Bop a doo ee oo!


      Indie List Digest!

       March 13, 1995

     Volume 4   Number 20



Punk Retreading Ad Infinitum 
pop zine dream
Mike Watt
Tortoises in the snow
various reviews
AD: Jersey Beat


From: Kent Williams <>
Punk Retreading Ad Infinitum 

[in reference to an earlier discussion, begin in I-L v4n17 -es]

Aaron Schatz <> in his inimitable fashion said:
> as a Buzzcocks fan I think it's about time we had a Buzzcocks tribute band
> (which Green Day are, in effect, down to the affected British accents)
> make it to the top ten.
I have a 9-year-old who is bonko over Green Day, so I've had to hear 
"Dookie" more times than I wanted to, and to me it sounds like "This 
is the Modern World" by the Jam, only with lyrics about how depressing 
life is when you're a pothead wanker.  All that aside, the music isn't 
too bad.  Not when Boyz II Men are out there ...
Which reminds me -- if you think you know punk, and you don't have 
"This is the Modern World," your education isn't complete.  Like the 
Buzzcocks (and White Music by XTC) it ages much more gracefully than, 
say, "London Calling" by the Clash.
Listen to it with your Mum and watch her get misty-eyed about the 
safety pin she used to wear in her cheek ...
Kent Williams
"Swirling a sound [in Quadrophonic Space] at an audio rate produces 
interesting spatial and modulative effects" -- Serge Modular Product 
Spec Sheet.


pop zine dream

   i'm not gonna judge you, 'cuz my bedroom's quite the mess!
Jack Logan-Bulk(twin/tone); with the acceptance of lo-fi and home 
tapers like mountain goats and john davis, the stage is set for people 
like jack logan.  it also helps to have countrified/fried genuises 
like palace and the grifters running around out there.  this long 
2-disc set runs the gamut from full-band arrangements through spare 
ensemble sorta things to stark personal vocal/guitar-only pieces.

some songs are slowfolky songs, other have a nice swing feel to them, 
and then there's a few full-out rockers (sorta). this should have 
something for everyone.  it's also highly recommended listening on a 
lazy Friday afternoon when you're playing hooky from work and 
recuperating from a late Thursday night that was filled with 
popular/pseudo-industrial/dance crap.

magnetic fields-the wayward bus/distant plastic trees (merge);since my 
only exposure to MF with susan anway singing were a couple of singles,  
i was really looking forward to hearing these two hard to find full-
length recordings.  i can't say i was one bit disappointed.  the 
same slow, sultry songs, but with a different singer.  i won't say i 
like this more or less than the other 2 recent MF records.  i like 'em 
all.  A LOT! i listen to this disc as i stare out the window and 
watch the warm sun melt all that shitty wisconsin snow.

sigh! i wish i was somewhere else.

east river pipe-shining hours in a can (ajax) another band i was only 
familiar with through a handful of singles.  simple, scrumptous pop 
that's made by one guy in his living room somewhere in new york.  
crystal clear with perfect jangle guitar and just the right 
understated keyboards.  as a matter of fact this record is so nice 
that i think i'll go make myself a drink and sit back and enjoy it 
again.  if you should try to call in the next 45 minutes, i won't be 
answering the phone.

canannes/new world experience(spit and a half)Whoa! looks like i got a 
bite here, Skipper! this is the first in a purported 5-record set of 
split singles of australian pop bands.  'tis is a hell of a way to 
start.  2 songs by 2 canannes.  frances singing, and steve oneil 
strumming.  one of 'em whistling.  N.W.E is a four-tracker by a couple 
of chaps.  its distinctly australian, distinctly pop.  it's also a 
fine way to expose people to this band.  this should be a great bunch 
of records to get and it would be a shame to miss this one.

twin/tone 2217 nicollet ave so. minneapolis,mn 55404
merge records po 1235 chapel hill,nc 27514
ajax po 805293 chicago,il 60680-4114
spit and a half po 18510 denver,co 80218

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From: David Gershwin <>
-- Mike Watt -- _Ball-Hog or Tugboat?_ **

Mike Watt
Ball-Hog or Tugboat?
Columbia Records

Mr.  Watt makes his solo debut and shows us what he's really made of 
-- er, rather, what he and about 653,000 guest artists are made of.  
It's the indie all-star list, no doubt -- J.  Mascis, the Kirkwood 
Bros., Sonic Youth and the infant Gordon-Moore offspring, Lanegan, I 
could go on forever -- but the shining star in this bunch is the 
Geraldine Fibbers' Carla Bozulich, whose baritone vocals meld 
beautifully with Watt's bass playing on the self-indulgent "Drove Up 
From Pedro," the funky "Sidemouse Advice" and the cover of Sonic 
Youth's "Tuff Gnarl."

