Old Music Monthly #012 [August 1994]

No, you’re not dreaming. For some reason July was skipped and we went straight from June to August.

Old Music Monthly #012: August 1994

Frente! – Ordinary Angels

Does Frente! earn their exclaimation point? Short answer: No.

Long answer: Also, no. Frente formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1989, presumably to get on my nerves. Their second album, Marvin the Album, came out in 1992 and featured this track. It’s a long lag from the original release to here. Honestly, I’m not sure what is happening here. This is like lit Q-Tips in my ears.

Frente lasted until 1998, then reformed in 2004 before breaking up in 2005… before reforming in 2010, and splitting in 2011… and then a 9 date Australian tour in 2014. (-)

Jeffrey Gaines – I Like You (Brauer Remix)

Hailing from the absolute metropolis of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania., comes Mr. Jeffery (sic) Gaines. Not much out of the ordinary here. He played in cover bands before going solo, his 1992 single had an acoustic version of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” that became a “surprise hit”… somewhere. I don’t know, I’ve never heard it.

Now, I like to use album cover videos because sometimes the actual music videos color my thoughts on it. There wasn’t an album cover version, so I had to settle for the actual video. I see Gaines, and he’s got a guitar, long hair, giant silver hoop earring. Not just a black leather jacker, but a biker jacket. The first few seconds, he and his band a jumping around with reckless abandon! Then, out comes this. This song absolutely does not warrant the amount of excitement they are putting out. This may as well be tailor made for Belk Department Stores. Belk EXCLUSIVE!! As if anyone would give a shit. I feel betrayed. That being said, what makes it even worse is that he has a really nice sounding voice. And this is what he did with it!!

He is still at it, he appears on any podcast that will have him, and appears to host his own podcast. (-)

Paw – Jessie

How many rock bands can you name from Kansas? No, not named Kansas, that’s cheating (but they did form in Topeka). Paw was a mix of Southern rock and alternative rock, they had moments of heaviness. I love this song, the thought of a boy leaving home and the faithful dog following him makes me swell up, not gonna lie. I have the album, I didn’t buy it when it was new, I bought a European re-release with some extra tracks. In the liner notes, they discuss how they had to really fight to keep the pedal steel solo in the song because the producer, and A&M Records hated it. I’m glad it stayed in, it elevates them from the “generic grunge” setting on their distortion boxes. One thing about the album though, singer Mark Hennessy seems like he doesn’t always know what to do with his voice, which makes the album an uneven listen.

The band was being hailed as “the next Nirvana” (as was about 50,000 other bands), and released Death To Traitors in 1995. Per usual, the major label pretended that Paw wasn’t signed to them, did nothing to push the record, and they were dropped in 1996. Despite this, they stayed together until 2000, and attempted reunions in 2008 and 2018, but they didn’t last. Bassist Charles Ryan left music to become… a professional skydiver. It’s probably less risky. Hennessy was announced as the new singer for Primitive Race after the untimely death of Chuck Moseley, and I just learned right now, he formed the group Godzillionaire in 2014. A song of theirs (“30 Days Same as Cash, Motherfucker”) came up on my Release Radar about a month ago, and it was good enough to make the “investigate later” playlist. It’s some heavy Sabbath influenced rock, and Hennessy sounds a lot like Clutch’s Neil Fallon on it. Their FB describes it as “Yacht metal meets zoner rock”, if that’s your scene. (+)

Reverend Horton Heat – Yeah Right!

I first heard them on a CMJ, but not this one. The Reverend Horton Heat was in a group before this, I think with his wife, but I don’t know the name of it. He started playing under this moniker around Dallas in either 1985 or 86, putting out his music that reflected his love for blues, country, rock n roll, and rockabilly. The group signed to Sub Pop for two albums, then got called up to the big leagues by Interscope Records, where they remained until 1998.

Here’s the thing with this track, it is far from my favorite. But The Rev is just so awesome, that even with producer Al Jourgensen’s industrial fingerprints all over it, it’s still not terrible. The band’s sound still comes through (but those drums don’t work).

As an aside, Mrs. Doom and I got married in Las Vegas. Toward the end of our stay, there was a “Rockabilly”… convention? Our hotel was hosting it, there were tons of ladies with that Bettie Page haircut, lots of dudes with white shirts and cigarettes rolled up in their sleeves. I shared an elevator with a Japanese man who had the whole look, the heavy boots, the rolled-up jeans, black leather. We walked through the parking lot one morning, and there were four dudes sitting in the bed of a cherry red early 50’s chevy pickup, just guzzling Pabst Blue Ribbon, the bed had about twelve to eighteen hand crushed cans in the back. I’m into far too many things to dedicate myself to one “scene”, but damn, they just all looked like they were having so much fun.

