saunter off.

Most of the audience consisted of high school and college-age kids (it 
was an all-ages event) with the occasional nervous-looking [and often 
balding] music critic thrown in.  It was one of the first times I'd 
ever felt, well, old at a show.

Of course, we didn't see every single damn band on the bill; being 
sick, I usually tired out quickly, and then when I got to feeling 
better, Eric then got sick.  In truth, by the end of the week, the 
whole thing actually began to feel somewhat like an endurance test, 
and when I took one afternoon off from band watching, it felt more 
like skipping school.  On the whole, though, I think it was time well 

I've briefly commented on bands that made some kind of impression on 
me.  Not having followed the Olympia-area scene terribly closely, I 
don't know the genealogies of every band, so bear with me.

Tuesday evening:

Cub: Cute-rock band No.  1.  Three women doing punky/jangly K-style 
rock.  I wondered what they'd be like if they dropped the naive 
schtick, but then it wouldn't be K style, would it? [I was impressed 
that they covered both "I'm Sticking with You" by VU -and- "Vacation" 
by the Go-Gos]

Tattletale: Anguished chamber rock rather with a Suzanne Vega/Indigo 
Girls bent.  One woman on guitar, one woman on various other 
instruments, including (if I remember correctly) slapping her belt 
buckle as percussion.  This band did a lot of emoting (italics 

I then crashed & missed the grand Nirvana non-reunion featuring the 
Stinky Puffs, a band that includes Jad Fair's 10-year-old stepson.

[luckily, I caught some of what went on.  In short:

The Brentwoods were a reasonably tight Ventures-sounding band in the 
school of artists celebrated by Kicks.  Fun stuff, but not fun enough 
to keep Anne riveted.  They did charm me by using a Farfisa.

The Stinky Puffs, of course, received national press by having the 
remaining 2/3s of Nirvana with them as well as the charming Ira Kaplan 
on second gtr.  It was fun stuff, a bit sloppy, but quite 
appropriately so.  I'm a real sucker for the double-drummer sound that 
the Butthole Surfers popularized, so they kicked my butt.

Crayon were three guys singing about the angsts that make our lives 
move either forward or in circles.  Pretty poppy stuff.  The drummer 
did indeed wear a lion suit.

And I finally got to see Unwound, doing their '60s-'80s school punk 
warped in a post-SY mirror.  Good tunings and feedback.]


(All day was spent in an antihistamine cloud.  It's a wonder I took 
any notes at all.)

[Nancyville.  Basically, the Clash.  But they did cover John 
Mellencamp's "Authority Song"...]

Nitre Pit: Billowing drums, snarling bass, occasional keyboard, 
windblown vocals.  All atmospheric, but they didn't seem to have real 
songs.  Not sure what it all adds up to.  [my notes say that I thought 
they were the Swans meetng the elder Brotzmann in a dark alley...]

[I found longhindlegs to be pretty uninspiring, despite their use of a 
parade drum and their cover of PiL's "Rise."]

Mukilteo Fairies: Good old hardcore, fast and loud.  All songs about a 
minute long, all sounding about the same.  Good visuals though: while 
the singer spent most of his time stage diving, there were a couple of 
guys providing incidental gogo dancing, which made this band, I 
suppose, somehow the closest thing to Arrested Development that week.

godheadSilo: A general favorite, & much has been written about their 
ponderous, guitar-heavy sound.  I kept trying to think of a 
descriptive term of my own and the closest I could get was 'dork 
rock.' Two guys with real big amps cranking it up really loud.  
Occasionally, a third guy would pop up from behind the amps and do 
Godzilla pantomimes.  I was left speechless.

[Dig Yr Grave played in the evening (while Anne's antihistamine haze 
took over completely), doing a precious blend of punk sounds.

The Rickets had a tremendous crowd response to their traditional SoCal 
Hardcore sound.  But it was deserved - they were tight and enjoyable.  
I especially enjoyed their rendition of Bad Posture's "GDMFSOB."

Girl Trouble seemed a bit out of place as a tight band that belongs in 
the same bar as Bodeco.  But they were fun and interesting cowpunk, 
and the lead singer has inherited most of Sammy Davis Jr.'s stage 
charisma.  And they were the only band to do a tribute to the recently 
departed Henry Mancini.

I left during Karp, finding them uninspiring and noisy, even if the 
singer did have a cool Elvis suit.]

Thursday: Bunnygrunt: Cute-rock band No.  2, from St.  Louis.  
Three-piece doing songs about Snoopy, favorite foods, and so on, in 
kind of a lemonade-stand way.  It set me to thinking about how this 
kind of thing may sound overdone in Olympia, but it rarely plays in 
the Midwest, where we still cling to the tired notion that 'rock' 
should be about 'danger' or something and not about, say, dessert.  
Bunnygrunt may change this, though they will giggle a lot in the 
process.  I also like their 'Criminal Boy' single on SillyMoo Records.

Softies: Cute-rock band No.  3, with a Tiger Trap connection.  As I 
recall, just two women & a guitar, singing fragile, pretty, yet 
somehow generic songs.  This was something of a disappointment, 
although their recorded material may be better.

Bloodthirsty Butchers: Despite their Awful Name (TM), they were pretty 
good.  High-powered ROCK, aggressively played by a passel of Japanese 
guys.  Bizarrely, it put me in mind of Nevermind-era Nirvana, though 
perhaps that may have been due to something in the water.

Jad Fair: Bashful Jad played much the same kind of set he played in 
Seattle, managing to ruin every string on his guitar.  I liked 
standing near his table in the merchandise room because he was older 
than me.

