Old Music Monthly #023 [July 1995]

Old Music Monthly #023: July 1995

The Cover

Here we have Soul Asylum, and unlike last time, they’re on the CD! There’s nothing revelatory about their article, though. There is a write up about each band on Lollapalooza this year, but it’s all fluf. There’s also “Road Trip Tips”, but they don’t talk to any bands you care about, and if they do, their answers are uninspired.

The Letters

Here we have another letter prompt, and some grousing about Lollapalooza. Our friend Tim thinks that the 1991 edition was real, Maaaaaaaan, while 1995 is a fake cash grab.

In My Room

Quick Fix

Someone page Pupshaw:

Tours We’d Like To See

I didn’t mention last month, but they usually have this “Tours We’d Like To See” theme:

Weird Record of the Month
The didn’t do a Weird Record this month, but they did spotlight “Self Defense Rock”.

Best New Music

Here is one that is not on the CD, but the ones that were on the CD are all ones that stink. You’ll notice the “Artist Featured On This Month’s CD” symbol is changed.


This one is pretty light on reviews, only 28 outside of the 5 “Best New Music” reviews. Only 5 of the reviews are on the CD, and the Alanis review is something else.

The Genres

Mixed Media

Top 75

Miss Polly Jean Harvey reigns for another month. How many of the 75 do you own?


This one is from Home’s Eric Morrison talking about Tampa Bay, Florida.

The Ads

Here is what Puma is up to this month:

A version of this was in the last one, but it didn’t have Moist or Veruca Salt on it. There were 500 contest winners, but the First Nations folks had mixed feelings. They were into the local economy boost, but were concerned about the promotion being related to alcohol and causing a decline in mental and physical health of their people.

This is an ad I really like for Columbia Records. I like it’s simplicity, and you say, “Hey, I like that one,” before realizing they’re all on the same label.

This Primus ad has been living rent free in my head for decades. I just think the tagline is hilarious.

We’ll talk about Spot a little bit further, but maybe you want to hit the label up on America Online or CompuServe to let them know how you like it (Or don’t like it). I’m tempted to mail them a postcard.

Without further delay, the CD:

Soul Asylum – Crawl

In 1981, singer /drummer Dave Pirner, bassist Karl Mueller, and guitarist Dan Murphy formed Soul Asylum in Minneapolis. By 1983, Pirner was on guitar and out front. The had three indie releases before A&M came calling. They put out 2 albums, but they were dropped after the second. The did some demos for Warner Bros. that didn’t pan out, and then the signed with Columbia and released their breakthrough Grave Dancers Union in 1992.

Catching up with them now, Pirner and Murphy and Mueller are still here, and we have Sterling Campbell on drums who worked with David Bowie, B-52s, Duran Duran, Chic, and Tina Turner. Let Your Dim Light Shine did not sell as well as their prior album, but it still went platinum. Really, it’s more of the same, but that’s not necessarily bad. You don’t want Soul Asylum putting out an electronic record… or maybe you do, who am I to judge?

Soul Asylum is still going, Pirner is the last original member. Murphy retired to work on his home life, Mueller died in 2005. Tommy Stinson had a run as bassist from 2005-2012. (+)

Gwen Mars – Cosmic Dick

Gwen Mars, sometimes gwenmars, hails from Los Angeles and they play a sort of glammed out psychedelic rock. The band is named after singer / guitarist Mike Thrasher’s kindergarten teacher who used to play Doobie Brothers records during dance time. I’m not sure how to get from there to here, but that’s what’s happening. The group was signed to Disney label Hollywood Records, and released their debut Magnosheen in 1995. This song is loud and thick and fuzzy. I actually bought this back then, but it didn’t take, and I hocked it. I wonder if I judged too harshly, if I wasn’t ready for it, but I haven’t bothered to find out.

The group was dropped from Hollywood, but by 2000 they had rebounded with a second album, but the trail goes cold around 2001, so I assume they ended. Mike Thrasher was putting out some music as Robert Quietly on Bandcamp, but the profile has since been scrubbed. (+)

Engine 88 – Spinach

This San Francisco group was formed in 1992 when the bands Sordid Humor and Smoking Section split, and merged their members together. TA-DA! Just like Reese’s peanut butter cups. Engine 88 released a few singles, and then got signed to Caroline. In 1995, they released Clean Your Room. It’s ostensibly alternative rock, but it has a kind of pop-punk vibe.