Anyway, this isn’t the last we’ll see of them, so we’re going to put a pin in here for now. (+)

(The) Auteurs – Lenny Valentino

London sends another group of delegates. The Auteurs (officially, no “The” on the CD, though) were an alternative rock / baroque pop / Britpop group that formed in 1991. No doubt the “baroque pop” is due to them employing a cellist. That’s such a 90’s thing. Their second album, 1994’s Now I’m a Cowboy, is where this track comes from. I like it, it has a harder edge than I expected. Plus, I’m a sucker for synchronized hand claps… and the cello isn’t overbearing.

The band officially ceased on 1999, but it’s a messy affair. Singer / guitarist / principle songwriter Luke Haines recorded Baader Meinhof (the name of the album and the “band”) with some Auteurs members, which is named after a West German far left faction responsible for a number of bombings, kidnappings, etc… which is certainly a choice. Haines continues to make music in a number of projects, and released an autobiography in 2009, in which he refers to The Auteurs’ James Banbury only as “The Cellist” and never by name, for reasons apparently only known to him.

(I may have to buy his book, Bad Vibes, because apparently he does a lot of shit talking. He refers to Damon Albarn (Blur) and Justine Frishmann (Elastica) as “gruesome couple, a pair of greedy hobgoblins knocking down small children in their path, batting away passers-by and anyone they perceive as a possible threat to their rise to the top”… which is just next level.) (+)

Satchel – Mr. Pink

You’re going to want to get a pad of paper and a pen for this one. Something I always enjoyed about the Seattle scene is its constant reconfiguring of members. More often than not everyone is from another band you’ve heard of. Here we have Satchel, which is kind of an offshoot of Brad. Of course, Brad featured Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, with vocalist Shawn Smith and drummer Regan Hagar (also of Malfunkshun). The lineup was filled out on this record by bassist Cory Kane and guitarist John Hoag.

Major labels still had the thumbs deep in Seattle’s scene, even as they were looking for the next scene to exploit. So, of course, they were going to keep a group with even the most tenuous connection to Pearl Jam. But 1994’s EDC is not that. The album is focused on Reservoir Dogs, which is kind of a drag, but it’s a really good (also there’s an Ewok sample in the album for some reason. Truthfully, “Mr. Pink” isn’t a great representation of the album, which is why Epic Records will try again with another track next year. It’s still a good song, though.

We’ll save the heartbreaking conclusion for Satchel’s next appearance in 1995. But Kane left the group in 1995, because of personality differences. He floated in and out of Smith’s orbit, playing with him in solo concerts as late as 2003. Kane also went on to play briefly with Devilhead, featuring Andrew Wood’s brothers Brian Wood (Fire Ants, Hater) and Kevin Wood (Fire Ants, Malfunkshun). (+)

Catherine – Idiot

Unless your name is Trent Reznor, stay away from TVT Records. Actually, even if you are Reznor, stay away. Not that it matters, they’re defunct anyway, but getting money from Nine Inch Nails and you still can’t hold it together? That’s bad form… but I get ahead of myself.

Catherine was an alternative/shoegaze band from Chicago, not to be confused with the Californian Catherine band that played metalcore, or wedding photographer Catherine Band. They started in 1985, and despite predating Smashing Pumpkins by 3 years, I’m Corrigan and Company’s shadows loomed large in Catherine’s life. They trade in that same sort of sound, but without a nasal Nosferatu at the microphone. This song is ok, but it’s been done better, despite whatever shade I throw at a certain tea house owning, pro-wrestling enthusiast.

Every TVT release I encountered had a little pamphlet with a picture of a guy in black leather slamming a sledge hammer into an old wooden console TV with the Catherine logo on it. I guess if I’m only bothering to listen to them now, nearly 30 years after the fact, their gambit didn’t work. Anyway, Smashed Pumpkin D’arcy Wretzky was married to the band’s drummer and contributed vocals to 1996’s Hot Saki & Bedtime Stories. Some sources say she joined the band, some say she just helped lend some cred to the group. After the tout for that album, TVT literally stopped returning their calls, and the band split in 1998, minus a one off reunion in 2011… playing only 2 songs at an encore of a Smashing Pumpkins show. (-)

700 Miles – Unnatural

I wrote up 700 Miles way back in #004, and it’s pretty complete. I was not favorable to them then, however, this is a bit different. Don’t let the fact that the three times it has been uploaded it still hasn’t cracked 1250 views dissuade you. It’s harder edged, guitars are noisier, the bass sound is not unlike the early Therapy? tracks we’ve had here. This one is a keeper. (+)

Jeff Buckley – Mojo Pin

I also wrote about Jeff Buckley back in #007, and I was complimentary about his guitar playing. Here, it just sounds like all the life has been sucked out of him the studio. Where the live track from #007 has an authentic feel to his playing, here it just sounds flat and emotionless. (-)

Magnapop – Slowly, Slowly

Magnapop was part of the same scene that birthed R.E.M., singer Linda Hopper and Michael Stipe became friends. While Michael was completely wasting his time in a band that would go nowhere, Hopper formed Oh OK with Stipe’s sister Lynda, and Two Timer Club member Matthew Sweet. When that failed, she met up with guitarist Ruthie Morris, and by 1989 Magnapop was formed.

