Who Who, Who Who? ############################# Indie List Digest! November 20, 1994 Volume 4 Number 10 ############################# Rhythm Activism, Kicking GIant, Small Factory, and Dog Faced Hermans Cows uk stuff Live: Pavement, GbV, Sebadoh, and more AD: jon spencer/biafra/lydon/chadbourne = Thicker #2 AD: LOG CD AD: Rick Sanford Vol. 1 CD AD: Bigger than God Welcome to a travel delayed issue of the I-L. AZ and I had a fine time across the country, tales of which will be told in short order. In the meantime, please bear in mind that submissions are always welcome - just drop them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, and enjoy the content - new issue in a few days, honest! yr erstwhile coEditor, es ------------------------------ From: Renato Umali <email@example.com> Rhythm Activism, Kicking GIant, Small Factory, and Dog Faced Hermans Rhythm Activism, Kicking Giant, Small Factory, Dog Faced Hermans at the Lounge Ax on October 28, 1994. CHICAGO, IL. I hadn't been to the Lounge Ax in quite some time, but when I got there on the 28th, everything seemed safely the same, the same bartendress, the same waitress, the same $.50 ear plugs. Except now they have a Gilligan's Island pinball machine sitting next to, of course, the Asteroids machine. Such reassurance. Pals JSolomon and BMoritz accompanied me. We missed Rhythm Activism trying to find parking. We eventually parked in the Blockbuster Video parking lot. That's a hint for anyone wanting to go to Lounge Ax. Anyway, here's the gritty ... Kicking Giant was most incredible. Tae Won Yu, the guitarist and singer, looked like a good friend of mine. That made my enjoyment of them all the more better. The drummer, Rachel (yes indeed, one of the coolest drummers), played a beautiful stand-up style that blows, er ... Sheila E. away. She had on these funky glasses, which caused one of my friends to notice that a lot of the women in the audience wore funky, retro glasses. When people clapped when Tae announced that they were from Olympia he responded "Don't clap, there are stupid people everywhere." Asked to describe their music, all's I could come up with was "noise confessional." Tae's songs sang like noisy narratives, even though at times he was reduced to whispering. I wish I caught more of the lyrics, but he doesn't quite exactly sing directly in front of the mike. I read somewhere that there performances are purposely never the same as their recordings. Does Tae play, kneeling on the ground, pounding his guitar over his head in the studio? Maybe not. The connection between Rachel and Tae was almost physical. Next up was Small Factory. JSolomon tells me they are a big hit back East. So I really wished I liked them more. Maybe it was because they were following Kicking Giant (or preceeding Dog Faced Hermans) that I wasn't in the mood for their distinct soft poppy sound. Maybe it was because they didnt' seem into the performance. I don't think they even made a set list, at times calling out to the crowd for suggestions. At any rate, it was a weird matching of bands. Which brings us to Dog Faced Hermans. I have a tape of them on which the other side are songs from the Honkies and God Is My Co-Pilot. Did they all arrive at the same type of sound separately? Who knows, but Andy the guitarist (I think) was wearing a GIMCPilot tee-shirt. Think of the DFHermans as a GIMCPilot without the dyke overtures and with a slightly better musicality and sense of rhythm and a better woman lead blower (sorry, Sharron Topper fans). DFHermans were quite incredble. BMoritz likened them to The Ex (as in The Ex and Tom Cora) saying that they had a "real ethic towards giving a performance and entertaining people." In fact, the guitarist insisted that the stage lights could be kept on as he manipulated his guitar with various household and non-household items. The lead singer, Marion Cloutts, while not ever seeming detached, seemed downright spacy. Her voice was not the least bit grating (as in Sharon Topper again [though hers is a GOOD grating]), which made her seem to be a part of that "let's go back to grade school" look/feel that many women today are sporting. She sang beautifully, and, almost, but not quite like Te, kept singing (or speaking to herself) off the microphone, while danced around. And boy, can she play trumpet. A great treat was her playing Ornette Coleman's Peace Warrior. They absolutely shredded through the piece, and their playing (on each song but particularly that one) evoked Pat Methany and Ornette Coleman's album Song X. They played for nearly an hour, coming out once to do an encore. Was it "epiphanic" as CMJ calls their shows? Well ... one of the best things was to watch the drummer from Small Factory watch the DFHermans' set. She seemed stunned, her face aglow from the stage. But her eyes are kind of large to begin with anyway. We left around 1:30, passing the little table set-up with records and the like, and finally passing the Giligan's Island pinball