The seal is the sworn enemy of man.


      Indie List Digest!

      December 20, 1994

     Volume 4   Number 13


3 Days In The Indie-Mill
Shudder to Think, Sunny Day Real Estate, Brainiac
Silver Jews
which came 1st- jem's misfits or danzig's?


From: (Brian Gray)
3 Days In The Indie-Mill

The Wedding Present/Eggs/Spell@9:30 Club on Wednesday, Nov. 30

I only got to see half of Spell's show, as I was waiting outside for 
my friend with the tickets.  They are a three-piece with the feature 
that kills stage presence like no other...a singing drummer.  They 
gave off the aura of basement metal dorks, standing stiffly, looking 
at the floor, and hiding behind their hair.  Still, I enjoyed 
listening to them immensely.  Their songs had a huge number of hooks 
bouncing around, with the female bass player putting in delicious 
vocal counterparts at just the right moments.  The guitarist was 
strictly rhythm, but this actually had the good effect of making them 
keep the songs to the point...not a single one had me thinking "OK, 
this has gone on long enough." I would definitely see this band again.

Eggs came on next, dressed in suits.  Andrew was a bit uncomfortable 
in this getup, saying "I don't know how the Knack does it," but the 
dapperness fit their lounge-indieness quite well.  They played a large 
number of new songs, and it made me hungry for their new record to 
come out.  Rob's trombone has been given a lot more room in the 
arrangements and really helps to set the mood.

I wish I had grabbed a set list so I could refer to the songs by name.  
The second song in their set was an impeccably crafted pop song of the 
Bacharach and David school, with each rhythmic shift and unexpected 
chord change making my jaw drop further.  "A Pit With Spikes" is a 
good reference point for this one, but while that song only hinted at 
such perfect lushness, this song creates a complete world, more 
graceful than the one we live in.  On other songs, they have done a 
lot of toying with time signature and have more smoothly integrated it 
into the sound.  On one song, they have a driving 4/4 with occasional 
free-floating bursts to keep dancers on their toes, the same way that 
My Bloody Valentine did on "Feed Me With Your Kiss." On another, I 
tried counting off the strange beat, but found it distracted me from 
enjoying the song itself.  These songs are a much better application 
of this rhythmic experimentation than the "March Of The Triumphant 
Elephants," which, I'm glad, has fallen out of their set.

They played a few songs off Exploder (Why Am I So Tired All The Time, 
A Pit With Spikes, Ampallang, Erin Go Bragh) to keep people from being 
lost in the unfamiliar, but this just emphasized how much the new 
songs are an improvement.  This being Andrew's last show as a DC 
native, I thought he would give us badge-wearing office weenies a 
send-off with "The Government Administrator," but in all honesty, I 
hardly missed it.  This is hands down the best show I have ever seen 
from Eggs.  It's hard to believe this is the same band whom I saw 
playing drunken versions of AC/DC covers in Richmond a year ago.

The Wedding Present's live show had been so grandly built up by other 
fans, I had been looking forward to this for years.  Of course, such 
expectations are required to go unfulfilled.  I had heard so many 
people talk of the hyperspeed, hyperextended guitar-racket versions of 
their songs as the pinnacle of angry teen bliss.  Well, they never did 
a single one.  Kennedy was feisty, of course, and a lot of those tempo 
shifts were still eyebrow-raising, but most of the songs were played 
by rote and differed little from the album versions.  I enjoyed the 
show, and danced around happily, but I wasn't left stunned in the 
slightest.  Perhaps it was a bad night for them, but I won't feel bad 
for holding gods to a higher standard.

Gravity's Pull@15 Minutes on Thursday, December 1

I used to work at 15 Minutes as a DJ, and this was my first time 
hearing my replacement, Tony T.  Most club DJs in DC are fond of the 
painfully simple "bass drum on every beat" techno, but there was none 
to be heard this night.  There was a lot of pop stuff in the mix to 
keep the rich folk drinking, but this is still the only club I know of 
where you can hear The Frank And Walters, The Popinjays, Patti Smith, 
Chapterhouse, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, etc.  I danced myself into a 

During the night, I went to the club's back room, where they have 
bands playing.  There was a band I had never heard of by the name of 
Gravity's Pull, who said they are from Chapel Hill.  Straightforward 
punk/pop, with enjoyable male/female vocal exchanges.  I bought their 
CD, which is pleasant, although they put this out before they really 
had enough material to get someone to pay attention for this amount of 
time.  Perhaps I'll review it more fully once I get to know it.