This comes from 1994’s Hot Boxing, and it was a pleasant surprise! I let YouTube go on, and it played “Lay It Down” from the same album, and that was also good. This is going to be pretty typical of some of the sounds going forward on these discs, woman fronted “pop punk” for lack of another term. I like it better than what passes for “pop punk” these days.

The band broke up in 1997, but reformed in 2002, burning their way through seemingly hundreds of rhythm sections during that time. The released The Circle Is Round in 2019 (+)

Shootyz Groove – El Sol

This is a band that I’ve never heard before today, yet I’ve made fun of for years based on their name alone. That’s not very nice, I know, but I was a kid, ok? Anyway, the group started in The Bronx in 1992, and released their debut album Jammin’ In Vicious Environments (J.I.V.E.) in 1994, which is where this track comes from.

I wanted to like it, I did, but I just don’t. These guys get partial credit for being really early on the rap rock scene, and still have four fifths of their original lineup, and the same lineup since 1995. I wanted to give them another chance, so I listened to “In the Ocean”, and that was pretty cool. But that isn’t this song, so, NOPE.

These dudes are lifers, still going but they haven’t released anything since 2009. Their FB hasn’t been updated since March 2020, but they have a setlist from a show in 2019, and they have a bunch of Shootyz Groove branded merchandise… like ladies’ handbags. (-)

Urbanator – Chameleon

Michal Urbaniak is a Polish born jazz musician who plays violin and saxophone. The history of this is shrouded in mystery, but it’s more of a rotating collective than a “band”. He has a website, but it’s mostly focused toward his other work. This song is fine, it’s a cover of a Herbie Hancock tune, which his website says, “probably the best cover of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’ ever”, how’s that for hubris?

The collective played live as recently as 2018, and their most recent release was 2005. (+)

Grand Daddy I.U. – Don’t Stress Me

Hailing from Long Island, Grand Daddy I.U. first got his start by getting a demo to Biz Markie, who signed him to his Cold Chillin’ label. He did ghostwriting for Biz Markie and (The Real) Roxanne Shante, but after disputes over songwriting credits, he left and signed on with Epic Records. He released his sophomore album, Lead Pipe in 1994.

Lead Pipe only has samples on 4 songs, the rest is real jazz instrumentation. That being said, I wish I liked it more. It all ends up being less than the sum of its parts. The jazz inflected hip hop is pretty old hat by this point.

I’m not the only one who is non-plussed. Guess what happens? Epic immediately dropped Grand Daddy I.U., and he then laid low for the next 13 years. He’s out there now, he released an album in 2020, and he spends a lot of time boosting other underground rap artists. (-)

Joey Ramone and General Johnson – Rockaway Beach

Learning a lot today, did you know that “Carolina Beach Music” is a genre? Sometimes just “Beach Music”, it began around 1950 in the segregated south where it had roots in R&B and blues, and merged with the “Carolina Shag”, which evolved from swing dancing. Beach music was many white kids first exposure to black artists. The sound became more popularized as radio stations started copying the playlists of R&B stations of Nashville. While the genre seems to fizzle out, it makes a comeback nearly every decade, at least until the 80s. There are currently 13 full-time beach music radio stations in North and South Carolina (and 1 in Florida), and 17 with specialty shows airing the genre, mostly on the east coast USA, with 1 in Australia, and 1 in … Ohio.

So, what the fuck does this have to do with Joey Ramone? I have no earthly idea. This comes from a Columbia Records album called Anyone Can Join! by a “group” called Godchildren of Soul. It doesn’t appear that this group actually exists. Every song (but 1) has guest stars on them, the only one I heard of was The Sugarhill Gang. Did Columbia see the patterns of the resurgence in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and then try to get on the 90’s wave that never came? I guess because “Rockaway Beach” has “beach” in the title, so it fits? At any rate, the song was the highest charting Ramones single, and it’s actually about the beach, and not just huffing glue or being a prostitute.

Anyway, General Johnson was the lead singer of soul group Chairmen of the Board from Detroit. Johnson stayed with the group until his death in 2010, but also went solo and was a Grammy winning songwriter. This song… you might not even recognize it if you heard it in the wild. The odds of you hearing it in the wild are astronomically slim, it seems… unless you live in Myrtle Beach.

