Everything in life is just a commodity...


     Indie List Digest! 

     February 7th, 1994

     Volume 3, Number 10    


Message from the Moderator
Further Message from Editor

*******  MUSIC/REVIEWS SECTION *******

The Mountain Goats, "Philyria"
Ten best gigs of '93 at 1000FRYD
Beck is Bogus
RFTC/Royal Trux/Hawkwind/JSBE and more!!! 
eggs/lois tour dates
Nice noise things


Feminism, etc.
Hi-fidelity recording technique paves way for future
The Role of Indie Labels
It's a new dawn..


From: "K. Lena Bennett" <>

Message from the Moderator

In this issue we have 373 lines of review-related mail and 465 lines of
commentary.  I'm kind of disturbed by this trend, not so much on a content
basis but because it really increases the length of the indie list and
shifts the focus from talking about music, to long-winded discussions with
a strong basis in personal opinion, or even personal anecdote.  Is the
purpose of this list to inform, or to speak opinions?  I do not have
anything against opinion and commentary per se but I'm not sure if this is
the right place for it.  Does it crowd out people who just want to share
their impressions of the records they've been listening to and don't
really care much to debate the climate that these records are made in? 
I've brought up the question to other junta members if maybe it's time to
discuss the guidelines for submission for the indie-list again - we've
gotten a LOT of new subscribers since the last time guidelines (however
informal) were put forth - so please note that what I'm saying here is MY
OWN PERSONAL OPINION and not official policy.  I'd be curious to hear from
others what they think about the direction the list has been taking.  Do
you feel crowded out by opinion discussions? Are you bored?  Do you like
it, think it adds a vibrancy and intellectualism lacking in simple

I'll restate that my main reason for bringing this up is that I'm
concerned with the length, my own inability to read and process that many
lines per week as moderator (you don't want me to quit!), and also my
concern that the indie list might lose sight of its focus. 

On a lighter note....  Dave Grohl never showed up at my house for my
birthday the other night....  I have total faith in your loyalty to me,
and your ability to do anything for your Slacker Goddess (I figured if you
couldn't get Dave you could at least get Calvin Johnson, who is more
local, after all), so I figure he probably just lost my address....  Or
maybe it was too late at night for him to find any sweet almond oil and he
didn't want to disappoint me.  Thanks anyway.  Maybe next year, when I
turn 29! 

A couple more things:

	--Any friends of Josh Houk's who I haven't contacted already, can
you please contact me?  Thanks. 

	-- Jeanne Snodgrass has agreed to process the surveys.  She 
processes surveys for a living.  Thanks to all the rest who volunteered, 
but I have to admit I'm seduced by a professional credential.  Thanks, 


Editor's response:

Maybe I'm crazy, but I kinda like the debates that have been taking place 
here.  I find them to be intelligent and constructive, and as long as 
they don't degenerate into flame-wars (which is why the ILIJ exists, in 
part), I think it's a nice contrast to the review mentality.  Certainly, 
this is a place for record and show reviews, and the occasional plug for 
a release or upcoming show or whatever... but I personally am not a 
review-machine and I like to see some of the reasoning that people are 
doing about music.  

As far as guidelines, I'd make the plea that people remember that this 
is a music list, not a "personals" list, not a philosophy list.  But 
don't get scared off - another list I read has seen its volume decrease 
dramatically over the last couple weeks, and while it might have been 
getting a bit out of hand, at least I was learning something from many of 
the writers.  And I feel the same way here - I learn from everyone.  
Hopefully, I'm just a dumb music kid who expresses his opinions about the 
music he likes, not "the editor" carrying the torch of censorship or 
anything like that.  

Please talk to me or Lena privately about all this stuff - I suppose it's 
time for another I-L internal crisis, so let's talk about it and keep the 
list for everyone.

BTW, after dealing with the piece-o-shit pine spell-checker for the past 
half hour, I'd say that the commentary section should be more "to the 
point" perhaps(?) - make your point and get out - there's nobody grading 
you here, and space is at a premium sometimes...


P.S. on a totally unrelated note, I'd like to formally and publicly
apologize for my past slagging of one particular label-head, Gerard
Cosloy.  After a brief meeting last week and various public discussions in
other net forums, I think I now understand a few things that I previously
did not (and since when has it been fair to hold a label to its announced
release schedule? :).  N.B. - this does not mean that I'm going to
uniformly love and praise any future Matador releases, just that the
"personal" side of my complaints has passed. 