machine. I would have played but the Kicking Giant drummer was having a go. ------------------------------ From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Curtis, ok?) Cows My wife went to see the Cows last night* (Me? I babysat. But she had to stay home when my band played in NYC, so it's only fair...) and really enjoyed them. She got to talk to their singer, Shannon, before the show. Having seen them a few years ago, she was telling him how they are so psychotic on stage that people don't know what to make of them. She noticed that he had been listening to a walkman and really be-bopping around the club to it, and asked him about that. He said to her: "Do you want to know what I listen to before a show?" and he held the headphones up to her ears, and do you know what it was? Diana Ross & the Supremes singing "My Guy!" JC *At the Euclid Tavern, Cleveland, OH, Oct.24, 1994 ------------------------------ From: Jeremy STONE <Jeremys@cet.education.bbc.co.uk> uk stuff I'm a bit freaked by watching Clerks yesterday and thinking that a) Dante looks like Andy Cairns from Therapy? and b )what a sicko jersey he sports when he rushes off home to change before the necrophilac palaver in the loo with the old bloke. Firstly, in case you're bothered, NME seems to have ditched the fantasy band thing already; at least they've not mentioned it for a month cos it was yes, a shit idea and everyone probably had Oasis, Blur, Suede, Gene and Stone Roses. At least I did cos i wanted the 68 LPs they had ambitiously arranged as the lovely prize. Singles to buy: -Lungleg first EP on PIAO-Teen Scottish lo-fi wonders, rather like the woman who sings with yes, Comet Gain and their Holloway something EP is not bad too. I can't remember the label but I do like their horns (blimey it's Carry on time). Pussy Crush are doing a session with Peel this second and have 2 singles out, both on La Di Da and both are quite cool like a cheap boygirl lo-fi Crampsish garagey squash-type drink. With a bendy straw. Shows-My Life Story- Their album seems delayed forever and I'm sure your sympathy for a bloke that has a 15 year old dressed in a punting blazer called Toby introduce their shows is already running thin. But they do have 11 people on stage, 4 violins (i think),the lead singer (called, of course, Jake) does three outfit changes per gig and waves a cane about so he shits all over Tony B for a start (apart from rags to riches that is). They're a bit like Michael Caine at the beginning of Alfie talking about getting your married bird to laugh. My Life story get yr married bird to laugh and they sing better than Cilla. Ok that's it. Other faves.. I'm Being Good new 7", Big Chief LP, Grassman-Dodgy, Northern Picture Library-Paris EP, Technohead 3 compilation, Dream babes-excellent girl group comp on rpm, new Daniel Johnston stuff, and weeping cos it's the last Larry Sanders tomorrow on BBC2 Jem Stone email@example.com ------------------------------ From: "LePageL/MF" <LePageL/MF@hermes.bc.edu> Live: Pavement, GbV, Sebadoh, and more Rock Roundup! (Boston shows, mid-October to mid-November) Pavement, Thinkin' Fellers Union Local 282, Ass Ponies at Avalon, Oct 17 The night of the big Pavement show we were all lined up on the sidewalk waiting to be let into Avalon when one of the bouncers came stomping through the line yelling "Over 21 to the left, under to the right." All of a sudden the whole line moved to the right leaving me and about a dozen other aging children beached on the left. Talk about separating the sheep from the goats. I was hard pressed to say which one we were. Chuck D's declaration in "Give it Up"-"I'm takin' the sound to break it down"-about sums up Pavement's approach to live performance. Their set was gloriously sloppy, thwarting the expectations of moshers and newbie fans alike with skewed renditions of familiar songs along with a generous helping of new songs, obscurities, and B-sides that most of the pogo-kids either didn't know or couldn't surf to. Oddly, no one seemed to mind. It was a chance to hear a different take on the hits and a first taste of new material that may never make it past this tour. Steve Malkmus was into it, pretty much a prerequisite for a good Pavement show. He's so good at what he does both vocally and on guitar that he can damn near splinter a song and still get it across, in essence if not in the details. He had a night of it, wailing, flailing, tossing off fragments of solos, changing the words to songs without warning, falling down, forgetting to come back in until the very last minute, then lurching back only a little late for the last chorus. It was both exhilarating and frustrating, a big old strip tease of a show that gave you just enough to leave you wanting more. San Francisco's Thinkin' Fellers Union Local 282 played it a lot straighter than I would have expected from hearing _Mother of all Saints_, putting together a very tight set, given the kind of music they're known for. Their strength