Old Music Monthly #022: June 1995
In a rare twist… that will last for several installments, we have an actual magazine! So, let’s take a stroll:
You’ll notice on the cover we have the strikingly handsome Chris Isaak… who never appeared on any of the CDs. Was Isaak really moving that many magazines in 1995?
The magazine is still in it’s primitive form, the letters in this issue aren’t great, but at this point they are posting “prompts” to get people to engage with the magazine… even through email! Pretty progressive for 1995.
In My Room
Throughout the first half, there are these little blurbs just taking up space. Some of them are “In My Room”, but there are other weird things sprinkled throughout, so I’m just going to stick the best ones under this category for as long as this part lasts.
This section is just a bunch of strange blurbs that don’t fit anywhere else. The neatest one in the issue is this little piece on Bruce McCullough.
Weird Record of the Month
This is technically part of Quick Fix, but it reoccurs in every issue. I like that they show you the label information. If you’re interested, Discogs has them starting at $7.64.
Best New Music
Every month they put the best 5 or 6 reviewed albums up front, even before the features. Eventually, these things get snarky and unhelpful, like telling you that you’re like the new Primus if you already like Primus, and completely making up genres to fit things into. In this review for Thurston Moore, you’ll see a little symbol that notates this is on this month’s CD. Helpful!
After the features are 41 more reviews, and this is actually less then they usually have. One thing that is a little frustrating: The timing of some of these reviews. Obviously, they can’t put 46 songs on a CD and have them all be current. But this time, out of all the reviews (including “Best New Music”), only ten are on the CD. Two albums will be represented on a future CD, and two were already featured on CD (Senser, King Crimson).
We all kinds of music! Metal! Hip Hop! Dance! Singles? They have “Singles” in the same font and mostly the same layout. Of most help is the top 25 for the other genres. KMFDM’s Nihil is on both the Metal and Dance charts. That’s rad.
Metal is in a weird place in 1995, and lo and behold, here is a write up on Truly, the subject of the first thing I ever wrote for this site, which brought me down this path… nearly two years ago!
They also had some blurbs on other, non-music things. They have home video releases, (usually indie) comics, (usually independent) movies, zines, and books.
Here are the Top 75 albums based on college radio airplay. How many do you own?
Here we have a little survey on demographics and which tunes you liked best. You could also mail it or email it. In all the years I had this magazine, I never once sent one of these in. Interestingly, on the left side is a list of the labels in this issue, a relic of the industry only version of the magazine. When I was in college radio, however, I definitely called some of the labels to scam free CDs.
Ending the magazine is a two page spread of a city, usually by a musician that is from that area.
The ads in this one aren’t particularly interesting, hilarious, or offensive. Here is what we have this time.
Without further delay, the CD:
Dish – Headlights
In 1985, singer / pianist Dana Kletter formed the trio Black Girls. They released 1 EP and 2 albums, before splitting up. Kletter then formed Dish with Sara Bell. Dish independently released a seven-inch single and an EP in 1993 and 1994, respectively. They were then signed by Interscope and released Boneyard Beach in 1995.
The musicianship is fine, but there’s nothing here that’s going to bring me back.
Guess what happened next? Interscope didn’t promote the album, it sank like a stone, and they were dropped. The band split, Bell went solo. Kletter also went solo, but eventually shifted her focus to writing for various publications and publishing novels. (-)
Gene – Sleep Well Tonight
This London group rose from the remnants of two bands, Sp!n and The Go Hole. Jesus Christ. Their singer carried around business cards that read: Martin Rossiter: Soothsayer to the Stars. For fuck’s sake. The band is inspired by The Clash, The Smiths, and The Jam. This track is a snooze. I think they were either too early, or too late, depending on your age. Maybe it’s depending on my age? The group had some measure of success, though. They ended in 2004, and Rossiter finally put out a solo album in 2012 (for Rossiter’s part he comes across as anti-Morrissey, saying that he’s European, he’s socialist, and he is not comfortable with natonalism). (-)
Everclear – Heroin Girl
Portland, Oregon’s Everclear formed in 1991/92, and by 1993 had released their first album independently, after spending $400 to record it in a basement. Soon after, Capital Records scooped them up and reissued the album in 1994, and by 1995, the band had released Sparkle and Fade, which is where this song comes from.
