Old Music Monthly #019: March 1995
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – All I Ask Of Myself Is That I Hold Together
The last time we checked in on this English group was all the way back in #001, if you want to see the primitive version of what I’m doing now. This track really takes its time to get going, giving you some organ and an little bit of factory-style industrial percussion… banging on a railroad spike or some shit. I like, I don’t know if this failed because it wasn’t as accessible as their other, bigger hits, but this is fun. (+)
Sincola – B*tch
This Austin group used a banned word for this song. As a white male, it’s not my job to tell them they can’t use it, though. This group is 3 ladies and 2 dudes who formed in 1994, and released some EPs, and split singles (and flexis) with groups like L7 and future CMJ alums Engine 88.
One name keeps creeping up in searching for this band, and it’s Pixies. I can kind of see that here, but singer Rebecca Cannon is definitely modeling her delivery on Frank Black and not Kim Deal. But they kind of have a similar way of making a rock song that’s basic and deconstructed.
Despite tours opening for Toadies, Joan Jett, and Morphine, they couldn’t hold it together. Much like Combine from last week’s installment, the band folded when Caroline Records folded in 1997. The group did reunite briefly in 2011, but seems to have been quiet since. (-)
Quicksand – Delusional
We talked about Quicksand, also way back in #001, but I kind of get a do-over because I didn’t do a very good job. Much like all of the NYHC bands, Quicksand was assembled from people who had been in 100 bands each. Singer / guitarist Walter Schreifels was in Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today, guitarist Tom Capone came from Beyond and Bold (2 different groups), bassist Sergio Vega came from Collapse, and drummer Alan Cage had a brief stint in Chaka Malik’s Burn.
When we checked in on them in #001, it was for their debut Slip, and now we’re visiting with their follow up, 1995’s Manic Compression. The one two punch of both these albums is so, so good. Naturally, this song is great, a plodding post-hardcore beast.
The band split right after this in 1995. They tried to get back together from 1997-1999, but after a few reunion shows, found they were incompatible (likely mostly Schreifels and Capone). Schreifels formed Rivals Schools, which was a more emo take on post-hardcore. Capone joined the short lived Handsome, Cage was a founding member of Enemy with members of Queens of the Stone Age, Handsome, and Failure. Vega joined Deftones and injected them with new life, but recently split from them. Quicksand reunited 2012 and are still going, but Capone was ejected from the band when he was arrested for shoplifting and resisting arrest at a CVS in Phoenix, Arizona… I assume he’s still in an Arizona jail. Quicksand was a three-piece until very recently, when they recruited Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, Converge, Mutoid Man) on second guitar for the tour for Distant Populations. (+)
Love Battery – Fuzz Factory
This Seattle group just never took off, they just never got where their brethren were going. Singer Ron Nine formed the group with former Crisis Party members Kevin Whitworth and Tommy Simpson, with drummer Dan Peters who had played in Bundle of Hiss, Mudhoney, and Nirvana (only on their “Sliver” single). Peters quite before recording their debut single, and was replaced by ex-Skin Yard and future Presidents of the United States of America drummer Jason Finn.
By 1995, the group had left Sub Pop and had signed with Polygram subsidiary Atlas, and released Straight Freak Ticket. At this time, Simpson was replaced by former Green River and Mother Love Bone guitarist Bruce Fairweather (playing bass in this group). Does any of this matter? No. Frankly, they’re really borrowing from early Screaming Trees here, chasing that hybrid of psychedelia and classic grunge. I wouldn’t say this is bad, but it doesn’t offer anything that hasn’t been done by other groups of their ilk in a better fashion.
The band broke up and reformed a number of times, it looks like Peters and Finn shared the drum throne, depending on who was available. It appears the called it quits for good in 2018. (-)
Skatalites – Guns Of Navarone
The roots of Jamaica’s Skatalites go all the way back to 1955, when various members performed as session musicians in the earliest recording studios that were starting to pop up in Kingston. The band became official in 1963, despite self releasing a single in 1960, and they backed up several Jamaican artists, including Bob Marley & The Wailers’ first single, “Simmer Down”. However, the group broke up in 1965 when member Don Drummond murdered his live in girlfriend, Anita “Margeurita” Mahfood (a singer known as “The Famous Rhumba Queen”). While the group was split, their version of this theme song entered the UK charts in 1976. So why is this here? Hell if I know. This song has been on several compilations from 1494-96, and I don’t have the magazine, so it’s hard to say.
