Nothing I can say about the magazine this time, but Beastie Boys were on the cover. CMJ did this often where an artist would be on the CD, and then a few months later they’d be featured on the cover. Get it together!!
Old Music Monthly #011: June 1994
Buckshot LeFonque – Breakfast At Denny’s
This was a project led by Branford Marsalis (Tonight Show Band) and DJ Premier (Gang Starr). The group is an attempt to meld jazz / hip-hop / rock, and there are 24 credited musicians on it. There isn’t really any “rock” on this song, so to speak, but it has a real noir New York feel going on through. It’s decent, the hip hop beats really help out here.
The collective put out a second album, 1997’s Music Evolution (with 25 credited musicians). (+)
Paul Weller – Sunflower
Paul Weller got his start in mod revival band The Jam (1972-1982), then had continued success with Style Council (1983-1989), before releasing his first solo album in 1992. This track comes from 1993’s Wild Wood. It’s a sort of psychedelic throw back, which means it gets slotted firmly in “alternative rock” by the media. And then the fucking flute shows up. Seriously, it’s a pretty cool song, and Weller’s 60’s inspired guitar sounds really good.
Weller is still going strong, he put out an album in 2020, and 2 albums in 2021. (+)
Youssou N’Dour – 7 Seconds
Born in Senegal, Youssou N’Dour began performing at age 12 and soon was performing with Star Band, a popular group in the 70’s that performed a style of dance music called Mbalax. Between 1982 and 1988, he released a series of 14 numbered cassettes, and also 7 proper albums during that time. They all have different titles so I don’t know if there’s any overlap there, or if the cassettes are like when an American artist would release a “mixtape”.
“7 Seconds” is not a song about the Reno punk band, but rather a song about the first seven seconds of a baby’s life and “not knowing about the problems and violence in our world”. That quote comes from Neneh Cherry, who helps out on this song… uncredited here, but credited on the proper single which went to #1 in France and stayed there for 16 weeks, which was a record at that time. It’s ok, I find foreign language songs interesting at the very least. I’m passing it because I’m glad I’ve heard it, but I’m not likely to revisit it.
N’Dour still performs and releases music regularly. He is also an activist and politician, running for president of Senegal in 2012, but was disqualified. He was later appointed Minister of Culture and Tourism, then Minister of Tourism and Leisure, then appointed Special Adviser to the President. (+)
The Church – Two Places At Once
This Sydney, Australia quartet formed in 1980, and released their first album Of Skins and Heart in 1981 in Australia, and then that was resequenced and repackaged as The Church in 1982 for international sale. They are described as playing alternative rock, new wave, neo-psychedelia, dream pop, goth, and post punk.
I know I’ve heard The Church before, but I can’t recall it. This song doesn’t help. It’s just a big pile of “meh”.
The Church is still going, but only with one original member. The were on the precipice of breaking up, but they made a shit ton of money on a “farewell tour”, so they kept on going. (-)
Syd Barrett – Terrapin
Roger “Syd” Barrett is pretty famous, despite hiding himself away for the majority of his life. He had a number of bands before joining up with Pink Floyd, doing an absolutely incredible amount of drugs, and then leaving the band in 1968. From 1968 to 1972, he embarked on a solo career, before becoming a recluse.
In 1994, Capital Records released the Crazy Diamond box set, which is why this is here. Get out your pitchforks and torches, I’m not a fan. It’s just overly long and not terribly interesting.
In 1978, he returned to his mother’s home in Cambridge, where he remained until his death. He spent his time as an avid painter and gardener. (-)
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Do You Love Me?
By 1983, Australia’s The Birthday Party has already moved to London, but the band was having increasing tensions about songwriting caused them to break up, and out of those ashes came Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
Coming from Let Love In, I’m not sure I would go so far as to call “Do You Love Me?” goth rock, but it does play out like a darker version of Roxy Music. That’s a good thing.