*******  MUSIC/REVIEWS SECTION *******

FROM:  K. Lena Bennett, Slacker Goddess

The Mountain Goats, Philyria 7" Single (1.5 pounds or $3 US from Theme
Park, P.O. Box 1073, Brighton, Sussex BN1 5EX U.K. -- or try AJAX or your
local indie store)

     I never did get around to writing my promised piece about the
Mountain Goats, so hopefully I can take this opportunity to write a review
of this new single that also can clue in the uninitiated.  Trying to
describe John Darnielle's songwriting in a way that's not misleading is a
daunting task.  Yeah, it's just a guy strumming a guitar and singing in a
kind of funny voice, but it's not folk music.  Or, it's only folk music if
someone like Chris Knox is also folk music: songwriting that uses words
for high impact, cliche-lessly illustrating truths and experiences that
seem universal upon hearing even if you never thought of them as universal
before, showing the inside of a very unique mind.  Some of the earlier
songs gave the first impression of being almost novelties -- lyrics with
the purpose of being funny in that unique, bizarre way -- but went beyond
that -- after a few listens, I always found them unsettlingly
thought-provoking or emotion-provoking, like there was a real reason for
him saying things like "see how the cows start to shine like lightbulbs,"
even if I didn't know what it was.  Once you get used to his world, it's
something you can't ever completely leave. 
     This new record has four amazing songs on it.  "Third Snow," like a
lot of Mountain Goats songs, has that feeling of sophisticated guitar
writing insufficiently practiced -- the fingers trip up on some of the
tricky parts -- like it was recorded early to get a more spontaneous feel,
or just because he didn't want to get tired of the song, wanted to get on
to writing more great songs.  The next song, which I can't remember the
title of, but which would be called "There's a Monkey In The Basement" if
he titled his songs logically (which he rarely does), is one of those
numbers that sounds pretty and introspective but makes little logical
sense when you listen to the lyrics.  "The animal noises you used to make,
the Andalusian coral snake, all pale when standing beside this room...." 
I've been reading _Animal Review_ this weekend and it all seems to fit
together somehow.... 
    The second side has the song that's the true wonder for me, one of the
best MG songs I've heard (altho I am still missing a couple of the
records).  "Love Cuts The Strings" is forceful and energetic (some of his
slow songs are powerful in a quiet way, because they rip your heart out
from inside, but this isn't what I'm talking about here).  Listening to MG
tapes makes you think, "this guy must fall in and out of love once a
month" -- there's a lot of exquisite songs about the decay of
relationships -- but none of that here -- this must be a "falling in
love" stage -- "I'd count my blessings but you can only be expected to
count so high."  Over rhythmic, forceful strumming, a parcel of military
metaphors are deployed to describe the coming of love to a heart which is
likened to an innocent doe.  John studies classics, and the imagery sounds
straight out of the Iliad in a lot of places ("and love summoned up the
infantry, and the green-eyed goddess got ready for all-out war").  I also
have to give him credit for a double pun -- his humor usually relies more
on absurdity than on obvious things like puns, but this one is so clever I
couldn't resist it -- "I smeared myself with pennyroyal to keep the hounds
at bay."  The last song, "Pure Honey," is one of his cheap Casio numbers
(or, as the record label describes it, "ambient electronic").  Not much to
say about it -- it's really nice -- charming but not deep lyrically -- and
he's getting more sophisticated writing music on the Casio too.
     Other Mountain Goats stuff you might be interested in checking out
are the "Songs for Petronius" 7" on Shrimper (P.O. Box 1837, Upland, CA
91785-1873), the "Chile de Arbol" 7" on Ajax, a couple of tapes on
Shrimper ("The Hound Chronicles" {my favorite} and "Hot Garden Stomp"),
and a new CDEP/10"EP "Beautiful Rat Sunset" also on Shrimper, and the
"Transmissions to Horace" tape on Sonic Enemy (I think the address is 325
West Green Street, Claremont, CA but you might want to check that out with
Sean who has the indie label list).  Also, John and Franklin Bruno play
together as The Extra Glenns, and I think indie lister Tim Alborn will be
putting out a 7" from then on his Harriet label sometime soon. 
	P.S.  What does "philyria" mean?  My classics is rusty but I think
"Illyria" means Troy and "phil" has something to do with liking or


From: (Jesper Sandvad)

Ten best gigs of '93 at 1000FRYD

Hi there, now the results nobody has been waiting for: the top ten list of 
gigs at 1000FRYD in 1993.  

