Indie List Digest!

      December 27, 1995

     Volume 4   Number 46


ADMINISTRIVIA: one more thing...
Thrills, spills, and mostly chills.
Kustomized in Cambridge, MA
Silkworm, SG, Helium, Roy Montgomery, et al.
Tar's Final Show
AD: Agent 001 

hope your holidays have been happy! or at least not the quasi-disaster 
mine was: lost my wallet, caught a cold, spent christmas morning 
driving around desperately seeking an open drug store. on the up side, 
i've been able to buy some new records, and with the holidays behind 
me i hope to be able to see some more shows in the new year...

remember, WE SEEK REVIEWS! tell us how you spent your christmas 
vacation in true indie style. or hell, write a haiku.


A single solitary info request for this issue, from <> 
who asks:

   anyone know where I can get a copy of the first two albums by 
   Maine-based driving country band FLINT HILL?
Answers to the originator, please.

Next Issue:  The Big (or fig) 80's



From: Sean Murphy <>
ADMINISTRIVIA: one more thing...

A helpful tip - when you change addresses, please let us know so we 
can update the subscription list.  We've frequently found that 
net-savvy people are .forwarding mail from old accounts to new 
ones...  and while that's cool when you want to continue receiving 
mail, it's hard on a list-manager to track your "unsubscribe" request 
from a current address back to an older one.

If you're trying to unsubscribe but can't seem to get it right, try 
submitting your request to me again, with all your previous addresses 
included...  that should solve the technical problems (though I will 
apologize for the occasional delays in processing...  "real-world" 
employment is something of a time-drain, which is why I'm doing list- 
maintenance at 10:45 on a sunday evening...).


Sean Murphy
Subscriptions Manager


From: Sean Murphy <>
Thrills, spills, and mostly chills.

Record-shop recon over the past few weeks has been interesting...

From the on-line shop of Tower Records (via AOL...):

Styrenes, _It's Artastic!_ (Homestead, 1991)

The Styrenes were the weirdest of the mid-to-late '70s Cleveland bands, 
as far as I'm concerned.  This stuff verges on pop, jazz, lounge, and 
total insanity all at the same time.  From the opening strains of 
"Drano in Your Veins" through the despair of "As If I Cared" to the 
utter instrumental joy of "Outer Limits," this lovely CD covers the 
various aspects of the Styrenes' musical abilities over the course of 
a set of long out-of-print singles and LPs.  Essential for anyone 
who's looking to see more of the Cleveland scene then and now, those 
interested in fusing insanity to something approaching pop melodies, 
and anyone who thinks that "plastic bag/put over your head//razor 
blades/down your throat" is a nice opening couplet for a rather 
pleasant-sounding song.  **1/2

Buffalo Springfield, Again (Atco, 1967)

Second LP from Stills/Young/Messina/Furay/Palmer and it's a damn fine 
one.  Songs you already know (or should know) from this LP: Mr.  Soul, 
Bluebird, Rock and Roll Woman, Broken Arrow, Expecting To Fly.  Hidden 
gem: Hung Upside Down.  In 33 minutes, this record expresses almost 
everything that the members would go on to do later.  People who 
consider themselves Neil Young fans but don't own this should 
reconsider their allegiance.  **1/4

Scattered in Boston shops:

Mamas and Papas, _Farewell to the First Golden Age_ (ABC, 1967)

Simply amazing harmonies and song structures, soaring voices, great 
ideas.  Get over the fact that your punk friends taught you not to 
listen to "California Dreaming" - it stands up over time a hell of a 
lot better than anything by the Sex Pistols...  Interesting point - 
out of all the pop performers of the mid-'60s, these folks were among 
the few who wrote their onw songs.  If only the tail section of 
"12:30," where Michelle and Cass fly off into harmonic bliss, lasted 
another 2-3 minutes...  *3/4

Found some cheap and interesting records I need more info on:

The Fold, 12" EP on Flying Nun (1985) - fairly dark and dank, no liner 
notes whatsoever...  comparable to In Camera or the Birthday Party 
(but less tribal).

Glorious Din, LP on Insight Records (1985) - San Francisco band 
sounding vaguely like Savage Republic...