Do you know how hard it is to say anything about Everclear? Singer / guitarist Art Alexakis did some of my least favorite things. Fired the entire band and kept using the name with hired guns, when I saw them in 2000 or so (as a package deal), there was an additional percussionist, two additional guitarists, and he changed guitars after every single song. It was just this exercise in excess that really annoyed me. “Hey, I have 40 guitars, and you’re going to look at ALL OF THEM.”
Anyway, I do like this song. It’s easy for me to sit here and make fun of Alexakis, but this song is based on the overdoses of his girlfriend and his brother, which is pretty messed up.
Everclear parted ways with Capital Records, but Capital continues to release back catalogue stuff to get that sweet Everclear dollar. Original bassist Craig Montoya went on to form Tri-Polar and Castella. (+)
Season To Risk – Jack Frost
Here we have some post-punk/noise rock from Kansas City, Missouri. Season To Risk started in 1989, and has had a lot of turnover but has had the core of vocalist Steve Tulipana and guitarist/keyboardist Duane Trower. They started on Minneapolis label Red Decibel, but were then co-opted and their first two albums were co-released with Columbia Records. They released 1993’s self-titled and 1995’s In a Perfect World.
My first throught was, “why wasn’t this band bigger”? Then I realized, outside of Jesus Lizard, what noise bands are big at all? Either way, it’s a shame because this song really has some tight tension in it, and it drives off a cliff like Selma & Louis (that’s the store brand).
The band was released from Columbia, and Red Decibel. They then built their “dream studio”, which was completely destroyed by a flash flood, with the rest of the neighborhood, in 15 minutes. Thick records then took the album and released it, but screwed it up, and the sound was all wonky (Men Are Monkeys, Robots Win, 1998). The band released The Shattering in 2001, then kind of drifted apart, but never really breaking up, getting back together for occasional shows. They released 1-800-MELTDOWN in 2021. (+)
Hum – Stars
We last check in with Hum in #013. This is their major label debut on RCA Records, and I remember actually getting this from Columbia House at the time. It was too advanced for me then. I’ve since repurchased it, and it’s a great record. Hum would put out one more on RCA, and then split in 2000. The last lineup reunited in 2003, 2005, 2008-2013, and then in 2015 and the reunion stuck (so far). Drummer Bryan St. Pere had been with the group since 1990 (minus 2015 where he was temporarily replaced by Season To Risk’s Jason Gerken), died in 2021. The band is still technically active, but no replacement has been named. (+)
Thurston Moore – Ono Soul
It always baffled me to think of a time when Sonic Youth, and any of its members, could be flirting with the mainstream. Moore put out this one album on Geffen (Sonic Youth’s home at the time), and I swear everything he’s ever put out has been on a different label. He has 77 albums listed on discogs, including collaborations.
This is a cool track, it holds together, it doesn’t fall off the rails. An ode to “the queen of noise”, Yoko Ono… and that’s fine. I think Yoko gets too much shit. (+)
Reuben Wilson – Hold On I’m Comin’
Oklahoma born Reuben Wilson is one of the rare jazz organists to be signed to a label, Blue Note, to be exact… although he would eventually record for other labels. In 1995, Blue Note put out a collection of rarities called The Lost Grooves (Rare And Previously Unissued Slices Of Funk From The Vaults Of Blue Note 67-70). This is cool, but at nearly 8 minutes, it’s a bit much.
Reuben Wilson is still alive, and still recording, he put out his most recent album in 2019. (+)
Ben Lee – Pop Queen
Ben Lee is an Australian musician, singer, and actor. He got his start with alt rock band Noise Addict when he was just 14. Our good friends the Beastie Boys took notice, and put out Noise Addict’s album and EP in the US on Grand Royal. At 16, Lee started working what would become his 1995 solo album, Grandpa Would.
The video is cute, but I’m never going to listen to this again.