The Skatalites reformed in the studio in 1974 and 1979, but became a full time entity again in 1983. They’re still going today, but all of the original members are deceased. (+)
Digable Planets – Dial 7
I wrote about Digable Planets all the way back… last week. I’ve listened to this three times, and I just don’t think I like it. I can’t even articulate why, but the “heeeeyyyyy” gets on my nerves for real. (-)
D Knowledge – To Be Or Not To Be
Here we have a poet and spoken word artist, Derrick Gilbert, PhD. He released one album in 1994, it seems his biggest focus was literature. He died of liver disease in 2015 at the age of 45. This isn’t on YouTube, so I’ll be moving on. (O)
Jemini The Gifted One – Funk Soul Sensation
Another hip hop rarity, is Brooklyn’s own Jemini the Gifted One. Jemini was signed to Mercury and released an EP in 1995, Scars and Pain. After that, he was apparently dropped because the only 3 singles he released since then have all been on different labels.
Jemini is filed under “Alternative Rap” and “Conscious Hip-Hop”. I’ve listened to this several times, I looked up the lyrics, and I’m not seeing it. This song is just boasting, and it’s not even clever.
Other than the assorted singles, Jemini did record 2003’s Ghetto Pop Life with Danger Mouse, which was a pretty big deal. Another rapper emerged named Gemini in 2006, and Jemini threatened to sue, so Gemini became GemStones. But then in 2014, Jemini changed his name to Big City anyway, so that was a waste of everyone’s time. (-)
Sleeper – Delicious
Guitarist Jon Stewart and winger Louise Wener met in college in 1987, and played in a number of groups before forming Sleeper in London in 1992. The group released two singles, both of which were re-recorded for their 1995 debut, Smart.
Wener has a real Justine Frischmann quality to her voice, but where Elastica is more post-punk (by virtue of ripping off Wire), Sleeper leans more pop. But Sleeper does have some shoe-gaze shimmering guitar, if that’s your thing.
The group split in 1998, Wener went on to become a novelist and Stewart became a session guitarist for K.D. Lang and Spice Girl Mel C. Guitarist Diid Osman went on to play in Dubstar. The group reformed in 2017 and released albums in 2019 and 2021. (+)
Water – Thoughts
Water is literally the worst name for a band. I mean, it’s not bad, except in a functional sense. The lengths I went to to find this track, and it’s awful. No wonder it only has 286 views… no one can fucking find it. It’s like a slice of Wonderbread with a side of warm temperature tap water for dippin’.
Singer Dean Bradley was signed a solo deal with Hollywood Records, recorded an album. The album was shelved and he was dropped. Later, Water (ugh) was formed and they signed with MCA Records and released 1995’s Nipple… Jesus Christ, talk about bad names. After that the band completely disintegrated, leaving no trace of their efforts behind. (-)
Heather Nova – Sugar
Heather (Frith) Nova was a lady who had her face plastered everywhere right around this time. I had never heard her, and never sought her out (I didn’t have this issue of the magazine). By this time, she already had out 3 albums and 4 EPs (1994’s Oyster was produced by Killing Joke’s Youth). The song starts out with a long into, nearly two minutes, before it kicks into gear with some surprising guitar, and almost Bjork like vocal contortions (but not quite).