And in the radio-review bins:

F/i, "From Poppy with Love" 7" (RRR/SSS, 1995)

Supposedly a "tour single," though I don't remember hearing of an F/i 
tour this year.  Space-rock done right on the A-side, with whooshes 
and swoops, guitars and organs, and a fleet of friendly Bajoran craft 
off the port bow.  Hawkwind is my easiest reference point for this 
stuff, and F/i luckily avoids many of the epic/wizard aspects by 
staying instrumental where Hawkwind's poetry breaks threaten to 
overshadow the music.  B-side is more "industrial" and grinding like 
their half of the split 12" with Vocokesh from a few years back.  
Worth tracking if you have a soft spot for Hammond organs and 
intergalactic travels in the safety of your own home.  *3/4

Spare Snare, "Thorns" 7" (Chute/Prospective, 1995)

Sounds like a band was recorded on 16-track tape, but only 4 tracks 
were selected for the final mixes.  "Spare" doesn't even begin to 
explain the sonic quality of this single.  Without much music to grab 
onto, the songwriting becomes important, and "Thorns" succeeds 
mightily on that front.  Passing similarities to ideas hit by Sebadoh 
or Pavement, but without some of the self-consciousness I occasionally 
find there.  *1/2

Note: these versions are markedly different from those found on the 
Spare Snare CD on Prospective/Chute...  the CD has a fuller band sound 
which strays far closer to Sebadoh or Slanted-era Pavement than the 
single does.

Much more music around me, but that'll do for now.

Oh, if you get the chance, go see Antietam if/when they come to your 
town...  After trying for 2+ years, I finally saw them up in NYC a 
couple weeks ago, and the only regret I have is having missed them all 
those other times.  Real rock from the heart...  can't ask for much 
more than that.

[Agreements from 1/2 the IL editeam.  I've always enjoyed seeing 
Antietam in performance (and not just for Tara's soundings).  'Tis a 
reason for frustration at missing Retsin on their pass through here a 
month or so past -es] 

Grumpy Sean, the occasional bloofga-feeder


Kustomized in Cambridge, MA

T.T. The Bear's Place
Cambridge, MA
08 December 1995


T.T. the Bear's Place is still something of a cavern (a little one, 
anyway), but to its credit, it doesn't sound as bad as it could.  In 
fact, with the right sound man mixing the right band, it can sound 
pretty good.  Kustomized had the right sound man, and this show sounded 
very good indeed.

Once again, Kustomized played last on a five-band bill (which was 
supposed to be four bands, but it was revealed to be otherwise at 
load-in).  The audience was still a fairly good-sized one, and what 
they lacked in population, they made up for in friendly heckling 
(almost inevitable, given the band's--er--somewhat less than serious 
nature).  Overall, the set, which included material from _The Mystery 
Of Kustomized_, _The Battle For Space_, and the upcoming _At The 
Vanishing Point_ (slated for a February 1996 release on Matador 
Records), was tight, solid, energetic, and above all, infectiously 

Highlights: the blast-off set opener of "Nothing.  Not No One," some 
serious hip-action accompaniment for "The One That Got Away" from 
Peter "The Pelvis" Prescott, and a balls-out, nuclear-steamroller- 
intensity, hit-and-run "Permission."

Set time:  46 minutes.



Nothing.  Not No One.
The 5th
The One That Got Away
Big Trick
Harlem Nocturne
Bored To Death
Throw Your Voice
The Day I Had Some Fun


From: (Steve Silverstein)
Silkworm, SG, Helium, Roy Montgomery, et al.
More mumbles about things you didn't care about.

Silkworm -- The Marco Collins double 7"/CD EP (Matador) -- Silkworm's 
last release with Joel Phelps, sadly, and first on Matador too.  Tim 
and Andy are on acoustic guitar, Joel on electric.  New versions of 4 
old songs.  It sounds basically like Silkworm (surprise?).  To me the 
biggest difference is actually the more conventional vocal treatment 
than that on the original releases of these songs.  Hilarious 
imitation packaging too.