was the instrumentals, which were rhythmically complex with plenty of interplay that if anything came across as too clean. On the other hand, I had their bassist pegged as a Michigan grad student until she started playing her bass with a Bud bottle. That got my respect. They won me over with the slower, more experimental stuff, and, I have to admit, their cover of Sugarloaf's classic hit "Green Eyed Lady," which they executed faithfully with some cool freestyling on the bridge. In all, the show was not as out there as it might have been, but interesting just the same with a nice stretched-out feel. The night began with the Ass Ponies' cover of "16 Tons." (They said they'd covered "Chevy Van" the night before but nobody recognized it.) Their country flavor was out front, but like Giant Sand, they temper their rootsy sound with a little sonic weirdness by way of their guitar player's effects box. They excel at writing odd little story songs with titles like "I Love Bob" (about a woman who carves the words "I love Bob" into her leg and what happens after). Among my favorites though: a Southern-rock update of "Call Me Al" entitled "Little Bastard," the straight-ahead "Earth to Grandma," and their apocalyptic country-blues closer "Grim." Although the set sagged a bit in the middle with too many sludgy tempos, the songs on either side carried them. Guided by Voices and Chavez at Middle East, November 4: Robert Pollard is my hero. Anyone who can dig blissful melodies by the barrelful out of a played-out mine like Pop Music or make a perfect song out of lyric non sequiturs like "the gold heart mountaintop queen's directory" has me firmly by the ears. So I wish I could say that their show was the perfect showcase for their considerable oeuvre. It wasn't! But it was still great. The problem: murky sound exacerbated by excessive volume, coupled with feedback in the vocals resulting in the loss of Pollard's vocals in the left channel several times during the show. Pollard, pro that he is, carried on with great exuberance and although he never fell down (there wasn't room), he did do Beavis kicks throughout the night (not bad for an old guy). The songs came through somehow. I don't know if they did "Exit Flagger" or not, but they did a lot of other stuff including "Matter Eating Lad," my personal favorite. The band was presentable if not wildly accomplished, and Jim Greer (the Jim Greer?) did seem to spend most of the show fiddling with his amp. I forgive them. Precision has never been GbV's byword anyway. Best line of the night was Bob's introduction to their encore: "This song doesn't rock." And for the record, I only saw him drink two beers although the celebrated band cooler was prominently displayed. I left humming. Chavez did nothing special for me musically but the presence of Clay Tarver on guitar gave me a start. I mean, didn't he use to be the cute one in Bullet LaVolta? Sheesh, he looks like an accountant and I'm not even kidding-frumpy office wear and a bad haircut. I had to go home and look at the picture in _Swan Dive_ again to be sure it was him. Oh well. Sebadoh, Versus, Bunny Brains at Avalon, October 22 Bunny Brains were as weird as they were musically inept. I'm sure they are someone's idea of something, but I'm sorry-for me, no redeeming virtues, despite the seemingly endless supply of stuffed bunnies they showered the audience with. Moreover, their lead singer dude, who eventually peeled down his silver lame lounge dress to reveal altogether too much shapeless white belly, was unattractive in every way possible. My favorite part was when the gratuitous bunny thrower came out with an enormous stuffed dog. You could almost feel the spike in crowd aggression as they fell upon the hapless mutt, tearing it to shreds, and tossing the eviscerated skin back onto the stage where the bass player managed to look annoyed. Other bunnies suffered similar fates although I did see one young woman leaving with hers (a very little one, it's true) clutched to her bosom. How sweet. I just saw Versus a few weeks ago and I thought they were ok but grumpy. They still seemed a little grumpy so I guess that's just how they are. But hey, they sounded great, despite the cavernous room. My favorite song, which featured the repeated line "He's a french guy," struck me as quite humorous although it was hard to tell if the band thought so. As for Sebadoh, I can only say that Lou was not having a good night. He dissed just about everybody including Sebadoh fans (they just stand there), the sound man (naturally), and above all the club for scheduling an early show to make way for a later dance crowd (he has a point on that one). Lou wrote my review for me when he said something like "Boston rock critics all say the same thing-- `Between a lot of messing around, they got off a few good songs." There you go! When they played they were great. They were Sebadoh! Later Lou trashed a guitar and then broke all his guitar strings and finally walked