1000FRYD is the only venue in Aalborg, Denmark doing indie shows. There is
only room for about 120-130 people inside, but they do a lot of great
shows (about a hundred bands played last year). The place is run by the
users, and nobody is making any profit (not that there is any profit to
make). So, at the end of '93 we took a vote about the best gigs of the
year, and these were the ones that took the prize: 

I wasn't impressed by the Veil album, but this show blew me away. And 
everybody else, too, don't miss them. 

2. 18TH DYE (D)
A really promising german/danish band mixing MBV and Sonic Youth influences
with their own sound. 

A tie between Mieskuoro Huutajat (sorry if I misspelled that) from Finland
and local band Slaengs. M.H. is basically 35 punks in tuxedos, shouting
hymns at the top of their voice. Very weird and very very funny. Slaengs
is an ancient punk-band from Frederikshavn, they only play about once a
year, and I hadn't heard them before this show. They opened for 18th Dye,
and was so loud, funny and energetic that even 18th dye seemed like a
come-down. They haven't made any albums, though. Damn.

An all-female hardcore band from California. One of the few hardcore gigs
this year I really liked, very tight and energetic. Cool t-shirts. They've
released an album on Ebullition, that's all I know.

Everybody seemed to love this band, even though they sounded like the
Shadows playing Sex Pistols. Not my bag, really.

Forget the stupid name, this band is really cool, easily the best Finnish
band I have ever come across. Considering that all Finnish bands seems to
be ultra-cool, this is quite an achievement. Even better than
Radiopuhelimet. And way better than Deep Turtle. Hard and angry as a
Scandinavian Big Black. Check out their album Well-Dressed Meat. 

Steve Wynn from Dream Syndicate together with people from House of Freaks
and Lone Justice. Nice and cozy.

Local heroes, they did three or four shows in '93, all excellent. Heavily
influenced by Dischord metal-monsters Neurosis. No recordings yet. 



didn't catch the last three shows... Upcoming shows are Giant Sand friday 
night, and Chokebore/Guzzard/Today is the day from Amphetamine Reptile,
later this month. Hope I'll have time to review them. 



From: Aaron Schatz <>
Subject:   Beck is Bogus

Some guy wrote in about Beck.  WARNING: Beck is bogus.  This guy is going
to be passed off by all the major alternative stations (KROQ, BRU, HFS,
91X, etc.) as some kind of "indie find" as a way to avoid playing Versus
and cool bands like them.  His song "Loser" came out on a 12" from
"Bongload" records and somehow got picked up and put into rotation in L.A.
by KROQ, and its found its way around the country.  The song is kind of a
folky thing with Beck rapping over acoustic guitar and drum machine and
its kind of funny but like "Detachable Penis" it loses the humor after the
tenth time.  He's now been picked up by Geffen, which has released "Loser"
as a CD-5 with 4 INCREDIBLY LAME tracks in which Beck comes off as a
massvely stupid Beastie-Boys wanna-be.  He will soon join Evan Dando,
Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair as a complete media creation. But unlike
them, he has no talent.  STAY AWAY. 

[uh oh... my final comment on Liz Phair - find someone who has an old 
Girly Sound tape - the one I heard was so amazing... Liz may be a 
media-hype-attractor these days, but she truly can write songs... - Sean]

Aaron Schatz                             "The one problem with academia
Brown University                          is that you can't grow                potatoes in it."
(401) 863-5584
P.O. Box 3994, Providence, RI 02912               - Justin Blumenstiel
Corresponding Secretary, Zeta Delta Xi


From:  "Theodore A. Khoury" <> RE:  Reviews: 
RFTC/Royal Trux/Hawkwind/JSBE and more!!! 

Rocket from the Crypt/Down's Family/Gomez @ Emo's, Austin,TX 1/27/94.

Gomez, a local trio, with great poppy, jittery drum, punkability, very
tight, with big fugazi guitars. Down's Family, San Diego's version of the
Pogues, a 7 piece with mandolins, violins, accordians and fine
liquor-induced beats. Rocket put on the show of their lives, all with
matching glittery bowling shirts, and a new added trumpet player, they
played an intensive set, before the show they were dancing with everyone
on the floor to Ike and Tina. I've seen them once before and they didn't
even compare to the intensity they had on that night. Completely charged. 