Wendy Repass/Paint/Damn Near Red/Charming@Pete's in Charlottesville, 
VA on Friday, December 2

Wendy Repass was a clever local with acoustic guitar.  She was able to 
toy with dynamics well and worked the mike well for her strong voice.  
Her stage presence makes me think she works in a day care center.  She 
says she wants to get a full band together, which I think will be a 
big help in getting these songs across.

Paint.  Well, that's my band, so I guess I can't really review us 
fairly.  I'll review the audience instead.  They were amazing...they 
didn't even know who we were, and they got up and danced the entire 
time.  It gave me so much nervous energy, my arm hairs were standing 
up.  We want to move to Charlottesville.

Damn Near Red are a Richmond band who toy with textures in the manner 
of Slint, Sonic Youth, and Pitchblende.  This style of music is always 
best live...the surprising shifts seem to make the entire room move, 
and gravity becomes relative.  The singer had a daunting presence, her 
overalls, buzz-cut, and powerful frame making her seem like psychotic 
farmgirl.  (I met her afterwards, she's actually quite personable.) I 
immediately bought up everything they had on record, which, 
unfortunately, isn't much.

This was Charming's first show, and the nervousness was apparent.  
Still, they did a pleasant set of jangly indie-pop that kept my toes 
tapping.  The material will probably get stronger over time, it was a 
bit up and down this night.  The high point of their set, though, was 
a 12-minute improv where the rhythm section played a trippy vamp 
similar to The Temptations' "Psychedelic Shack" and the singer picked 
up a flute and walked out dreamy melodies.  Imagine how it would sound 
if The Stone Roses did "The Hustle." There is no such thing as too 
long for a groove as sweet as this.

I woke up Saturday morning suffering from some vicious back spasms.  
I'm going to have to get myself used to this pace.


Shudder to Think, SDRE, Brainiac

December 8, 1994.

Shudder To Think, Sunny Day Real Estate, Brainiac. @ Metro, Chicago, 

I met Juan and John from Brainiac the previous day at my house.  They, 
along with roommate JSolomon, had just been treated to a fantastic 
Chinese dinner, made all the more fantastic in that it was at SubPop's 
expense.  Apparently, the label is trying to -woo- them.

The show started at 6:50 (you gotta love all-ages shows that display, 
along with the band line-up and start-times, a "10:00 CURFEW") and I 
got there in time.  Another Chicago club area parking tip: the street 
angling East of the Metro is a prime spot for street parking (that is, 
on non-Cubs nights).

Brainiac has a distinct sound.  Not straight-up punk at all; they've 
added a MOOG-type keyboard and tons of vocal effects which range from 
gargling to ...  gargling.  Vocals sounded great at the expense of 
words.  Lead singer and keyboardist John explains that "you have to 
program the keyboard each time." It follows that Brainiac live WILL 
sound different than Brainiac on vinyl.  The guitarist, while 
reminding me of Eugene V.  Tooms (that famed X-File villian), played 
some damned creative lines.  Brainiac is definitely not your usual 

I don't know much about Sunny Day Real Estate ...  except for a bunch 
of hype and the rumor that the lead singer has turned into a Born 
Again Christian (that famed X-Files villian) and will indeed walk away 
from all major label interest and money.  This is just a rumor.  After 
seeing them live, though, I hope it becomes true.  The religion he's 
practicing right now is downright DULL.  Neophyte rocker and long-term 
pal MBuccheri kept wishing that the next song would feature a slow, 
quiet section contrasted to a loud, wailing (er, "rocking") section.  
Wish came true every time.  When it's all been done before musically, 
I tried to hear the lyrics, but alas ...  The best part, for sure, was 
the end when the bassist and guitarist evoked massive phase-shifting 
feedback while the lead singer talked about something that I imagine 
(and hope) was some kind of sermon.

Oh yeah ...  another neat item: SunnyDRE apparently made more money in 
Milwaukee off their tee-shirts than their club guarantee.  You wonder 
what their tee-shirts look like? VERY rave-like.  I'm just stating the 

BMoritz tells me that he heard some guy say "If Craig (lead singer of 
Shudder To Think) is not outright gay, he sure is overtly sexual to 
men." Before this, MBuccheri and I were sharing a funny memory 
involving one American classical pianist/vocal accompanist Norman 
Shetler and his CD feature a "Boy Soprano." This then brought on 
discussion about "castrati."

Then Shudder To Think came on.  I had been a fan for over four years 
and this was my first time ever seeing them.  I do not know how to 
describe the enigmantic Craig Weldren.  He, at various times, reminded 
me of Henry Rollins (he looked sort of built, plus he wore all black - 
though he didn't scowl), David Graham of Depeche Mode ([am I allowed 
to allude to them here? [only allude -es]] - because of his occasional 
posing to the audience), and Billy Bragg (for his somewhat 
self-deprecating humor and entertaining between-song banter).