The band toured a lot with Counting Crows, which just seems like a mismatch, but they went out together several times. The band lasted until 1998, when they made a mutual decision that they were never going to make it big enough to survive, and they called it a day. The had a one-off reunion in 2006, and then another in 2017 at the request of Jawbox for Chicago’s Riot Fest. (+)

Tripping Daisy – I Got A Girl

This Dallas band formed in 1990, and by 1992 had released the album Bill. They got scooped up by Island Records and released I Am An Elastic Firecracker in 1995, which is where this came from. This was a pretty sizeable hit, and I fucking hate it. I’m generally not a fan of lyrics that just repeat the phrase, and then add something at the end. This one, of course, is “I got a girl ____ “ repeated roughly 40,000 times. Maybe the band is better than this?

The band split in 1999 when guitarist Wes Berggren was found dead of a drug overdose. That sucks. Drummer Benjamin Curtis died in 2013 from cancer. That also sucks. Three of the members went on to form The Polyphonic Spree in 2000… I want to tell you that also sucks, but in a different, lesser way. Tripping Daisy reunited in 2017. (-)

Van Morrison – Days Like This

I’m not going to sit here and talk about how he’s a thousand year old ignorant mummy who denies science by being an anti-vaxer and urging people to fight against social distancing. I’m not going to tell you how he said that the government was taking away freedoms by locking things down, and I’m not going to tell you how the Northern Ireland health minister is suing Van Morrison for defamation… I SAID I’M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT! It doesn’t matter, this song is boring as fuck, despite having nearly 20 million views. 20 million people have been bored to tears by this track… or one person bored 20 million times. This is shit made to listen to while shopping at T.J. Maxx. (-)

Teenage Fanclub – About You

We just visited Northern Ireland, and now we’re jetting over to Scotland for Teenage Fanclub. The band began in 1989, and have the distinction of their 1991 album Bandwagonesque beating out Nirvana’s Nevermind in Spin Magazine’s “Album of the Year”. Here we are, four years and two albums later, and the music buying public has cooled their jets on Teenage Fanclub, despite both albums rating well with critics. Here we have some power pop, and I wasn’t super into it, but the solo kicks in at 1:33, and it’s really great sounding. They’re still going today. (+)

Supergrass – Caught By The Fuzz

Continuing through the United Kingdom, we have Ofxord’s Supergrass. Here is another track that is reasonably well known, but not as much in the States. Americans most likely know it from the end credits of Hot Fuzz. In the UK, it just missed the Top 40. As a single, it was released by Backbeat Records and immediately sold out, which caught the attention of Parlophone, who scooped up the band. Supergrass re-recorded the song for I Should Coco, and it was released again as a single. It’s a fun slab of punk influenced Brit Pop.

The band would released “Alright” from the same album as a single, and it charted damn near everywhere… except the United States, despite being included on the Clueless soundtrack. We’ll put a pin in Supergrass for now, we’ll see them again in 1997. (+)

Silverchair – Tomorrow

Let’s leave the United Kingdom now and visit former territories of the British Empire. I can’t even recall ever hearing this outside of seeing the video a few times, zero recollection of this being on here. But here we have another pretty sizeable hit on this disc.

I’ll be honest, I really poo-pooed Silverchair for being only 15 years old, but everyone hyping them as “the next Nirvana” didn’t help my feelings on it. I was “too cool” to listen to these kids younger than me, achieving more during puberty than I ever would in my entire life! Truthfully, this is a pretty good song, though indebted to that Nirvana sound as it is.

Frogstomp occupies a weird space in my mind. In my head, Silverchair is still only a group of 15 year olds, but during the pandemic, my Release Radar playlists were getting all sorts of cover songs from this album. That’s all on Silverchair for now, they will also be back in 1997. (+)

Jennifer (Jen) Trynin – Better Than Nothing

Ms. Trynin is a Boston based singer / songwriter / author, who got her big break and recorded her debut album for Warner Bros. in 1994. I don’t remember this song at all, I think it may have been too pop for my tastes then, but it’s not a bad song… I don’t know that I would buy it, though. Was this a minor hit and I just don’t know about it? The video has 75K+ views. Her debut, Cockamamie, features an appearance by Aimee Mann, Dave Gregory (XTC), Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Nora Jones), and Mike Levesque (Scarce, Juliana Hatfield, David Bowie).