Royal Trux/Gut @ Emo's 1/15/94

Gut was o.k., Drive like Jehu rhythms and guitars, weak vocals though.
Royal Trux just sucked. What's her name pranced all around stage like some
rock diva. [Jennifer Herrema. - Sean] Neil Haggerty was trying to be Keith
Richards, but just deserved a charlie horse, and of course they had that
crappy tape going of bass and drums. Walked out after two songs. 

Nik Turner's Hawkwind/ST-37 @Emo's 1/13/94

One of best shows I've ever seen. ST-37, had a crazy set, which I only
caught the last two songs of, with fuzzed up lap steel I believe. N.T.'s
Hawkwind performed a lot of old stuff, with their old light show, and
Helios Creed on guitar to boot, and bass player. The lead singer had his
iggyisms, he came out with a body suit and a weird space helmet on and
played sax and flute throughout. They were heavy and sonic and for most of
them being over the age of 45, they completely rocked. One guy just stood
on stage and played an actual axe, with a string or something on it. Some
of it was new material I believe and had a very Devo quality to it. If
they put anything new out, buy it. 

Record Reviews:

Mummies-"Uncontrollable urge"/"Girl u want" 7" both live, decent quality
and great versions of these Devo classics, especially urge, will satisfy
mummie or devo fans the same. The cover of the single is a great slam on
Sub Pop too. 

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion "Train" 7" (In the Red records) the third in
the series of JSBE in the red singles, and one of the best. All of these
singles are different from Extra Width; they have an even looser delivery,
and the drummer hits twice as hard. Very good. 

Teenage Larvae- "Songs for Pigs" 10" (Sympathy) David Livingstone, editor
of Your Flesh, and former God Bullies guitarist is getting a lot of
mileage out of this project. If you've ever read his reviews, you can tell
his tastes are very diverse, and that's what you have here a 10", that
sputters a complete cacophony of tapes,piercing guitar tones, whispered
lyrics, drum machines, and psycho-loops. Bears similarities to Drain. If
you liked the first 7", then pick it up, but not for the squeamish. Cameo
appearance by Cows yoddeler. 



eggs/lois tour dates

for those who might be interested....
on february 18, 1994     philips hall (pc ballroom)    8:00 pm
			$5   all ages!!
k records' lois
				teenbeat's   eggs

and five-eight from athens, ga....

be there!!!!
brought to you by wxjm harrisonburg  88.7 fm


From: Nat Fowler rm <>

Nice noise things

Oh oh oh oh oh. So sorry I didn't get to review that Jesus 
Lizard/Brickbat/ Kepone show in late december that I promised, but let me 
assure you all that I enjoyed myself: Yow even maced me! 
	 Polvo/Jettison Charlie/Thickshake @ the Rev, Baltimore MD.Feb 4th
Thickshake is a local (to Baltimore) band that I had never heard of
before. A crime that I've been committing ever since I've been away at
school. I'm very saddened that I've never heard these persons before
because I was absolutely amazed. Thickshake are an insane trio of
distorted bass, twang guitar the way tube-amps used to make 'em, and ear
piercing screaming about favorite subjects like crack. With their "made to
annoy" presence and sound, they reminded me much of my own band (brag brag
brag promote promote promote), Chester. I don't know if they have anything
out because I didn't get a chance to talk to them before they left to go
play another show down the road... 
	 I heard Jettison Charlie on New Dominion, that comp of northern VA
bands (Eggs, Breadwinner, etc) with their song "Deconstruction." Although
I didn't like the music that much, the lyrics had a certain ringing truth.
When they started playing, I seemed to think less of their lyrics too. A
tight band that played metal-ish jazz-chord ridden rock...A sincere band
but just not my cup of flizzum flazzum. They did play Deconstruction
though, so I got to lipsync that immortal line, "Henry Rollins is dead." 
	 I love Polvo so much. Big cheers to them for taking a concept that
Sonic Youth basically pioneered (re-tuned guitars in a frantically melodic
instrumentation) and building on it by going beyond basic pop song
structures and making great intelligent music. With a total of 8 guitars
between the two guitarists, they played around 6 or 7 songs, with tune-ups
lasting up to 5 minutes between the songs. But it was worth the wait. And
to top it all off the drummer had a vintage drum set that sounded great.
The main singer had monitor problems most of the night so he had trouble
doing some of the songs, but all in all, the show was great. I got to see
the best of both worlds... 