I liked STThink a lot, even though they only played five songs that I 
knew.  One of them was Red House.  For this song, he brought out 
Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James "Yee-hah" Iha (favorite endearing 
self-description of Iha: "a shy guy who wanted to be a rock and roll 
guy").  Apparently, Iha's been making a lot of noise about STThink.  
Better late than never.  Maybe the SPumpkins wil cover them when they 
go Unplugged.

What I did miss from STThink was hearing back-up vocals from their 

Fellow concert goers Brook and Sarah went to buy tee-shirts (not the 
rave-like tee-shirts) and ended up talking ever so briefly to Craig.  
Brook got him to sign something.  Two things actually, one for him and 
one for Sarah, whom he said was his girlfriend (which is not true, 
Sarah fans).  Craig signed it "To Girlfriend, Love Craig."



From: (Joep Vermaat)
Silver Jews

Since a few months I've been working for a music Magazine in Holland 
called 'Opscene'.  It's not that big a magazine, only a few thousand 
copies get sold.  It's completely independent and because of that also 
completely voluntary.  But it's a great way to get my opinion across 
to more people than usual.  Recently I had to honour to do an 
interview with David Berman of The Silver Jews.  It was quite a nice 
experience, although it was only my second interview ever.  The editor 
at Opscene didn't mind me spreading the interview around the net, 
because you won't ever buy the magazine anyway.  It's a language 

Named after Silva Joao, an ancient Brazillian hero.  That was what the 
release info said about The Silver Jews' third record, 'Starlite 
Walker'.  But the boss of Drag City didn't hear the name right and 
made 'Silver Jews' out of it.  "I don't know what you're talking 
about", David said, amused, when I asked him a question about the 
hero, "but I think you're the victim of a bullshit story thought up by 
Drag City; they're notorious for that.  No, we have had the name for a 
long time.  And we just thought it up because we're fan of a lot of 
bands like The Silver Apples and The Silver Beatles.  We wanted 
something with Silver in it, but Jewish.  So, Silver Jews it became." 
The Silver Jews were founded around 1989 when David, Steve Malkmus and 
Bob Nastanovich still went to college together in Virginia.  Far 
before Pavement had recorded anything.  "Most people think Silver Jews 
is a side project of Pavement.  But it's really the other way around.  
Pavement only grew out to be a very popular side project." Because of 
their popularity, Silver Jews became more and more a solo vehicle for 
David.  "Still, we have lots of plans to do more things together in 
Silver Jews.  Steve wants to make an album of his own, singing my 
songs.  And there's gonna be a new EP on which I'm playing with other 
people for the first time, but still by the name of Silver Jews.  And 
in January me and Will Oldham of Palace are going into the studio to 
record two very long songs by the name of Silver Palace.  And we'll be 
touring early next year." Although this is a very busy schedule, David 
still sees making music as a hobby.  "I don't think Silver Jews will 
ever be very popular and that's all right.  I do it because I like to.  
And if somebody else likes it, then that's fine."

In daily life he's an English graduate; he writes fiction and poetry 
and he's working on getting his master's degree.  To make some money 
he teaches at the University.  For writing the songs he doesn't always 
use his writing skills.  "Early on, we just went into the studio, 
started a tape, smoked a joint and then started talking.  Only 'The 
country diary of a Subway conductor' on the new record is made like 
that.  But we used to record everything that way." For 'Starlite 
Walker' David has taken his time to write songs.  In the little city 
of Oxford, Mississippi, he rented a small cabin in the woods, just for 
inspiration.  "It was a very old laboratory of a retired chemist.  
It's in the middle of the woods about fifteen kilometers from Oxford.  
That's the place I lived and wrote the songs all summer long.  And 
because Memphis is just an hour drive, we recorded them there." On the 
cover you can see why he chose this place to get inspired.  "That's a 
picture of a small house near the place I lived.  But it looks like 
it.  Mississippi is a wonderful place; it's very quiet.  An area that 
has been forgotten for so long.  If you're there, you get the feeling 
you're not on this world, that no one can ever find you.  It's like 
you're living in the past.  In Mississippi the past is more present 
than the present." It's a feeling you can hear in the songs.  "Because 
I've grown up in the South, I was influenced by its past.  I'm 
interested in stories and telling stories.  That's how I spend the 
time with people.  Because of that, a lot of my songs are based on 
stories." He has a lot of respect for people who put emphasis on 
words.  In his record collection you can find records by The Band, 
Chuck Berry and more recently Palace, Beck and Royal Trux.  Lots of 
the Drag City label.  "It's one of the best labels in the whole world.  
If it ever stops existing, only then people will realise what a great 
collective it was.  Now they're going on strong, nobody notices."