Ball-Hog is chock full o' unconventionalities, the best of which is 
Kathleen Hanna's diatribe against Watt and her perceived faults of 
male rock stardom -- a category into which I would hardly put him, but 
it's a nice touch nonetheless, and she was obviously having a bad day 
-- perhaps Watt's been listening to the Jerky Boys too much.

Musically, it's a potpourri, mostly due to the wide variety of artists.  
Sure, the cover of Maggot Brain ain't the best, but then again, how 
many Funkadelic covers include Bernie Worrell, their O.G.  keyboard 
player? Beasties are to be found as well on "E-Ticket Ride" (hey, 
Mouseschwitz hasn't had E-tickets since the late '70s, but then again, 
the Beasties probably don't know and don't care) and the 
double-album's closer, "Coincidence is Better than Hit or Miss."

Look -- it ain't no _Exile on Main Street_, and you're probably better 
off listening to the Minutemen's _Double Nickels on the Dime_ for 
sheer musical artistry.  As "windy" on sick-n-tired-l puts it, the 
rock-star quotient is pretty dang high (vedders and pirners _y 
compris_), and it sometimes sounds like a bunch of 
Burgie-inspired-forays-with-a-four-track.  But haven't we all at some 
time fantasized about having our creative noodlings released by a 
major label? As far as I'm concerned, it's just fine -- and the great 
cover concept (sniped with 1920s-era wrestling graphics to jive with 
Watt's "label," the Mike Watt Wrestling Federation), along with a 
"Ring-Spiel'95" glossary of Pedro Speak, makes for a fine Sunday 
afternoon of good listenin'.  Hmm, it's about time for me to go get 
some "pucks" (look it up).

David Gershwin


"If you don't like barbecue, you need some help. You need to seek
medical attention."  -- Wilberdan Shirley, owner of Wilber's BBQ in
Greensboro, NC, in the NYTimes 2/15/95

David Gershwin



From: (Joep Vermaat)
Tortoises in the snow

The streets of Haarlem were covered with ice and muddy snow.  The 
night before it had snowed for the first time in 1995.  In front of 
the venue ("Het Patronaat") stood the enormous tour bus of Tortoise, 
The Sea and Cake and 11th Dream Day.  Just enough room for three bands 
on tour together.  But 11th Dream Day had remained home; the child of 
the singer and the guitarist had become very ill.  The tour had only 
just started and the first concert in London was already a big 
success.  A lot of prominent musicians of the English experimental 
music scene had come to watch the band in the small and crowded venue.  
Among them were Bruce Gilbert (ex-Wire), Richard D.  James (The Aphex 
Twin), Stereolab and Debbie Googe (My Bloody Valentine).  If people 
like that are coming to see an unknown band like this, you can be sure 
it's one of the most interesting bands of the moment.

But if you listen to the music that becomes even more evident.  The 
first single, "Lonesome Sound," appeared early 1994 and sounded 
reasonably contemporary.  Song structures and lyrics, it sounded a lot 
like Slint.  The second, "Mosquito," was very different, instrumentals 
with South American rhythms.  But the eponymous debut album was the 
true surprise.  No song structures and almost all of it instrumental.  
"The music we play is very much influenced by the music we all listen 
to," says John McEntire. "Everybody puts a bit of their influences in 
it.  It's a filtering process.  The people in this band all have such 
different backgrounds musically that in the end the music doesn't 
sound like any other." The core of Tortoise consists of a fixed group 
of people, who all play in bands from Chicago and Louisville.  John 
McEntire (drums, vibraphone, melodica and keyboard), has played in 
Bastro and now also drums for The Sea and Cake.  Douglas McComb 
(bass) plays with 11th Dream Day.  John Herdon (drums, vibraphone) 
has played with the Poster Children as well as The Mekons.  Dan Bitney 
(percussion) plays with Tar Babies.  Bundy K.  Brown temporarily left 
the band because he detests playing live.  His replacement is Dave 
Pajo, also known as the guitarist of Slint and The Palace Brothers 
during the first album.  He has teamed up with Brian McMahan again in 
a band called "The Four Carnation."