Godchildren of Soul never released anything else because they don’t fucking exist. Enjoy this incredibly low quality video. (+)

Renegade Soundwave – Renegade Soundwave

This London group is ostensibly electronic, but you would never know it from this song. It’s… not great. It sort of just exists. The singer has that British bored affectation when he sings, like he’s so above it. I listened to what were listed as their other “hits”, “Biting My Nails” and “Ozone Breakdown”. They weren’t the best thing I ever heard, but they were better than this.

This group ran from 1987-95, when they called it quits. (-)

G.O.L. – Soma Holiday

Gods of Luxury, of G.O.L., is an English Ambient electronic group that began in 1989. One thing about these early discs, they line up stuff together that is closer in genre. These two electronic songs, and the three hip hop oriented songs together up above (although they are varying styles). Eventually, I think they space them out better… but I also have the idea that these things are full of Canadians, and that’s not coming to pass… yet.

Anyway, this really isn’t for me. It’s almost there, it sounds like the soundtrack to a movie I hate.

Wikipedia says G.O.L. still exists, but they only put out one album, 1995’s Sensations of Tone. There are only 11 on Discogs, but their prices range from $50.57 to $156.35 (US dollars). I chose this video because it most closest matches the running time to the one on the original disc. (-)

Robert Armani – Circus Bells (Remix)

Born Robert Woods, this Chicago DJ has been spinning for block parties since he was 14, and remixing other’s tracks. Woods was given the name by his female fans in Italy when he went to play there, and they were impressed with his high quality suits. This is Chicago House all the way.  The disc isn’t helpful in just calling it “Remix”, because you know DJs do a track and make 48 remixes of it with varying lengths and subtitles. I *think* I chose the right one.

Armani is still at it. He has released 60 singles since 1990, and 7 albums between 1992 and 1997. (+)

Pigpen – Pattern 56 / Interlude

Pigpen was a jazz quartet, it looks like they may have split up after 1997. They released four albums in 1994, and one in 1997. The song isn’t on YouTube, and there is also a UK rock group with that name, and someone from The Dead with that nickname, so it’s of no avail. (0)

Doo Rag – Swampwater Mopdown

This Tucson duo started when Bob Log III was playing guitar at a party and drummer/percussionist Thermos Malling jumped up and played a cheese grater with a spoon. After busking to earn cigarette money, they recorded and self-released a cassette. They started to spread out regionally, and Beck witnessed them before “Loser” broke, and took them on tour as an opener. From there, they skyrocketed to playing festivals in Europe, and the side stage at Lollapalooza, where they met Sonic Youth, who they also opened for.

This is interesting. I like it at least once, but I’m not sure I’d track it down. HOWEVER, this is exactly the kind of weird shit that made CMJ worth investing in.

The duo split in 1996. Malling recorded a little bit under the name Coin, releasing on album in 1999. Log went solo and plays with a drum machine and dresses as a “human cannonball”. (+)

Candy Machine – Autorepublic

There is very, very little about Baltimore’s Candy Machine. An every changing line up recorded an amalgam of noise rock, punk rock, and post hardcore… and other labels starting with “post”. They struggled with labels, of course. Starting on indie Skene! Records (one time home to Jawbox, Shades Apart, Green Day), moving to EastWest (Warner Bros. subsidiary) for 1994’s A Modest Proposal, and then their final album put out with a co-release with DeSoto (The Dismemberment Plan, Burning Airlines, and run by members of Jawbox) and Dischord (Jawbox again, Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi/Minor Threat).

Here is the entire album, which I will definitely explore later. Skip to 18:50 to go right to this track. Those of you who have liked the other noise offerings will love this one. (+)

(It’s not allowing me to link, and it’s the only one out there, so I recommend going to YouTube. I think it’s worth it.)

Now It’s Time For Breakdown:

Worthy Tracks:  57.9% for this disc, it might be the lowest rating yet. That brings us to 67.5% across the series so far.

Maple Leaf Invasion: Zilch. But since I have to put something here, 6.67% English, I guess?

YEEEEAAAHHH, Here Comes the Roster: The number or artists featured is now at 200. This installment, Jeff Buckley and 700 Miles join the Two-Timers Club. They join the ranks of Matthew Sweet, Sarah McLachlan, Eve’s Plum, Catherine Wheel, Therapy?, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Let’s not forget our honorary members Beastie Boys, who cheated by sneaking on twice on the same CD.

Discogs Stats: 33 users have this (including me), 18 want it. The lowest this disc sold for was $5.00, while the highest was $9.49, the median price was $7.95. The last one was bought on November 1, 2018. But it’s not mine, I got mine from Electronic Bay.