One of the funniest moments on the record is the "..and we're stuck 
inside the song.." part in 'New Orleans.' "It isn't really meant to be 
funny.  It's a two-way thing.  It's sort of a long song and we're 
still in it.  And the other part of it is the subject of the song.  
The `I' in the song is a guy literally trapped in a house he has 
broken into a hundred years ago.  And he's now some sort of ghost 
trapped inside the house.  And the song is a house.  I have this idea 
you could make a record and it would be like you can live inside it 
forever.  It's like an old photograph, everything would still be in 
there.  Songs are like rooms and houses.  I've had that idea with that 
song that he would be preserved in it."

Because writing is David's first love, he does that the most.  "The 
past few years I've been collecting all of my own stuff.  And at the 
end of the year I hope to send a big text to some publishers, just to 
test the waters." But he doesn't worry about that much.  "I know I'm 
going to do that the rest of my life.  Hopefully I'll be ready to put 
out books in my 30s.  But if it doesn't happen, it doesn't." Just like 
with the Silver Jews, David has enough plans for himself.  "I want to 
have a huge family.  A dynasty of children and grandchildren.  So I 
can sit at the head of the table and tell all my offspring stories.  
Living in Oxford.  And fishing.."

During the interview we talked about Slint, because Bob knows most of 
the guys.  And he came up with some info: Slint has split up, although 
they tried to record one song for six months, but nothing happened.  
Britt has got a new band called Evergreen.  And Brian MacMahan is 
doing a record by himself.  And recently I read that David Pajo joined 
King Kong.  Does anybody have any details about releases or anything?

                        /// One of THE TWO PURE \\\

                   /// Joep : \\\



From: "der. dann medin." <DLM94001@UConnVM.UConn.Edu>
which came 1st- jem's misfits or danzig's?

duh.  hello again.  before i dissolve another second of yr time 
w/cyberplaster, i jus wanna thank everyone that sent me advice on 
fotos in zines.  i got a lot more response than i expected & it's 
gonna help me a lot.  it just re- enforces my faith in a kinder, 
gentler independent music scene where we can all just help each other 
out, instead of being competitive schmucks like some people/labels 
that i know of.  i really appreciate it and send you electronic hugs.

ok.  if i went over every show i've seen since i originally wrote th 
last issue, i'd break in half.  physically.  i kinda go on sometimes, 
like right now, & don't shut up & get to th point.  th point: bikini 
kill; ok in worchester, better @ 158.  (connecticut) am i slow? did 
anyone else know that they signed to warner over 6 months ago? i guess 
i can be a critical dick, but this is mean.  i still luv their music.  
vitapup was fabulous as as opening band.  kudgel's last show is boston 
was fun, but not as good as i've seen them in th past.  i'm sure that 
everyone is gonna miss these lard butts.  mark's already onto nu 
projects,(one is circus music!) so don't despair...  karp & th fitz in 
boston (11/9) were a lot of fun...i saw huggy bear 3 times this tour, 
most of which th shows were kinda hit or miss.  i'll spend my time on 
th hit.  it wasn't th boston show.  on th other hand, (10/10 @ th 
middle east) th opening bands were fabulous.  mona from spore did solo 
stuff, quivver sounded a lot better since last year, and fifth column 
was a lot of fun.  th drummer does this thing w/his arms while he's 
playing, i can't really describe it, but it's really funny.  see them 
if ya get th chance.

huggy bear, vitapup, syrup, & 2 others @ hampshire college, ma...11/12...  
syrup was great.  not that different from her syrup stuff w/weirdo 
keyboard stuff.  i luv seana's voice.  good girl/boy harmonies.  
VITAPUP! i love them so much.  they just came out w/a second 7" & 
another one is due pretty soon.  nyc spurted seeds from n.o.u.  & 
unwound in a bass-centered/guitar noise kinda vein, w/a guy that spins 
lights, lots of poetry, and jane, who sings pretty songs about evil 
tooth fairies.  see them, they are hot stuff.  dig? h.b.  only did nu 
material from "weaponry..." which i'm not sure if it's out on k.r.s.  
yet, i have a wiija copy.  this was their last tour, they're all 
broken up.  less niki singing, but still intense when they're on fire.  
very sweet individuals as well.  th only oldie they did was a fuk'd up 
version of "pansy twist" which went into a jam.

archers of loaf, ivy,