Although all the members play in other bands, they don't see Tortoise 
as a 'side-project'.  John Herdon: "If you use that term, you assume 
that you have one project that you're really serious about while you 
just fool around with this other project.  We're serious about 
everything we do.  It's something that is completely accepted in the 
jazz community.  People play with different people all the time.  That 
way you can learn a great deal." John McEntire: "Our lineup isn't 
really fixed either.  At any moment people can play with us or add 
things to Tortoise." John Herdon: "On Stereolab's Duophonic label 
we're about to release a ten-inch, on which there's a track we 
recorded with about 18 people." The way Tortoise play live also 
has a lot in common with jazz.  "We try to do something different 
every concert we play." says Douglas McComb, "But we haven't been on 
tour long enough to expand that and try and improvise more.  At this 
moment we just try to be comfortable with the songs.  Just adding a 
little something now and then."

In the studio Tortoise works in a similar way.  Douglas: "For the 
album we locked ourselves in the studio a week long.  We stayed there 
every day, with just about five hours sleep.  And then we would come 
back into the studio to work on things." John McEntire: "Most of the 
tracks we had prepared before we went in.  But on the record there are 
about three things we created in the studio, the kind of layered 
ones, looped pieces of music we kept cutting and turning around.  And 
by doing that we completely changed the composition." After a month 
they came back to mix the whole thing.  And so there was this magical 

What can we expect of Tortoise in 1995? Well, at this moment the first 
(Why we fight/Whitewater) of two singles on the English 'Soul Static 
Sounds' label is out.  The ten inch on the Duophonic label will be 
released in March.  Tortoise will also release another album with 
remixes of most of the tracks, which are done by members of Tortoise 
and friends.  John McEntire: "We gave everyone the freedom to do what 
they liked.  More than fifty percent of the tracks on that record 
don't have any resemblance to the original."

At the end of the interview I give Tortoise a list of records with 
which I associate their debut album:

  Talk Talk: "Spirit of Eden" & "Laughing Stock"
  Orang: "Herd of Instinct"
  0: "Metri"
  Aphex Twin: "Selected Ambient Works II"
  Slint: "Spiderland"
  Bruce Gilbert: "This way to the shivering man"
  Bedhead: "What fun life was"
  Shiva Affect: "Yahweh"
  Bark Psychosis: "Hex"
  Main: "Motion Pool"
  Laika: "Silver apples of the moon"
  Artificial Intelligence (WARP)
  Gastr del Sol

They acknowledge most of the names on the list, although they haven't 
heard of Bark Psychosis or 0.  At my request they make me a list of 

  Keith Hudson: "Pick a Dub"
  Xenakis: "Electro Acoustic music"
  Stockhausen: "Hymnen"
  Morton Subotnik: "Silver Apples of the moon"
  Tod Dockstader: "Quartermass"
  Robert Ashley: "Private Parts/Private lives"
  Dom: "Edge of time"
  This Heat (everything is absolutely essential)
  African Head Charge: "My life in a hole in the ground"
  African Head Charge: "In search of Sanshame land"
  King Tubby: "Rockers meets King Tubby in a fire house"
  King Tubby: "meets Lee Scratch Perry"
  Edikanfo: "African Super Band"
  Tito Puente: (Anything from 1945-1995, best: 1947-1954)
  Fela: "Zombie, Original Sufferhead"
  Brian Eno + David Byrne: "My life in a bush of ghosts"
  James Brown: "Funky people part 2"

  anything by Luigi Nono, Luc Ferrari, Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaeffer,
  Scott Walker, Alvin Lucier, Franco Battiato, King Tubby, On-U Sound,