The group still goes on, but with a different line up, of course. Nick Cave also has his Grinderman project. Multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey left in 2009 and went solo. Blixa Bargeld left in 2003 to focus more time on Einstürzende Neubauten, which he founded in 1980. Piano player Conway Savage died in 2018 from a brain tumor. (+)
Seed – Rapture
Here is Austin four-piece Seed, with an impossible to Google band name! Seed put out one album in 1994, Ling, which is too clever by half. I guess they had some measure of success, their video has over 54,000 views, but it’s new to me. It’s really, just… I don’t like it. It’s just bleh. They have the impossibly long hair, the 70’s styled striped shirts, but even they look bored.
The group shuffled its lineup and made another go at playing live around ’96, but appears to have dissolved for good soon after. The drummer went on to join Dynamite Hack, who you almost certainly know from their “hilarious” ironic acoustic cover of “Boyz-N-Tha-Hood”, but he joined after that. It looks like they all went on to continue working in Austin, with other local bands or as session players. (-)
Therapy? – Die Laughing
I talked about Therapy? in Volume #008 (if you feel so inclined), and it’s the same year, and the same album cycle, so I’m not going to say anything else now. I’m saving it for their next appearance. If you liked the last one, you’ll like this one, too. (+)
Suicidal Tendencies – What You Need Is A Friend
I used to have this cousin, he was about three years older than me, he was a little bit not right in the head. He was very nice, a little simple, a little goofy, and he used to sing Suicidal Tendencies’ “Feel Like Shit… Déjà vu”, and then he would just laugh. Suicidal Tendencies as an entity are like that to me, outsized, a little goofy, a little dumb, but largely likeable.
ST started in 1980 as a punk party band whine vocalist Mike Muir was a college student, but soon the grew in popularity and the band became an ongoing concern. Starting as a hardcore band, and then crossover thrash, eventually becoming more and more metallic along the way. This was the second single from the poorly received Suicidal For Life, which is either the most brilliant or most stupid title of 1994. It’s not top shelf ST, but it’s still good. Rocky George’s guitar is still great, and the drumming is top notch.
Muir and bassist Robert Trujillo formed side project Infectious Grooves in 1989 after Trujillo brought funk influences into ST. They’re still technically active, but it doesn’t look like they’ve done much lately, but the do currently include former Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin. ST has split up and reformed a number of times. As for the lineup on this song, Trujillo of course landed himself a prime Metallica gig. George went on to play with Cro-Mags, and is currently in Fishbone. Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who only recorded this album, went on to drum for Megadeth, Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, Ministry, and Ratt. (+)
Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Detroit Rock City
Bosstones making their second appearance, if you want to see the first disc they were on, you can read that here. This comes from the Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved. It’s mostly really good, but it was definitely the right choice to farm this one out to drum interest. It’s one of, if not the best track on the album. (+)
MC Solaar – Nouveau Western
MC Solaar began life as Claude M’Barali who was born in… Senegal. How is it possible that no only have there been two Senegalese artists so far, let alone on the same disc? And where the hell are the Canadians at? They’re at home, washing their tights, making me look foolish for keeping track of them. Anyway, while technically born in Senegal, his family moved to France when he was 6 months old. He is considered by some to be the greatest French rapper of all time, and is renowned for his wordplay. I don’t speak French, so I’ll just have to take their word for it.
It’s cool, it’s pleasant to listen to, I don’t understand it, though. This track comes from his breakthrough album, Prose Combat (great title). He’s released 8 albums since 1991, and is still going today. (+)
The Figgs – Wasted Pretty
Starting in Saratoga Springs, New York, forming in 1987 playing a sort of garage pop. I was going to fail this as being kind of bland, it apes that grunge quiet/loud dynamic, but the guitar at 1:30 was nice enough to pass.
They signed to Capitol and released one album, 1996’s Banda Macho, but the major label machine did not break them. They are still playing today, and have also been the back up band at different times for Graham Parker and The Replacements’ (and one time one of Axl’s Hired Guns) Tommy Stinson. They also had a song in a Lexus commercial back in 2013. I would have scoffed at that in 1994, but today, musician’s gotta eat somehow. (+)
(Oingo) Boingo – Hey!