In 1998, she joined up with the Lilith Fair, and then after that she took a break. But, she’s still going today, releasing her most recent album in 2019. (+)
Alex Chilton – Lies
We talked about Alex Chilton as part of Big Star all the way back in #003. This song comes from his 1995 solo album A Man Called Destruction. This is a pretty good song, I wanted to hate it. The back up singers on the chorus might be a tiny bit of overkill. (+)
Adam Ant – Wonderful
The last time we heard from Adam Ant, he was pimping a B-Sides collection back in #014. This time, he’s pimping his fifth solo album also called Wonderful. Maybe it’s my fault, because I was expecting The Damned’s “I Think I’m Wonderful”, but this is nothing like it. Truthfully, it’s merely ok. It doesn’t really have anything to prop it up, no bite. (-)
(The) Caulfields – Devil’s Diary
Formed in Delaware (yes, Delaware), but they are also claimed by Philadelphia. The group formed in 1993, and by 1995, they were releasing their debut, Whirligig on A&M Records. “Devil’s Diary” is their debut single, and it did well, leading to some tours in… Australia. As singer / guitarist John Faye explained, in the U.S. they couldn’t break into the big cities, but the radio stations in small markets loved their single. They would play to 1,000 people in one city, and 15,000 in the next.
Functionally, there’s nothing wrong with it. To me, it just sounds like all of the middling 90’s “alt rock” that was left in the wake of grunge, where labels were just throwing everything out there in a hail mary.
As usual, the group worked on their second album, L came out on A&M in 1997, and then their A&R person got fired from the label, and the group was dropped 6 months later. Faye started the John Faye Power Trip, which then became IKE, and then he went solo. Currently, he is a songwriting college professor. The Caulfields reformed for the 25th anniversary of Whirligig in 2020 and played some reunion shows. They put out a new album in 2021, and apparently are still going. (-)
Sintesis – Orula
Sinesis, sometimes Grupo Sintesis, formed in Cuba in the 1960’s. At one time they were all-black, but now they are integrated it seems. Anyway, they started as prog-rock, but eventually morphed into jazz-rock fusion. This is really out of my zone, the percussion is really great, though.
It’s hard to gauge what’s going on with this band. They’re still going today, and two members defected to the United States in 1999. There was a dispute about if Sinesis or Los Van Van (A Cuban dance group) were going to perform in Miami. Somehow, this led to two members attempting to defect to the US. (-)
Flying Saucer Attack – Standing Stone
Here we have a Bristol, England “space rock” band with a great name. The core of the group was David Pearce and Rachel Coe (Movietone). The lineup was filled out with members of Third Eye Foundation, Crescent, and the Flatmates. The group played what they self-described as “rural psychedelia”.
I expect this to be terrible, with this band name and these descriptors, there was just no way it could be good, right? Well, split the difference. It is insanely noisy and rough, but it’s just too far in that direction. Look, I listen to real hard to endure stuff, but after two minutes, I had a headache and I was done. That being said, I would be open to hearing more from this collective.
The group split in 2000. Pearce started Clear Horizon, who released an album in 2003, and then nothing. Pearce resurrected Flying Saucer Attack (without Coe) and released an album in 2015, and all has been quiet since then. (-)
Air Miami – Airplane Rider
This DC indie group may hold the record for the shortest tenure of any group so far, if not, it’s close. Air Miami only existed from 1994 to 1996, formed by former Unrest members Mark Robinson and Bridget Cross. In that time, they managed to put out 3 albums and 2 EPs. Frankly, it’s a little too twee for my tastes, but I do appreciate the intro guitar.
Robinson continued on with his solo career, and continues running TeenBeat. Cross also went solo, and started a project called Maybe It’s Reno. (-)
Now It’s Time For Breakdown:
Worthy Tracks: (6/16) This disc comes in at 37.5%, the lowest yet. The series is at 63.2%.
Maple Leaf Invasion: None. Sigh. 1.7% Canadian across the series.
YEEEEAAAHHH, Here Comes the Roster: Joining the Two-Timer’s Club this week is Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Quicksand, Digable Planets (two in a row!) and Adam Ant. They join the ranks of: Catherine, Ass Ponys, Magnapop, and Cranes join Matthew Sweet, Sarah McLachlan, Eve’s Plum, Catherine Wheel, Therapy?, Jeff Buckley, Beastie Boys, Engines of Aggression, Luscious Jackson, and G. Love & Special Sauce. 700 Miles and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are the only ones appearing three times… so far. There have been 324 unique artists to date.