Old Music Monthly #030: February 1996
Our good friends The Presidents of the United States of America grace the cover this month. In the article, they are annoyed that people ask for the deeper meaning of “Lump”. They even look annoyed on the cover.
There’s one person who is complaining about “dance” music, and then there’s…. the other thing.
In My Room
Tours We’d Like To See
Weird Record of the Month
Available on Discogs for $1.21. Do you think this is where Soderbergh got the idea for the bio-pic? Probably not…
Since it contains only CMJ tracks, I’ll forgive the very liberal interpretations of the genres of FUNK and PUNK.
Promo Item of the Month
Best New Music
The Amps take the top spot! I also just want to point out that Mr. Bungle is at #31, and Red Hot Chili Peppers are at #62.
Multi-Media replaces the old Tech page. It’s a neat look into the dark ages of the internet.
Without further delay, the CD:
Foo Fighters – How I Miss You
We all know who Dave Grohl is, we all know the Foo Fighters. I’m going to include what the disc insert says:
I know there’s some lead in on this, but at best this magazine came out December 1995, and the single “I’ll Stick Around”, where this is a b-side came out September 4, 1995. It also came out later on the “Big Me” single, which was released February 25, 1996. The magazine says this is just Grohl, which of course was true of the album, but the “Big Me” credits say it was his sister Lisa on bass and Mike Nelson on drums… presumably not that Mike Nelson. So, in short, get your shit together CMJ.
We’ll see Foo Fighters again in 1997. (+)
Limblifter – Screwed It Up
Vancouver’s Limblifter was formed as a side project from Age of Electric members, and brothers, (singer / guitarist) Ryan Dahle and (drummer) Kurt Dahle. Multiple sources, say the band formed in 1996, but Limblifter was released in 1996, and since this magazine would have come out in December 1995… unless they are time travelers, this is wrong. In digging, Ryan said that they recorded the 4-track demo over Christmas 1994, which got them their deal with MCA Records immediately.
I like this song, I liked it immediately back then. I did pick up the album at some point, and I wasn’t into it. Maybe I’d feel different today?
Age of Electric broke up in 1998 and this became the main outlet for the brothers, but Age of Electric reformed in 2015. Limblifter never broke up and released Little Payne this year, but Ryan is the only original member. Kurt and one time Limblifter bassist Todd Fancey have worked with The New Pornographers. Fancey also “portrayed” Hunter off-screen in the best episode of The Office, “Dinner Party”. He sings the song about losing his virginity to Jan. (+)
Ruby – Tiny Meat
Singer Leslie Rankine was born in Scotland and rose to prominence with her noise rock band Silverfish. Silverfish opened for industrial collective Pigface in 1991. Ranking then contributed to Pigface’s 1992 album, Fook. On the album, she contributed vocals to “Hips, Tits, Lips, Power” and “Ten Ground and Down”. “Ten” was a duet with Chris Connelly, both their moms were friends back in Scotland.
Silverfish broke up in 1993, and Rankine contributed to vocals to Pigface’s Notes From Thee Underground, where she first met Skinny Puppy producer (and future member) Mark Walk. Soon after, she had a falling out with Pigface leader Martin Atkins (like literally everyone does eventually) when he authorized a Pigface shirt with “Hips, Tits, Lips, Power” printed on it, and she saw none of the money (she wrote the song). In 1994, she guested on Monster Voodoo Machine’s Suffersystem and Therapy?’s Troublegum, both highly recommended.
Later in 1994, Walk and Rankine got together in Seattle to begin work on what would become Ruby, which is named after both of their maternal grandmothers. The duo was signed to Epic Records imprint WORK. Salt Peter was released on November 1, 1995, and also featured contributions from Ministry’s Bill Rieflin on guitar and drums. The album is part trip-hop, but has a harder industrial edge. The whole album is really great.
Ruby kind of floundered after this. WORK released a remix album, also in 1995. The duo also contributed “This Is” to the Cable Guy soundtrack (it’s merely ok), and recorded a cover of “Kung Fu Fighting” with Tom Jones for the Supercop soundtrack (it’s awful). Rankine moved to New Orleans but fled back to Scotland when her next door neighbor was murdered and the victim’s bloody clothes in Rankine’s trash can.