Oingo Boingo is so closely associated with Danny Elfman, but it was actually founded by his brother Richard Elfman as a street theater group in 1972 as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Danny joined in 1974, and the collective became geared more toward musical theater with some originals along with covers of songs from the 30’s and 40’s. This led to them performing on The Gong Show in 1976.
By 1979, Richard left the collective to focus on film and Danny assumed control, focusing solely on music and rechristening the band to Oingo Boingo. Of course you already know that they had a string of hits and musical appearances in movies and on soundtracks, and Danny was already doing film scores. By 1994, they’ve shortened the name to Boingo, and released Boingo. This was essentially a relaunch of the band with a new lineup, a new look, and a darker sound that Danny said would alienate their existing fan base. I have seen the video for the second single, “Insanity”, a handful of times, but ”Hey!” was the first single released. The single version is 4:10, and the album version is 7:45, quite a difference… hopefully the single version will still be on YouTube by the time this article posts.
This is pretty good. It’s not as good as the old stuff, it’s not as good as “Insanity”. It’s middle of the road as a song, and it flirts with funk-metal. While the playing is of course very competent, it’s not always interesting.
Everyone knows that Danny Elfman went on to score lots of films, but so have members Steve Bartek, Marc Mann, and Richard Gibbs. Guitarist Warren Fitzgerald plays with punk band The Vandals and runs Kung Fu Records. (+)
Spare Snare – As A Matter Of Fact
Scotland shows up and brings Spare Snare with them! The group from Dundee started in 1991, and released a few singles (of which “As a Matter of Fact” is one) before releasing their debut album in 1995. They are described as lo-fi/no-fi… and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a good track, it’s fuzzy and noisy, but at four minutes, it’s a bit much.
The group is still going on today. Wikipedia lists 18 associated acts, and none of them have links, and I’m not going through all of that. (+)
Magnetic Fields – Strange Powers
If the internet is to be believed, Stephin Merritt is the main creative force behind Magnetic Fields, The Gothic Archies, The 6ths, and Future Bible Heroes. That’s a lot. Holiday was the band’s fourth album, but was recorded third. It was swapped with The Charm of the Highway, but the label held it back. I’d never heard Magnetic Fields before, and it’s pretty decent. This track is like an indie synth pop. Apparently, this was a sizeable hit … to someone, somewhere… because the generic album cover video of the song has over 475k views.
Magnetic Fields (no relation to Kim) are still going, they released Quickies in 2020. (+)
Dump – Secret Blood
This is the vehicle for Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew to release his bedroom 4 track recordings. This is pretty cool, I’m not a Yo La Tengo fan, but it always impresses me when someone can make something like this in the bedroom by themselves. I spend the time in my bedroom weeping.
McNew still puts out releases under the Dump banner. He also appeared in The Parking Lot Movie, which is a documentary about a parking lot in Charlottesville. I parked in that lot a few times when I walked down to the Plan 9 record store so the cashiers could give me fucking attitude about buying a used Butthole Surfers CD (It was Rembrandt Pussy Horse for those that are wondering). (+)
Now It’s Time For Breakdown:
Worthy Tracks: 13/16; A keeper percentage of 81.2, another one where I think I just was too lenient.
Maple Leaf Invasion: Zero again. Sheesh. But 12.5% Senegalese!
YEEEEAAAHHH, Here Comes the Roster: There have been 182 different artists to this date. Therapy? and Mighty Mighty Bosstones are added to the Two-Timer’s Club joining Matthew Sweet, Sarah McLachlan, Eve’s Plum, Catherine Wheel, and honorary members Beastie Boys… who are stuck cleaning toilets for their dinner.
Discogs Stats: 50 users have this (including me), 20 want it. The lowest this disc sold for was $3.00, while the highest was $12.00, the median price was $8.23. This is the point where you start to see more of these available, eBay and Discogs are littered with 1995-97 discs.