I must not shit, shit is the serial killer.



From: Joanne Merriam <>
Subject: Indiesexism

 In response to Greg Pohl's article about Ani Difranco (I concur, she is
    He talked a bit about sexism in indie music, and I thought I'd add my
$0.02.... just so you know my biases, I am a feminist (and aspire to be
"witty and constructive, not just pissed off at men":) who does an
all-woman vocals show at CKDU (Halifax's college/community radio station),
so I've thought a lot about this and I have a few observations to offer
    First, consider the female icons of the mainstream... the ones that
pop immediately to mind are Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Janet Jackson...
all very good businesswomen with good voices and in some cases they know
how to dance and write their own lyrics (sometimes). But I doubt any of us
would call them musicians (any takers?).... in indie music, we pride
ourselves that we don't judge people on their appearance (of course, we
do, but anywhere to the same extent? no), and it's way more common to
hear the female voice on your average college radio station than the
others (try counting the number of women to men on mainstream radio
sometime - it's fun and inexpensive) So everybody pat themselves on the
back. :) BUT (you knew it was coming didn't you?) how many of you have
roughly 50% women in your record collections? I don't (I'll be the first
penitent). And that's purely my fault, nobody forced me to buy any of
those albums.... but then again, if I made a list of all the bands I've
ever heard of, it'd be about 3/4 male, and it's my business to find out
about female bands. One reason for this is (the old feminist standby) The
Man doesn't want successful female musicians unless they sleep with
him.... but the other reason is, right now female musicians tend to be
content with less craft in their music than males are (with many
exceptions, such as Ms. Difranco). There's more concern about lyrics, about
their content or their poetry, then there is about getting the chord
right. Which is one of many ways not to excel. 
    Of course, this is a broad generalization (no pun intended) with many
exceptions; I think as a trend it holds up to scrutiny. I have no idea
why. On a positive note, many of these bands will learn to play their
instruments and still have a lot to say, long after a technically
brilliant but pointless band becomes stale. So perhaps this is a good
trend. I don't know. 

Joanne Merriam  


From: Robert M Keefe <>
Subject: Feminism, etc.

I suppose I'm opening a whole new ball of worms, but I was confused by
Greg Pohl's use of "feminist" in his review of Ani DiFranco.  He states:

> She was really refreshing to see; for anyone
> out there that doesn't know what she's about, don't be scared by the
> "folk" label (she owes more to Kim Gordon than to Joan Baez) or the
> "feminist" label (she's witty and constructive, not just pissed off at
> men).

I'm not sure if "pissed off at men" is an adequate definition of feminism.
In respect to Greg, I will say he didn't explicitly define it as such;
but, I'm worried he has implied it. 

> On that note, I went to see Ani Difranco here in Edmonton
> last night. She was billed as a "feminist folk singer" which I guess she
> is sorta, because a lot of her songs deal with gender issues. But instead
> of just putting all her energy into blaming people and feeling victimized,

There's a poem I read this quarter by a Canadian Mennonite poet.  (The
title escapes me, it is subtitled "Or Love Mennonite Style."  The poet is
either Di Brandt or Elly Danica and since neither is listed in our library
catalog, I'd have to get my original textbook to find the correct info.)
She discusses both her physical abuse as a child and her inability to talk
about it due to cultural circumstances (such discussions must be prompted
by elders, women's general role in assembly, etc). 

I suppose being outside Mennonite culture this poem is easier to deal with
than a poem that would critique my own culture.  I am not Mennonite, I can
look at their culture with lesser emotional baggage and see what it is
within the culture the prevents the poet from discussing something that
has marked her life. 

It gets a bit harder when looking at one's own culture.  When Heavens to
Betsy starts singing "I want you dead, I want you dead" you don't find as
many men front row center stage.  To find out that the names of rapists
are being written on the women's washroom at The Evergreen State College
is both exhilerating (communication of a revolution) and scary (what if I
was placed there, blacklisted by someone who hated me). 