Through 1998, Rankine and Walk worked on what would become the sophomore album. It seems Epic is the worst at this, because instead of simply dropping Ruby, the label dragged them down while the duo tried to wriggle free. Eventually, their second album came out in 2000 with (sigh) another remix album in 2001. Walk split, and Rankine took some time off from music. She released an album in 2014, and re-recorded Salt Peter for its anniversary this year. (+)
And then there’s this:
Dirt Merchants – Love Apnea
This indie rock group formed in 1992 in Boston, and released a handful of well regarded singles. They signed with indie label Zero Hour and released Scarified in 1995. Our cousins over at Epic Records smelt something they thought they could make money on, and snatched up the group and re-released the album in 1996.
I was really on the fence about this, but the background plinking guitar sounds drove me nuts. Then the solo kicks in. I like stuff that is out of the box, but that just sounds bad. If you could wipe those two things, I’d probably like it.
The group worked on their next album, The Speed at Which You Speak, through late 1996 and 1997, and then guess what happened? Epic dropped the group and the album was shelved. The band broke up shortly after, but Speed did finally get released digitally. (-)
Mr. Mirainga – Baglady
This Orange County four-piece formed solely for the purpose of playing for free beer. It shows. The band had no ambitions, and ended up signed to MCA Records anyway, and they had a song on the soundtrack to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls… which has the distinction of being the only movie I have ever fallen asleep to in a movie theater.
The band gets credit for incorporating Latin beats to their music, and they have gone so far as to call their style “Mamba-punk, Samba-core”, the Los Angeles Times says they have “Caribbean polyrhythms”. If they’re doing that, I’m not hear it here. All I am hearing is one of the most annoying voices I have ever heard in my life. Makes Vince Neil sound like Pavarotti.
“People will say that we got signed because punk is fashionable of late,” bassist Hedge said. “And you know what? They are probably right.” (-)
16 Horsepower – Black Soul Choir
Denver’s (sometimes they belong to LA, depending on who you ask) 16 Horsepower formed in 1992, and meld bluegrass, rock, gospel… the magazine calls them “Goth Country”, which isn’t necessarily wrong. Singer / multi-instrumentalist David Eugene Edwards came from a mixture of circus folk and fire and brimstone religious people. There’s a brief interview in which he decries all television as “wicked” and expresses his desire to tour in a horse drawn covered wagon… but, you know what, I’m just going to post the whole thing.
16 Horsepower released their debut, Sackcloth N Ashes, on A&M in 1995 and the whole thing is really great. If you dig this track, you’ll like the album.
Let’s put a quilting needle in this for now, we’ll visit them again in 1998. (+)
Kip Hanrahan – …At The Same Time As The Subway Train Was Pulling Out Of The Station…
This Bronx dude is a musician, composer, and record producer. In his albums, he considers himself more of a director, writing a song and then assembling musicians and then letting them just go at it. This track is from a collection of alternate takes, radio performances, and live tracks. I’ll be honest, it’s not my thing and you all know that, but this recording in particular just sounds like 15 people who are definitely not on the same page. Maybe in a live setting it sounds better. (-)
3 Lb. Thrill – Diana
This song is on a Wikipedia list of songs about child abuse.
In New Jersey, the group formed in 1980 as Uncle Green. The band moved to Atlanta… maybe to get in on that sweet Athens scene? Pure speculation on my part. Anyway, they released 4 independent albums before signing with Atlantic for 1992’s Book of Bad Thoughts. Guess what? Sales were not great, and Atlantic dropped them.
They continued to tour, and were part of Indigo Girls’ Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection. BY 1995, they changed their name to 3 Lb. Thrill, and signed to Epic. They recorded Vulture is where this track comes from. Wiki says, “This spawned a minor radio hit, ‘Diana’, which examined the uncomfortable subject of child molestation and suffered commercially as a result.” I guess someone forgot to tell Suzanne Vega and “Luka”. Maybe it didn’t impact because it’s about as exciting as room temperature tap water.