Red Chair Fadeaway -- Kingcup 7" (Candy Floss/130 Sutter Street/5th 
Floor/San Francisco, CA 94104) -- My favorite pop 7" I've bought of 
late.  Kind of Fairport Convention (early) gone pop in a Pastels-y 
way.  Three really catchy songs with male-female vocals.  Recommended.

Scissor Girls -- New Tactical Outline, Sec I 7" (SG Research/P. O. Box 
476748/ Chicago, IL 60647) -- Their first release with new guitarist 
Kelly (even the forthcoming LP on Atavistic features their old 
line-up).  The Scissor Girls are noisy, dissonant, challenging, and 
unlike just about anyone else I could imagine.  This 7" doesn't 
totally capture their live combination of composition and anarchy, but 
it comes close enough to be quite impressive.

Enjoy Nuoc-mam with Mr.  Quark 7" (Dark Beloved 
Cloud/ -- 4 French teen-agers (2 male, 2 female) 
have tried to create some sort of rock opera.  The story is a bit 
tenuous, but the composition is really proficient and the execution is 
just sloppy enough to be charming.  In all, ridiculous without being 
at all inept.  It's really fun, and I still enjoy it after many 
listens, even if I don't know why.

Bush League All-Stars -- Old Numbers CD (Pop 
Narcotic/ -- A friend who just saw them here in 
Chicago said "I think the John Fogerty comparison is fairly valid." 
While there are clear CCR and Neil Young & Crazy Horse influences in 
the All-Stars, there's also amazing songwriting, rooted clearly in 
both the paisley underground of the '80s (especially True West and the 
Dream Syndicate) or '90s-style pop.  Loud and rootsy with original 
melodies.  Features Dan Spurgeon from Greenhorn for those keeping 

Roy Montgomery -- Something Else Again 7" (Roof Bolt/Box 3565/Oak 
Park, IL 60303-3565) -- You probably know Roy Montgomery from Dadamah 
and Dissolve, and here he's back solo.  Two songs, little effects, 
just guitar and vocals.  Nice, strummy Velvet Underground-y pop.  
While not as mind-blowing as his recent Chicago performance, still 
quite strong.

Helium -- Superball + 7"/CD EP (Matador) -- "Superball" is reprised 
from the album, the 2 B-sides are new.  Even more than _The Dirt of 
Luck_, these 2 songs took awhile to grow on me, but I like them now.  
They still display Mary Timony's unusual take on the pop form with 
really odd sounds fitting into fairly conventional structures.  Maybe 
not her strongest work, but I'm a sucker for just about anything 
Helium releases, and this one's no exception.

The Crownhate Ruin/karate!  split 7" (Art Monk 
Construction/ -- The Crownhate Ruin feature former 
members of Hoover (one of whom is also in June of '44) and display 
less of their Dischord-y influences and even more math rock tendencies 
than Hoover did.  I was never a huge Hoover fan, and the same is true 
of the Crownhate Ruin.  The karate!  side didn't grab me on first 
listen, but I've been humming "Cherry Coke" ever since.  Kind of 
"moody" sounding for my taste, but so catchy and so well-constructed 
and executed that it's hard not to like.  Unlike most bands probing 
similar territory, karate!  really understand how to construct a 
memorable song, and it makes a HUGE difference.  Really pretty cover 
art too.



From: RussellHall <>
Tar's Final Show

Tar's Final Show
Lounge Ax, Chicago
Saturday, 25 November 1995

On a miserable Thursday night in the winter of 1989-90 I saw Tar for 
the first time.  The ten or fifteen Madisonians milling around a 
hole-in-the-wall called Ocayz Corral waited for the unassuming quartet 
from Chicago to take the stage.  The name of the opening band has 
faded over the intervening years but the memory of Tar's performance 
lingers.  I stood transfixed.  The music was immensely powerful -- as 
shrill and metallic as the aluminum guitars.  It seemed somehow 
startlingly original despite the obvious references to Big Black, Joy 
Division, Wire, and all things hardcore.  John Mohr's veins bulged on 
his neck and he spat, screamed, chanted and shouted lyrics that, while 
indecipherable, seemed to suggest the ennui and grayness of Chicago.  
Clutching my copy of the Handsome EP, I stumbled home.