I haven't heard too many people complain about men writing about war. 
Nobody says to Tim O'Brien, "Jesus, Tim, can't you just get over Vietnam? 
We're sick of being reminded how yucky it all was."  Why would a women
writing about rape (or Heavens to Betsy singing about it) be any
different?  People were out in the streets during the Vietnam war trying
to stop it (as they protest now over women's rights); still the war went
on.  And still women are being raped. 

And I suppose the reason I'm posted this to the I-L instead of just
sending a message to Greg is an assumption on my part: Why would someone
choose to listen to Indie music? To speak great blasphemies at 'mersh
labels? To support something made locally, merely because of pride you
have in people you see one on one basis? To meet people one to one who
you've never met face to face? 

It always seemed to me that someone would listen to Indie music as an act
of defiance or to just connect with something they felt to be more pure. 
I suppose that's why someone would choose to support a feminist movement



From: Steve Silverstein <>

Hi-fidelity recording technique paves way for future

Today, I'm going to chip in my 2 cents about the major/indie debate.  To
be honest, I think what label a record comes out on has very little,
precious little to do with a band, and to argue anything else is ignorant. 
I mean, the 3 best shows I saw last year easily could have been the
Boredoms, American Music Club, and Stereolab (no insult intended to any
other bands).  Guess what? All 3 are on majors.  Big guys.  The AMC album
was just one of the best things I've ever heard, and it didn't leave my CD
player for AGES.  Does this make me a commercial cheeze?  I sincerely hope
not.  I was wowed by other stuff from Helium, Pitchblende, Versus, etc.,
both live and in the studio.  The one major label band at Working Holiday,
Jawbox, certainly were as good as some of the indie bands.  I mean it is
totally and fully ridiculous to say that signing to a major will destroy a
band.  Yes, there are bands that have signed to majors and turned awful,
but there are also a lot of bands that have stayed indie and just lost a
lot of their initial promise.  If you want me to name names on either,
E-mail me and I'll do so.  No pointing in trashing any of these people
unnecessarily.  The point is, it's easy to put out a shitty album, and far
more difficult to put out a good one, regardless of label.  Putting out a
good album is an accomplishment every time. 

It is clearly more difficult to make a good album on a major than on an
indie.  There are pressures to sell records, make money, etc.  You work on
a lot higher budget, and you have a distributor who doesn't know your
record from Possum Dixon.  These are obviously difficulties and
limitations. Big ones.  You need to know exactly what you're doing.  You
can end up with a label that doesn't care about you or a really bad
contract.  The point is, that it ain't easy to make a good album on a
major.  But it's possible.  And bands who have both the business and music
sides down often come up with true masterpieces. 



From: Kent Williams <>

The Role of Indie Labels

This rant and rave was sparked by an offhanded comment someone made on
indie-l about how signing to a major label 'ruined' Dinosaur Jr.  I, for
one, don't agree -- I think there is a constant percentage (~ %40) of
brilliant songs on any given Dino Jr. album.  But that may simply be a
matter of taste. 

I object to the notion that signing to the majors 'spoils' artists. It
certainly changes their image and visibility, and to the extent financial
comfort changes people, it might change their outlook, & therefore their
work.  But what would you do?  Say you're a musician, and a guy comes
around and offers you a bushel basket of cash to do what you love best? 
Only an idiot would turn it down. 

The indie labels of today are actually doing a job that used to be done
quite well by A&R departments at the majors -- find and foster new talent. 
If you look at the artist roster at Warner and Epic in the 70's you have
people like Zappa, Beefheart, Tom Waits, and even Ed Sanders.  These are
not people that a major label would sign on spec in the age of Whitney
Houston and Mariah Carey. 

The current rise of independent labels is quite similar to the success of
regional indies in the late 50's. Say Sun Records, for example? Any time
that the majors miss a trend in popular taste, there are always indies
there pick up the slack.  Then, when the majors smell the coffee, they
rush in with buckets of money and try to skim the cream.  Then they fire
all the A&R guys who missed the boat and hire a bunch of young guys to try
and get their finger back on the pulse. 

What I like about music on indie labels is that since the stakes are
lower, musicians are willing to take greater risks.  Their idiosyncracies
can come out.  Just as often they fuck up.  Don't forget how much really
bad music is on independent labels.  The fact is, all popular music is
created in a collision of artistic and commercial concerns. 