Now, kids, what did we learn what happens with Epic Records? That’s right. The band started to record their follow up, which was shelved, and the band was dropped from the label. The band split and singer / guitarist Matt Brow was a touring member of Stone Gossard’s band Brad in 1997. The band reunited as both Uncle Green and 3 Lb. Thrill in 2005, 2006, and 2012. The lost Epic album Rycopa was released digitally in 2011. (-)
2 Minutes Hate – California
This group is a big fucking mystery. There are, at minimum, 5 bands with this name. The magazine has them as “Two Minutes Hate”, when they’re actually “2 Minutes Hate”. Believe it or not, that matters. The singer also has the same name as a knighted British painter. If that weren’t bad enough, the insert for the disc spends 5 of it’s 6 and a half lines with a quote from the singer explaining the origins of the concept of 2 Minutes Hate… which god damned first graders know it comes from 1984.
Anyway, I like this song a lot. I bought the album, Let It Eat, a year or two back… and it’s just about the most middle of the road thing you’ve ever heard. No matter, I guess these guys were abducted by aliens are murdered by mafiosos, because no one has seen or heard from them since. (+)
Reef – Naked
Glastonbury’s Reef started in 1993, when singer Gary Stringer and bassist Jack Bessant had already played in a number of groups together. They signed to a Sony subsidiary, S2, and then took to touring. But it was a brilliant but of synergy that this song was used in a TV commercial for Sony’s MiniDisc. Somehow, they did not get any sort of “Sell-out” backlash.
Wikipedia says that they only increased in popularity by the late 90’s, but I guess that only applies to the UK, I remember seeing a video from their second album maybe twice. I don’t even know what this music is. It’s not really bloozy enough to be white boy blues, but it’s also not poppy enough to be pop, or heavy enough to be anything else. Their second album was produced by a producer of The Black Crowes, and that was my first thought, that it’s watered down Black Crowes.
Reef broke up in 2003, but Stringer and Bessant still worked together in a variety of projects. Reef reformed in 2010 and are still going now. (-)
(The) Bats – Land ‘O’ Lakes
Someone get Pupshaw in here ASAP.
The Bats formed in 1982, and have had the same four members for their entire run, which puts them in a rare class of band. They spend the first five years releasing indie singles, and in 1986 they toured Europe as support for Big Star’s Alex Chilton. They then returned to New Zealand to complete their debut album.
We catch up with the band on the fifth album, Couchmaster, their last for Flying Nun until 2011.
On the surface, the song is just kind of plodding along, but the guitar is very pleasant.
The band split sometime after the album’s release in 1995, but reformed in 2005. (+)
Martin Rev – Hop And Scotch
Brooklyn’s Martin Rev is one half of the no wave / synth punk duo Suicide. At best, you can call this minimalist. However, it lacks the excitement and abrasiveness of Suicide. Ol’ Marty puts out an album every 3-6 years, and Suicide intermittently done stuff from 1970 to 2016, when Suicide vocalist Alan Vega died at age 78. (-)
Alison Pipitone – Dynamite
Singer / guitarist Alison Pipitone hails from Buffalo, NY* which is evident by the fact that her albums are release on Hot Wings Entertainment. Her Wikipedia page has a quote from a journalist comparing her to Joan Osborne and Sheryl Crow, which we all know is short hand for “This woman has a guitar but doesn’t look like Joan Jett and I can’t be bothered to listen to her music”.
She sounds nothing like either of them, but is a little rougher edged and has a raspier voice. I wouldn’t buy it, though. She’s still a big deal in Buffalo it looks like, and she’s opened for lots of acts and played on the Village Stage at 1998’s Lilith Fair, which was the stage for local artists when the tour came through town. (-)
*She actually split her time growing up between Buffalo and Los Angeles, but that doesn’t allow me to be snarky about a record label called HOT WINGS ENTERTAINMENT.
Bob Marley – What Goes Around Comes Around
If you’ve never heard Bob Marley’s music, you no doubt knew someone who had his poster on their wall the freshman year of college. There are tons of sources for Bob Marley, so let me just tell you about my experience.
I don’t remember the first time I ever heard Reggae music. It was probably when HBO was running Club Paradise three times a day, but I wasn’t exactly thinking about the separation of genres when I was 10. Sidebar: The first time I knowingly heard funk would have to be that Burger King commercial that featured George Clinton, but I digress. At some point, I was driving in a car with my younger cousin, who was talking about Bob Marley and that he liked him. I’ve talked prior about how the Salvation Army thrift store would have tons of vinyl 3/$1.00, and I happened upon a copy of Legend. I thought it was pretty good, even if the vinyl edition has the much derided “disco” version of “Buffalo Soldier”.