We’ll hear from Trynin again in, you guessed it, 1997. (+)

Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know

Back to those final territories of the British Empire… A CANADIAN! We all know about the success story of Alanis, this is one of, if not the biggest, song to appear on these discs. Morissette was signed to Madonna’s Maverick label at this time, she’ll later end up on Warner Bros as well. I wonder if there was something going on in the industry, perhaps brought on by Hole’s post-Nirvana success, where the labels were looking for women who rock… but maybe are just a little bit more presentable than Courtney Love. It’s like a transitionary period where labels are trying to fill that grunge void while also finding what’s next, and Lilith Fair is still two years away. Alanis shows up, and I remember at the time the media being beside themselves that she was angry, when really this is her angriest song, right? But then we start getting Meredith Brooks and Tracy Bonham, while not being “heavier”, are more aggressive sounding and less apologetic lyrically.

Anyway, you’ve heard this, it’s unimpeachable. (+)

Vanessa Daou – Near The Black Forest

Holy shit, folks. Back in 1991, The Daou was a dance music group who had a sizeable underground hit with “Surrender Yourself”, the group featured Vanessa on vocals and the music was the mastermind of her then husband, Peter Daou. After a dispute with Columbia Records on the direction of the next album, MCA Records signed Vanessa as a solo act, and Peter was in the capacity of producer.

Now, this is where it gets weird, and I’m not sure if this comes from a right wing hit piece, or if it’s legit. Depending on where you’re looking, Zipless is a scandalous and borderline incestuous piece of art, or the revolution of women’s sexuality in the 90s. What the fuck am I talking about? Read on…

After Peter’s career making dance music, he got into politics, working on John Kerry’s 2004 campaign and Hilary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. He also created Verrit, the liberal social media platform that was an unmitigated disaster. But Peter is also the nephew of author Erica Jong, and he and Vanessa based Zipless as a concept album about her published sexual memoirs. This song, specifically, is based on an encounter between Peter’s dad and his aunt, in which he pressures her into oral sex.

But how is the song? Meh. The video is one of the most 90s things you’ll see, but this isn’t for me. The “Surrender Yourself” Ballroom remix is pretty good, though.

Vanessa split from MCA and Peter, and still releases music independently. Peter is now apparently an anarchist on Twitter. (-)

Incognito – Spellbound And Speechless

Let’s jet back over to London, for Incognito, a soul pop group that started back in 1981. The group formed when Light of the World members Paul Williams and Jean-Paul Maunick wanted to form offshoot bands in the way the Parliament was splintering off into Funkadelic and other projects. Truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s so far out of my area… Funkadelic this is not. The group is still going and currently has sixteen members, which makes me wonder how anyone gets paid. (-)

Circle Jerks – Teenage Electric

Vocalist Keith Morris split from Black Flag after recording just one EP, and formed Circle Jerks in 1979. They broke up in 1990, but reformed in 1994 and this is where we catch up with them. Their 1995 album Oddities, Abnormalities, and Curiosities is still the most recent album they’ve released. The album has backing vocals by Suzi Gardner (L7) and… Debbie Gibson. That’s not this song, though. Seems like a missed opportunity, I’d want to get that out there as much as possible. Anyway, this is exactly what you would expect a Black Flag offshoot to sound like. It’s fine.

The band broke up three weeks after the release of the album. They reunited briefly in 1998, then from 2001-2011, and then again in 2019. There’s been about a million members, but they’ve shared musicians with Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Danzig, Fear, Redd Kross, Queens of the Stone Age, and about 100 other groups. (+)

Green Apple Quickstep – Dizzy

We talked about them way back in #005. This is just kind of meh, it’s a middle of the road pop rock song that can’t even get out of it’s own way long enough to have a decent hook in the chorus. (-)

Fury In The Slaughterhouse – Dancing In The Sunshine Of The Dark           

What are the odds that this band sounds as cool as their name? This group started in Hanover, (West) Germany in 1987. The group aimed to be mainstream, so sung their songs in English. It went over well in Germany, but it seems that it didn’t make much difference outside of Europe. It’s “alternative rock” in the way Dishwalla is fucking alternative rock… it’s adult contemporary in alt-rock drag.