Lee is still working, he resurrected Noise Addict briefly in 2009 with Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Sentridoh). (-)
Home – My Friend Maurice
Straight outta Tampa, we have Home. This group is a lo-fi indie rock act, that released a series of cassettes on cheap Radio Shack tapes starting in 1992, and just named them in numerical order, like they’re Chicago, or something. Their 8th one, VIII, was an 8-track. By 1995, they released IX on CD through Relativity. On paper, such self-drive and desire to do what they want is great, but is it listenable? Meh. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t like up to the promise of 7 Radio Shack cassettes and an 8-track… Where did they get the 8-track?
I guess they’re still going, they are part of the Screw Music Forever collective (not as nice sounding as Broken Social Scene), and put out their most recent release in 2021. (-)
Deep Forest – Marta’s Song
This doesn’t belong here, it belongs on a Time-Life compilations to worship health crystals to. (-)
Pell Mell – Nothing Lies Still Long
Portland, Oregon’s Pell Mell was an instrumental rock group formed in 1980. They had many lineup changes before their split in 1998, this version of the group includes Steve Fisk on organ, who played in Pigeonhed with Satchel’s Shawn Smith. This is from Interstate which came out on DGC Records. Now, I know they’re neighbors with Seattle, but the thing I like about this track is that it reminds me of some of the very early Seattle groups, where it’s like garage rock with surf sensibilities, but also almost goth in a way. (+)
Low – Shame
Low is a slowcore/dream pop group from Duluth, Minnesota. Guitarist Alan Sparhawk’s prior band played quiet as a joke, because Duluth was obsessed with the “grunge sound”. As Vonnegut said, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
This is some real sad bastard music. It sounds like audio cough syrup. Mimi Parker has a nice voice, though, and harmonizes well with Sparhawk. But do I want to listen to it? No, no I don’t.
The group has been going non-stop all this time, and they were on an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba!, so you know, good for them. (-)
SNFU – Eric’s Had A Bad Day
Formed as Society’s No Fucking Use, shortened to a friendlier acronym, the group began in Edmonton in 1981. The group was started by half German, half Chinese singer and lyricist Mr. Chi Pig (Kendall Chinn), who moved to Vancouver when SNFU split the first time in 1989. In 1991, Chinn came out as homosexual, and brought back SNFU with a new lineup, and kept the band going until 2005 (although with different lineups). In 1993, the band signed with Epitaph and landed on some tours playing with Green Day and Bad Religion. Here, we’re checking in on 1995’s The One Most Voted Likely to Succeed.
This is pretty boilerplate skatepunk, it does have a Bad Religion quality to it… musically, at least. The video is funny to me in that there are almost no clear shots of the band at all.
By 1997, Epitaph dropped the band and the floated from label to label, but hooked up with Megaforce and Alternative Tentacles, and those are pretty important. They split by 2005, Chinn was homeless and deep into a drug addiction. The band came back in 2007, but by 2018, Chinn’s health was so bad that the band called it quits. Chinn died from an undisclosed illness in 2020. (+)
Satchel – Suffering
We talked about Satchel’s EDC way back in #012, and here we are a mere 10 months later with another song from the same album. Frankly, it’s surprising to me because we’ve seen Epic Records give up for a hell of a lot less, they never go through this much effort.
The song is kind of overwrought, in a way. It has this cycle of build & release, build & release. Shawn Smith’s voice… no one has a voice like this, this is a guy you can recognize the moment you hear him. Lyrically, it’s the sort of thing that you can relate to when you’re young and in your life just kind of lost, and every set back feels like a personal slight from a deity.
Shawn Smith continued on playing solo, playing in Brad, playing in Satchel. He joined up with a reconstituted Malfunkshun, but he never quite made it big out of the Seattle scene, probably the closest he ever got was “Battleflag” with his work with Pigeonhed. Smith died from complications from diabetes in 2019. (+)
Die Krupps – The Fatherland [Remixed by Andrew Eldritch and Rodney Orpheus]
Jürgen Engler and Bernward Malaka formed Die Krupps in 1980 in Düsseldorf, combining percussion with factory noises… as one does. Their debut album, Stahlwerksynfonie, was in this mode but by the time their second was released in 1982 (Volle Kraft voraus!) they were adding synths. By 1985, the band split and Engler was focusing on signing to acts to his own label, Atom-H. Engler was focusing on signing thrash and hardcore acts. When Die Krupps reunited in 1989, they started incorporating those sounds into their recordings.