So don't slag J just because he won't let Lou keep screaming "why don't
you like me."  He's doing just fine, thank you.  Open your ears. 




     In regard to the Albini thing: Liked Ben's point about promotion as an
end in itself, liked what Clark had to say, thought it was a little naive,
though. Ain't you never read any postmoderns? There ain't no Real
(remember the onion-layers metaphor?), not in the realm of discourse,
anyway; and yes there is hype within the indie culture, although of a
more palatable nature than Rolling Stone or Spin (What do you think the
Indie List is? (not to dis I-L...I love you, Indie List! smooch). We all
exist and operate within certain discourses, all of which are artificial,
as in artifice, as in human-made, and no view is "natural," no one is
pure. Not even sir steve. We reinforce our views about music in much the
same way as the Mersh Monster, and it really gets up my nose when Albini
plays policeman, gets on his More-Marginal-Than-Thou Soapbox. Granted,
here in the indie/bullshit camp we don't have the weight of marketing
guilt--ie I'm not making loads of cash by promoting whatever band I think
is valuable (although, had I the opportunity, I would, just as Officer
Steve has). Let's take a look at the material benefits reaped by
producers, oh I mean engineers, of bands like Nirvana, Zeni Geva, P.J.
Harvey, and the Jesus Lizard (oh, excuse me, he produces them for
free): In an article in the zine _The Baffler_ ("The Journal That Blunts
the Cutting Edge," issue five, "The Problem With Music"), Albini lists the
costs of putting out an album and promoting it: 

"This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game.
     "Record company: $710,000
     "Producer: $90,000
     "Manager: $51,000
     "Studio: $52,000
     "Previous Label: $50,000
     "Agent: $75,000
     "Lawyer: $12,000
     "Band member net income each: $4,031.25"

My point in quoting this is not to down steve's gripes about the music
industry; I wholeheartedly agree. (y'all ought to pick this zine up, his
article's a scream.) However, the tone of his rant in the Chicago Reader
is far too self-satisfied, filled with the religious zeal that made the
mormons so fuckin rich. By his figures, he's made more money than most
bands (excepting of course the Jesus Lizard), and to claim some sort of
artistic exception to the mersh rule because he listens to and promotes
"better" music is hypocritical.  "We harbor a notion of music as a thing
of value, and methodology as an equal, if not supreme component of an
artist's aesthetic," says steve, while he and many other indie producers
send their finished product to Canada to be manufactured, Land of No
Unions (as far as I know; I haven't seen union stickers on touch-and-go
releases. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this one; labor history isn't
my strong point....). Steve, bite me. If you think you're pure, take
another sniff at your ass.... 

Ahhh, I feel better, don't you?

fomo, wombat and faminist
"but i'm not fertile!!!"

(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)(-)-(-)-(-)-(-)-(-) (Joep Vermaat)

It's a new dawn..

Because of some communication problems between Loz and I, Loz
unintentionally broke up our great writers team (I was starting to feel
like one of the Stud Brothers of Melody Maker). And since he wrote an
article on his own, I will too. Hopefully we'll post the next article
together again, so I can get rid of his mistakes and vice versa. 

The 'discussion' we started is going along fine, but it looks like us
Europeans are more bothered by the subject than you Americans. What I like
to know is, are the records we talk about for sale on the American
continent, or are they even more obscure as, for example, a Stereolab 7"
release on Sub Pop here in Holland? 

[from personal experience - you can find trance-ambient-electronic, but 
you pay for it since it's all imported... of course, Americans pay less 
for new records anyway, as I understand it, so import prices are about 
the same as overseas domestic... - Sean] 

And what I like to hear is some reactions of bands in the indie-list
audience. What do they think of the new wave of electronic bands taking
over the gaps the indie-bands were supposed to fill in? A band like the
Poster Children consisting of several computer crazed kids could easily
start to experiment with these things. The only things you need are an
Atari 1024, a good sampler, a keyboard and at least a four track recording
deck, all in all about as expensive as a good guitar and amplifier. Is it
because of 'conservatism', J Mascis spouted that guitars are limited and
therefor give secure feeling. Are you afraid of enormous number of
possibilities? Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Cop Shoot Cop and The Young Gods
showed us all you can easily use electronics in a rock context. 