Kicking Giant: These people have always gotten on my nerves.  They 
did so again.  Atonal screechiness drove me out after a few songs.  I 
looked in later and they were still at it, with an incidental woman 
speechifying about self-esteem or something, so I left again.  
[actually, she was talking about weight prejudice, or something...] 
Uhoh...guess I'm an intolerant bigot now!

Georgia & Ira: They have it all...just like Bogie and Bacall.  
Actually, it was just them and a guitar.  Ira made some jokes about 
how hard it was to play quietly.  [I can't explain why I find Ira's 
voice so compelling when he plays without excess electricity.  But his 
slightly off- tone nasality grabs the heartstrings.  Big bonuses...]

Codeine: After three days of hanging around teenagers with flourescent 
hair and bad glasses, I found these guys with their buzzcuts and jeans 
somehow comfortingly unpretentious.  I'd read that they were slow and 
drony, and this was right.  Not too high on my list of stuff to run 
out and buy, but they might achieve the questionable honor of being 
music I like to sleep to.


Excuse 17: Tours with Heavens to Betsy, and no wonder.  Two women (I 
think; maybe three) who were pretty disappointing when they relied on 
tuneless ranting.  When they picked up the tempo, things improved 
somewhat.  I may say they were virtually anthemic.  (Then again, I may 
think better of it.)

Lois, along with a drummer.  This was our first exposure to the 
ever-personable Lois, who bounced along and made much happy talk.  She 
didn't stretch her range too much, but when she did, I enjoyed her 
music.  The rest of the time, I tried to figure out who she reminded 
me of more: Liz Phair or Jenny Toomey? Liz or Jenny? Jenny or Liz?

I had Some Velvet Sidewalk confused with the Velvet Monkeys and had 
been somewhat fearful about this band, but I was relieved to see that 
it was just three guys playing crunchy skewed guitar rock.  Lots of 
on-stage jumping-around antics, which the singer would periodically 
sit down and watch.  The whole set was received with audience 

Versus, whom I'd never really gotten to hear before, played 
well-polished music that sometimes thundered and was sometimes 
plaintive.  Good, although not the second coming I'd gathered from 
other reviews.


The last day, and things started two hours earlier in the afternoon, 
so we missed a bunch of stuff.  I heard about 30 seconds worth of Team 
Dresch, and wished I could have heard more, but we had to hurry and 
get a good seat for I-L whipping boy Beck.

No, no, wait! First, we heard a fifteen-minute diatribe by a young 
woman about how Olympia's Evergreen College had screwed her by 
expelling her for spraying graffiti.  A bum rap, all right.  She then 
read a lengthy letter she had written to them in rebuttal which 
included lots of "I'm a victim of your medieval institutional 
meanness, etc." which made me impatient.  [I'd love to hear the 
details of this case from anyone in the know.  From what I heard 
there, she was upset about lamentable handling of rape crisis 
situations at Evergreen, spread a fair amount of vandalism on campus - 
tasteful slogans implying that death for rapists is too lenient - was 
caught and signed an agreement with the University to take part in 
some counseling and training, as well as some fines that would cover 
the vandalism.  It sounded like she hadn't done the counseling, and 
she certainly hadn't paid the fine.  She was most upset because the 
fines had been turned over to a collection agency afer non-payment.  
It sounds like real-world stuff, but if anyone knows more...]

Finally Beck played, first some generic punk stuff with what was 
apparently an ad-hoc band, then some more revealing folk-blues stuff.  
Very listenable, & not at all MTV minded, which was a mercy.  Guests 
included the godheadSilo guy, who made "human beatbox" sounds during 
one song, and Calvin Johnson, who sang, thrashed around in what seemed 
to me an extremely self-conscious way, and then stomped offstage 

The final night out: The first band were the New Bad Thingz, who wore 
jumpsuits and played goofy punk-pop, sort of like the Dead Milkmen 
with a horn section.

Next were the Copass Grinders, who were from Japan and played what I 
guess would be called "metalcore." Loud, up-tempo, lengthy songs.  At 
times various members would fall down in the middle of a solo.  So I 
left.  I really am no judge of this kind of thing.  [I fancy myself 
more of a judge...  I found them to be stunning, a fine refinement of 
the most important element of heavy metal - the power chord.  That's 
about all they produced, wave upon wave of power chords.  I loved it.]

Ultimately, we saw Mecca Normal, whose brand of theatrics seemed a 
little out of place in the land of earnest rock & roll.  As such, 
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart (no...damn! that's for the 
'80s-nostalgia-list!) er, our two intrepid musicians did a fine job, 
with vocalist singing from kind of a runner's stretch position, 
flailing her hair around, and intoning in her usual mirthless way, 
while the guitarist played sparse and sketchy riffs with plenty of 
Who-like arm swinging.

Olympia will never be the same, but then perhaps that's for the best.  
A good week out, overall.  Watch this space in another 10 years for 
more of the same, if we're lucky.


From: Brian K!z!K MacDonald <bmacdona@Bonnie.ICS.UCI.EDU>
ANNOUNCE: 0-aluminum check-up

This is regarding the 0-aluminum tape comps I've been making for a 
bunch of y'all recently...

I wanted to see if everyone who sent tapes got them back...  (I've 
been keeping a list of people who sent them, so if you think this is 
your chance to complain and get free tapes, nice try...  Although I 
highly doubt anyone who reads this would try something so fiendish.) 
Has everyone who asked for info on the tapes get info sent back to 

Also, I wanted to talk to Pam Nicholas and Bruce Levy regarding the 
matter, so if you read this, please send me a line.


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