  Traditional music of Burundi, Morocco

As you can see. Plenty of music to check out..

      |      one of the TWO PURE


From: (Jon Georgekish-Watt)
various reviews

some of these things aren't particularly new, but i felt like talking 
about them anyway:

junebug/pumpernickel - split 7"
you shouldn't even think of living a minute longer without this record 
in your collection...this is one of the non-new things so you should 
get crackin' and get this record before it sells out...both bands are 
absolutely great...and even the bigwigs at alternative press agree 
with this...pumpernickel are more sonically engaging with their 
unbelievable noise factor within a pure pop context...and the gender- 
bending vocals are intriguing as lyrics sad soul 
should be without these two songs...junebug, tho', are unmatched for 
wittiness, quirkiness and a total pop sensibility that's not a bit 
generic..."you are wet and your hair smells good" is not the best of 
their three songs, but i've rarely heard a better title...their side 
of the record is punctuated by moments of weirdness juxtaposed with 
pure melody...  and to top the whole thing off, one of the singers 
sounds remotely like jad fair...(teenage velvet)

sammy/blonde redhead - split 7"
this record came with issue #7 of nipple hardness factor...i don't 
know how available it is these days (nhf #7 was the fall '94 issue), 
but if you can hunt it down, don't hesitate to buy it...the 
interesting thing about the record is that sammy get accused of 
ripping off pavement and blonde redhead get accused of ripping off 
sonic youth...i say let them, because both bands are great, and i think 
the comparisons (esp.  brh to sy) are exaggerated...anyway get it while 
you can...(misha records, the nhf label)

i recently acquired two cassette-only releases that i think
everyone should check out:
biggestest - "xmasongsonvalentines"
bigger than biggest indeed!...we all know that lo-fi is the way to go 
and this release (on the brand-new plainsong label) proves 
it...why?...because it was recorded alternately on 4-track and 
microcassette recorder and it sounds perfect...biggestest is one boy 
with a few friends/siblings walking randomly in and out of his 
basement/bedroom "studio" creating beautiful sounds all the 
while...there are a few songs with vocals, lazily yet melodically 
mumbled/sung...but mostly we have moody and inspiring instrumentals of 
textured guitar playing...there's a total of something like 17 tracks 
here but all preserve a totally impressive continuity that makes for 
the perfect soundtrack to the days that you just can't get out of bed, 
or better yet, the days where you could get out of bed, but choose not 
to...(plainsongs can be reached at
moon socket - "socket to me"
the boy who, on this release, goes by the name of christopher 
moon socket, is also known as chris thompson and can most often be 
found shyly playing guitar in eric's trip (who are, without a doubt, 
the greatest band canada has ever spawned)...tho' chris is not the 
primary songwriter in the band, much of this release sounds remarkably 
like eric's trip in a mellow mood...done on 4-track (of course), these 
11 songs are all really strong, with only two obvious flaws: one song 
has slightly cheesy lyrics, and another does this sonically creepy 
voice thing at the the big picture these flaws are really 
easy to ignore because on the whole the tape is great...even includes 
a cover of "bolder", an early sebadoh song from "weed forestin'/the 
freed weed"...(derivative records)
lois - "shy town" - cd5
what can i say?...1 song from the new "bet the sky" lp, 4 exclusive to 
this ep...lois is a diva...she's a genius...she's a classic girl...  
this ep is great in its own right, and makes me desperate for the 
full-length...which i'll be getting soon for sure...(k records)

i have varying amounts of additional information (such as addresses and
prices) for each of these releases...if you e-mail me
(, i'll gladly share whatever information
i can...


AD: Jersey Beat #53 

New York, New York: If you can make it there, you can make it 
anywhere.  Only you can't make it there.  Or can you? That's the theme 
of Jersey Beat #53, which includes an in-depth look at the Big Apple's 
current rock scene, along with interviews with several local heroes 
who managed to crawl from the slime.  And there's all the usual stuff 
as well - scads of reviews, photos, columns, local band news, and a 
nifty interview with the Poster Children.  Just $2 postpaid to Jim 
Testa, 418 Gregory Ave, Weehawken NJ 07087.



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