What I think most of the 'traditional' guitar bands are afraid of using
electronics is the lack of freedom in a live environment. On to a certain
degree that's true. I can remember an article about Utah Saints playing
live, in the beginning lots of stuff went wrong, because some of the
Midi-stuff is very sensitive. And I still can remember my first My Bloody
Valentine concert where almost all the 'Loveless' songs fucked up because
the drum-triggered loops wouldn't start. But I have the idea things are
getting better. Aphex Twin, Orbital, The Drum Club and above all
Underworld, regularly play live gigs without problems and playing
everything live, leaving only some of the drumtracks to the machines. 

While I'm talking about Underworld, I'll just as well try to fit in a
review of their awesome album "dubnobasswithmyheadman". Loz doesn't
totally agree with me, but I think they're great. The timing of Underworld
couldn't be better, most of the Indie-audience are taking a the big step
into the world of techno and Underworld have built the bridge so it will
be a lot easier. The album is full of songs with the best elements of both
worlds. On one hand you have the funky rhythms of great club anthems and
on the other weird indielike vocals singing over the top lyrics about
skyscrapers, telephone sex. 

The hype has blown up the band to godlike proportions, Melody Maker said
about the album "the most important album since 'The stone roses' and the
best album since 'screamadelica'", NME talked about a classic for years to
come and the music-press in our little country (who I normally loathe)
were full of praise. And for the first time in years Underworld have lived
up to the hype. 

First I'll give you some background information. Underworld consists of
three male persons. Two of them are experienced musicians, Karl Hyde
vocalist/guitarist and Rick Smith keyboardplayer. Karl and Rick started
their musical career in a synthband called 'Freur' with which they had a
major hit in the early eighties. They started Underworld in 1986 as a
funk-outfit, which became reasonably successful America and Australia. The
seven-piece stopped around 1989 and Karl and Rick did some work as
session-musicians. Until Rick met Darren Emerson a 20-year old DJ and
started fiddling around with dance/techno music, the modern Underworld
was born. 

Over the last year the threepiece released several records for the clubs
like "Mmm.. Skyscraper", "Rez/Cowgirl" and "Spikee". All were received
with much critical acclaim and the audience couldn't stop dancing. Only
"Mmm.. Skyscraper" and "Cowgirl" are featured on the album, Underworld
simply won't play by the rules and in stead of putting their hits on the
album they let you hear what other abilities they have. In 71 minutes they
let you experience a variety of views on music, "Dark & long" and "River
of bass" sound like JJ Cale on techno, "Mmm.. Skyscraper" should be the
"New York, New York" of the nineties, "Tongue" is almost totally beatless
and eerie and "Dirty epic" is a song most indiebands would kill for. All
the other tracks are great dancepieces that will make your ears and feet
wiggle with delight. Call it whatever you like, dancemusic for your
bedroom, the perfect indie-techno crossover, techno for people who don't
like techno.. But it's not about what you call it, BUY IT! 

Loz already reviewed Cell and I agree fully with him. I hope to see the
band soon, the last time they were here we got along fine. Cell are the
greatest bunch of people I've ever met. 

I'd like to comment a popular view on the state of music in general. The
music-press, and also James Nash in a recent I-l, is telling us over and
over again that Rock is history. I don't think it's that simple. Bands
like The Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub will always exist and flourish,
because people like a bit of a nostalgic sound in music. And some rock
bands, like Seam, Afghan Whigs, Cell and others, show us that you still
can make exciting and new music with just a few chords. Techno will just
take a big corner of 'rock' and we'll hear music with the same intentions
and feelings as rock. Not necessarily for the dancefloor, but made for the
bedroom indiekid containing killer melodies, songs and lyrics. 

Another point James Nash made is that "rave"-culture was always very drug
related. But I think the indie-kids, like me, who are crossing over aren't
really into that. I can perfectly relate to the music without any help of
sedatives, uppers, downers, a snort of speed or cocaine. The music in
itself is intoxicating enough to keep me high. 

Techno is all that punk ever dreamed of. These modern day cultures like
raveculture and for example Internet are almost anarchistic. The ideas
that come from the culture are very leftfield. Music made by musicfans for
musicfans sold by musicfans. It's not about big bucks, it's about art. And
what can I add to that? 



The Indie-List Digest is published every Tuesday and Friday by the
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[Submitted by: karlof chris knox  (
               Wed, 9 Mar 1994 14:56:02 -0500 (EST)]