That record turned out to contain two of the best songs I'd heard all 
year: "Static" and "Downtime."  I wanted more and I got it.  When the 
Roundhouse LP came out late in 1990, I was hooked; I was intoxicated.  
I attended every show Tar played in Madison from then on.  Most were 
woefully under-attended.  Finally, they simply stopped coming to 
Madison.  I had to satisfy myself with the records, which I dutifully 
bought as they came out.  I even tracked down the early singles and 
paid collector-scum prices.  ...  And then John moved to Seattle and 
the band broke up.

Six years after the first time I'd seen them, Tar took the Lounge Ax 
stage with as little fanfare.  "We've never played a show with only 
three practices before," a self-effacing Mohr announced.  "So this 
oughta be shit-hot!" And with that, they were off.  A start tempered 
by nerves, the capacity crowd, or the celebrity-filled audience 
(Albini, Todd Trainer, Al Johnson, Michael Gerald), soon gave way to a 
confident, if at times ragged, set.  A grinning Mohr & Co.  did what 
they do best: hunker down and play the songs.  I knew every inch of 
every song.  I knew every circular bass line, every interlocking 
guitar part, every feedback squall, every start, every stop.  And it 
was grand.  The show was final in every sense of the word.

There was no sense of history hanging over the folks up front but I 
couldn't help feeling like something truly important was slipping 
away.  Tar retained their originality over the course of four albums, 
two EPs and a handful of singles and compilation tracks.  Accused by 
many a critic of churning out faceless post-punk, "Chicago-style" 
noise, they were always much more than just a former hardcore band 
trying to move beyond.  While their sonic palette was admittedly 
narrow, they milked each arrangement for all it was worth, injecting 
each song with a sense of urgency and an uncanny ability to hang on 
that single chord until it just HAD to change.  They used all the 
elements of their influences to create something strikingly original.  
Whether droning or lurching, their intuitive sense of space and 
dynamics thrust them head and shoulders above the legions of faceless 
Am Rep/Touch & Go bands.

Sweat rolled down my neck as the band plowed through songs from the 
entire breadth of their recorded output.  The sound and songs blurred 
into a monolithic mantra: each song disturbingly the same, yet 
undeniably different.  I remember the songs in haze.  They were all 
there: "Les Paul Worries," "Bad Box," "Quieter Fellow," "Known 
Anomalies" (complete with ambient vocals by US Maple's Al Johnson).  
By the time "Solution 8" and "Viaduct Removal" engulfed me during the 
first(!)  encore, Tar had said it all.  The texture, beauty and 
violence were over.  Good-bye.  RIP.

For more Web-style information:

Shameless self-promotion from Pound Wisconsin:


From: Double Agent <>
AD: Agent 001 

hello all!
I'm happy to say that the debut release from Double Agent Records has 
arrived at my doorstep! Literally, the UPS truck drove over the 
sidewalk and pulled the back of the truck right up to my front door!!!
Anyway, I tore open the boxes and found 1000 pearly white 7"s 
staring me in the face! I ripped the Make Up 7" off my player, slapped down 
Double Agent 001, and enjoyed the results of months of planning.

So, let me just tell everyone who is on this 7":

1. a duet from Rose Melberg (softies/go sailor) and 
      Dustin Reske (rocketship)
   "the love we could have had"

2. Papas Fritas "here she comes"
   - unreleased song from this pop trio!

3. Zaius "29th scroll, 6th verse"
   (my tribute to Planet of the Apes)

4. My Favorite "cult hero, come home"
   (more about the strife of high school in the 1980s
    One of my favorite songs in the world! I feel so honored
    to be the one releasing it!)

All this can be yours on white vinyl for only $3.50!
Please send that to:

Double Agent
188 East 64th street
Apt. 3204
NYC 10021

it's also available on cassette single through mail order only for 
the turntable impaired (for $3.50 also)

Thanks in advance!!!!
Peter Green

p.s. if you are writing away for the 7", why not also include $2 for 
Splashdown #4??!  :)

  -interviews with Heavenly, Ppas Fritas, My Favorite, and the Slampt 
  Underground.  PLus, 20 bands and labels tell how they chose their 
  names.  Includeing Tuscadero, Wedding Present, Boyracer, Guv'ner, 
  Versus and more!


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