The band split in 2008, had a one off reunion in 2013, and reunited in 2017 and released an album in 2021. Original bassist Hannes Schäffer quit the band in 1996 and is now a gynecologist. (-)

Spot – Straight Thru The Sun’s Head

Dallas brothers Reg(gie) and Chad Reuffer had some regional success with their prior band Mildred, but when they ran out of steam, they formed Spot. They released a self-titled album on Ardent Records in 1995, which is nearly impossible to google. The song is a good alt-rock meets power pop song. In 2019, I was in Alabama, in a used… store. It had all kinds of used media, literally every format of everything, including Atari 2600 games! It was a treasure trove of promo albums of groups that had been on these discs. I picked up the full album, and it’s a pretty decent record. So good, in fact, that Interscope came calling.

Meanwhile, another single called “Moon June Spoon” had a music video that “enjoyed two whole video spins on MTV”, per Reg. Interscope and Ardent couldn’t agree on releasing Spot from Ardent’s contract, so while the lawyers fought, the band broke up. The brothers still play together occasionally, Chad joined Eleven Hundred Springs and went solo as a country artist. Reg started The Hochimen and played as a side man with country legend Charley Pride. (+)

Lisa Cerbone – Blue Frog

The Marylander is a mystery. She’s a singer / songwriter / author, but her website is offline and her Facebook was updated once in 2021, and 2016 before that. She did have a fill page ad in the magazine, though. This isn’t on YouTube, so we’ll just move along. (O)

(The) Nixons – Head

This group formed in 1989 in Oklahoma City. They self released an EP and album before signing with MCA Records, and releasing Foma. Apparently, “Sister” from this same album was a minor hit. I couldn’t tell you what it sounds like. A friend of mine bought the album after hearing this song on this very disc back in the day, so I’ve heard it, but I have no recollection. Back then, I liked this song, but just like now, the more I hear it, the less I like it. I can’t even give an articulate reason, but I’m just not liking it.

The Nixons recorded one more album for MCA before being dropped, and they made it to 2000 before calling it quits. The group reunited in 2017. Former drummer Ray Luzier is now in Korn, so you know, good for him. (-)

Smoking Popes – Need You Around        

Chicago’s Smoking Popes was formed by three brothers: Josh, Eli, and Matt Caterer, and a succession of drummers. As is the norm with these things, they released a ton of singles and EPs, an independent album, and then 1994’s Born To Quit. Capitol thought there was something there, so they scooped up Smoking Popes and reissued the album in wide release. The song is good, and the difference is that the singing is crooning, and not screaming, which is rare for this era.

The group went until singer Josh got all Jesus-fied and the group split… but three fourths of the group formed Duvall. As always, the group reformed in 2005 and are still going. (+)

Presidents Of The United States Of America – Feather Pluckn      

My Dog, this is one of the worst band names… but you know, Seattle. The group began as a duo when Dave Dederer and Chris Ballew. They played a few shows under different names, but once they settled on this name, they added drummer Jason Finn (ex-Skin Yard, then current Love Battery). The group signed to PopLlama, and then Columbia Records said, “I like what you’ve got here…” and they scooped the album up and reissued it when the signed them. This version is the one that was on PopLlama, it’s got an extra verse with a Beatles interpolation… I’m sure Columbia didn’t want to pay Michael Jackson for that. So, here is the entire PopLlama album, skip to 3:22 to hear the version on this CD.

The group never matched the sales heights of that self-titled album, but they did form the group Subset with Sir Mix-a-Lot, which has to be worth something. They split in 2000, reformed from 2002-2015, but then called It quits for real. (+)

Biota – Move    

This is an experimental group ostensibly from Colorado, but by the time of 1995’s Object Holder (their 11th album) they had a vocalist from New York and a drummer from the UK. The group has only performed live twice ever, in 1981 and 1990. This isn’t much of a song, it’s not much of anything. Maybe in the context of the album it makes more sense. (-)

Now It’s Time For Breakdown:

Worthy Tracks: (11/20); 55% worth your time this time out, 64.49% across the series.

Maple Leaf Invasion: Only one this time, but she’s a big fish. This CD is 4.76% Canadian, making the series 2.65% Canadian.

YEEEEAAAHHH, Here Comes the Roster: This time Green Apple Quick Step joins the Two-Timer’s Club, the ranks include: Satchel, Hum, 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 397 artists to date.