off stage, leaving the Jason and Bob to finish up. There was, needless to say, no encore. Sugar at Avalon, November 11 J Mascis is not the guitar god; Bob Mould is, if only because he remains the only guitar player I know of who can sound like he's playing twin leads all by himself. Most of Sugar's set came from the two cds _Copper Blue_ and _File Under_ with "Hoover Dam" the highlight, for me anyway. I never saw Husker Du live but even on record, the rawness and intensity come burning through. Sugar can't match that edge but the intensity is still there, and if Husker Du fretted the open wound, Sugar has learned to live with the pain, opening a space for joyous flight as well. Mould is a rare talent-just to be in the same room with someone that good makes you feel lucky. n.b Contrary to the Globe's warning, they were not that loud--in fact, they could have been louder. Archers of Loaf and Smackmelon, Middle East, November 13 Smackmelon continues to impress me as '70s-retro with one good song (the single "I'm Not Cool" which is near-perfect power pop). Their rockers don't suck, and if they'd stick to those, I'd like `em a lot more. But when they slow it down, they get generic in a hurry. Archers of Loaf, on the other hand, come out of a newer scene, riding in on Superchunk's stylistic coattails. These guys commandeered the NC sound and hammered a style out of it, still derivative but distinctive. At the start of the set, some girl in the bathroom was gushing about how cute they were so I rushed out to check and maybe it's me, but they looked like Geek King and the leaping gnomes up there. OK, I exaggerate. The lead singer is at least 6'2" while the youngsters on either side of him are lucky to scratch 5'8". To make matters worse, they all play guitar way crouched over so that even from my relatively good vantage point, all you could see at times were undulating backs with protruding guitar necks. But they sounded great, with a raging full-on attack that made up for the ragged vocals. "Web in Front," "Indie Rocker," and "Audio Whore" bounced the house, and the healthy sampling of new stuff sounds like it has a lot of potential. Hell, they even played a slow one! I bought a ridiculous number of singles recently but I think I'll save those for another time. --Lise (LEPAGELfirstname.lastname@example.org) ------------------------------ From: email@example.com (Arrrrgh) AD: jon spencer/biafra/lydon/chadbourne = Thicker #2 The fanzine equivalent of a highlight film is done and sitting in a big ol' box in my living room. Features: * Bonus 7" (vinyl, not a flexi) - Eugene Chadbourne w/ Jello Biafra "Overpopulation and Art" b/w Eugene Chadbourne w/ Jimmy Carl Black (Mothers of Invention) "Night of the Living Dread" / "Jicarillo Fence Dispute" * Very recent interviews with: - Jon Spencer, including pix by his wife Cristina (Boss Hog) Martinez on the set of their new video, "Dang" - Jello Biafra, 7/31/94 interview, 8500+ words - John Lydon (probably his first fanzine interview in 15 years) - Eugene Chadbourne - Lou Giordano - Ex-Lemonhead Ben Deily's Pods - Supersuckers * Comix, reviews and all that other fanzine crap * Beautiful shiny cover Dig it! Only $3.75 ppd. ($4 if sending cash), subscriptions are $12 for 4 issues (If you want sub to start w/#2, throw in an extra $1, if starting w/#1, make it an extra $2) #1 still available: Ken Chambers (Ex-Moving Targets/Bullet LaVolta, new LP on Taang) 7" w/ unreleased tracks, 9 pg. Shellac interview (w/pix by the band), Superchunk, Kustomized (ex-Volcano Suns/Mission of Burma & Bullet LaVolta), Ken Chambers, comix, reviews, etc. - $4 ppd. Checks/M.O.'s payable to Thicker, P.O. Box 881983, San Francisco, CA 94188-1983 Thanks, Eric "Thicker - We talk to musicians so you don't have to" ------------------------------ From: firstname.lastname@example.org AD: LOG CD Columbus Ohio's Log (not to be confused with the Log from Richmond, VA) and Anyway Records are happy to announce the release of Log's CD "Light fuse and get away" (Anyway 024, 10-songs, 30 minutes, $8.00 ppd). Reviews of their first release, a 4-song, 7" (Anyway 012, $3.00 ppd) compared Log to early Dream Syndicate, the Velvets, and New Zealanders The Bats. This new release features a more hi-fi recording than its predecessor but maintains the straightforward guitar-twang you'd expect. Also available is a split single by Log-man Paul Nini and his Chicagoland pal Steve Lindstrom (Anyway 020, $3.00 ppd), "electro-acoustic music for the discerning indie rocker." Order from: Anyway Records, 118 E. Patterson Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43202. Thanks. ------------------------------ From: Dental@eworld.com AD: Rick Sanford Vol. 1 CD Dental Records presents the wonderful Rick Sanford Volume 1 CD; a 16 song adventure which finds our hero in hot pursuit of journalists and various fans of that indie thing who like to toss around descriptive terms such as silly and quirky when discussing their favorite aural pastime.