Remember when remix albums were all the rage? Die Krupps remembers! This is from 1995’s Rings of Steel, which is part remix album and part compilation album. I have this, but I haven’t heard it in a very long time, I scooped it out of a used bin. This song is really good, and the album has remixes by Biohazard, KMFDM, Clawfinger, Einstürzende Neubauten, Jim Martin (Faith No More), Jeff Walker (Carcass), and Luc Van Acker (RevCo).
The band split again in 1997, but reformed again 2005 and are still going now. (+)
Also, Engler formed Die Klute with Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares and Leather Strip’s Claus Larsen. They put out an album in 2019 (Planet Fear), and among other things, they have a cover of U2’s “Mofo”.
(the) Dashboard Saints – I Believe
I had to consult the actual magazine on this, it says, “centers on the duo of Claude Roatta and Robert Corriazo, who have been making music together for 10 years… a bar-bandish, blues-inflected anthem”. Yep, that says it all. This video has 9 views. You decide if that’s too many, or too few. Roatta is now CEO of his own landscaping business, and I have no way to rate his performance. (-)
(I realize this is slight, this album apparently never came out, Discogs only has them having 3 songs released, the other two on CMJ Certain Damage collections… and zilch else.)
Moonwash – Cold
Her is a baffling find. Orange County’s Moonwash, may as well not even exist. This was slated to be released on Nightbloom Music… as the only release on that label. Some promo copies exist, apparently. At the time of this writing, there is one listed on eBay for $50. I like it, but I’m saving up for that $75 second hand CMJ t-shirt. Nevertheless, they did have a full page ad in this issue:
I like the song, the way it plods, even though sometimes the vocals a touch overwrought. Singer Shon Sullivan went on to be (play in?) Goldenboy, he’s played on releases from Eels, Spain, and contributed vocals to The Rentals’ 2020 album, Q36. (+)
Kendra Smith – Temporarily Lucy
Minnesota’s own Kendra Smith rose to prominence by being a member of the groups The Dream Syndicate, Rainy Day, Opal, and The Guild of Temporal Adventurers (great name). She only put out 2 solo albums, this comes from her second, Five Ways of Disappearing. Oddly, after releasing this, she disappeared… ok, she retired, but that’s not as exciting. She came out of retirement from 2017-2018, but went back into the shadows after that.
You know, I expected to hate this, but it’s kind of pleasant. That being said, I’m never going to listen to it again. (-)
Scud Mountain Boys – Fiery Coffin
This only has 220 views on YouTube. That’s surprising to me. Anyway, Scud Mountain Boys hail from Massachusetts, and this song is why I can remember how to spell “Fiery” today. I like this song, alt country is going to really be creeping in on these discs… but I said that about Canada, too, and look where that got me. I think if this were longer, I would get bored. We used to have a fire pit shaped like a coffin, by coincidence, so we would sit around it and sing this while it burned. I actually had video of this once.
The group signed to Sub Pop, but split in 1997. Singer / songwriter Joe Pernice formed Pernice Brothers, but eventually, as all things, Scud Mountain Boys reunited in 2012. (+)
Now It’s Time For Breakdown:
Worthy Tracks: (11/19); 57.89% for this disc, 65.13% across the series.
Maple Leaf Invasion: 5.2% Canadian this time out! We’re up to 2.5% across the series.
YEEEEAAAHHH, Here Comes the Roster: No one makes a third appearance this time, but Hum and Satchel have joined the Two-Timer’s Club, the ranks include: Bracket, Guided By Voices, Chris Whitley, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Quicksand, Digable Planets, Adam Ant, Catherine, Ass Ponys, Magnapop, Cranes, Sarah McLachlan, Eve’s Plum, Catherine Wheel, Therapy?, Jeff Buckley, Beastie Boys, Engines of Aggression, Luscious Jackson, and G. Love & Special Sauce. There have only been three artists to be Threepeaters so far: Matthew Sweet, 700 Miles, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. There have been 377 artists to date.