So, anyway, here’s what this is. In 1968, Bob Marley attempted to break into the soul market by recording vocals in Jamaica and then sending those tapes to New York to add instrumentation. That never ended up happening, until the tapes were rediscovered. Here, we have dub instrumentation added, but it works. As the magazine notes, this is Marley’s “Free As a Bird”. (+)
The Magic Pacer – Alien Communication
Bobby Hecksher played bass in Charles Brown Superstar and keyboards with Don Knotts Overdrive, but here he is in control with the help of a couple friends. This sounds like The Rentals but not as fun or well thought out.
Hecksher played bass with Beck, briefly joined Brian Jonestown Massacre, and formed The Warlocks in 1998 and they’re still going today. (-)
Townies – You Let Me Believe
Townies was a sitcom on ABC featuring Molly Ringwald, Jenna Elfman, Lauren Graham, and Ron Livingston. The show ran from September to December 1996, and although 15 episodes were filmed, only 10 episodes were aired. Oh? The band? Who knows…
There are roughly 68,000 bands calling themselves Townies or some variation of it. I can tell you this band was a trio from Washington DC, but I only know that from the magazine. They have three albums (this is from their second), and the only have 53 views for this song.
There’s a reason there’s only 53 views, this more sad bastard on Nyquil music. Even the magazine says “The Apologetic Sound is perfect for insomniacs and crying babies”. (-)
Continental Drifters – Get Over It
This group is made of members of The dB’s, The Cowsills, Bangles, and The Dream Syndicate and formed in 1991. Why? No one knows. It’s pretty much adult contemporary roots rock. This would be a perfect theme song to a CBS sitcom that takes place in the middle America. Cornfield Exposure. Have a treatment on my desk by Friday.
It’s not for me, pretty far out of my lane. (-)
Brian Jonestown Massacre – Cold To The Touch (Early Version)
This group started in San Francisco in 1990, and known for unstable relationships and erratic behaviors of its members. They also seem to like to release things in one specific format to be contrarians. Their second album, Space Girl and Other Favorites was released only on vinyl in 1993 (It did come out on CD in 2003).
The magazine says this is previously unavailable anywhere, but I’m skeptical after the Foo Fighters debacle. I don’t know enough about this group to say either way. I like the garage-y sound of the guitars, but the vocals don’t set me on fire, but they’re not bad enough as to make it unlistenable.
They’re still going, they’ve released 18 albums since 1993, which is the rate at which albums were released back when they were only 30 minutes long. (+)
Buzz Hungry – White Sky
Here’s some more of that sweet, sweet Athens, GA scene. David Barbe started as guitarist in Mercyland, and then joined up with Bar-B-Que Killers. Barbe started Buzz Hungry in 1991, but then about six months after that Bob Mould called and asked Barbe to join Sugar as bassist, which he accepted and kept Buzz Hungry on the back burner. Buzz Hungry released a single in 1992, and their debut album Fried Like a Man in 1994. When Sugar broke up in 1995, Buzz Hungry became Barbe’s main focus.
At The Hands Of Our Intercessors was released in 1995, and it’s pretty rare. I never followed up on this, but I think maybe I should.
Barbe is currently the director of the Music Business Certificate Program at the University of Georgia, as well as a producer for Drive By Truckers and Son Volt. (+)
Melt-Banana – It’s In The Pillcase
This Tokyo band formed when singer Yasuko Onuki and guitarist Ichiro Agata played together in Mizu, but then that group dissolved in 1992, they formed as Melt-Banana.
What a glorious blast of insanity. This version is a single version, and a different recording than what would appear later on the album Scratch or Stitch. I used to make tapes of the best from these discs, and after closing at McDonald’s, I’d make everyone listen to them. This one always got a very strong reaction… usually bad.
The group is still going, other members have come and gone, but the duo remains in tact. Sometimes, the group plays as Melt-Banana Lite, where it’s just vocals, drums, and theremin. (+)
Chan Romero – I Want Some More
Romero was born in 1941, with a racial make-up of Spanish, Apache, Mexican, Cherokee, and Irish. So, you know, American. He hitchhiked to Los Angeles at 17, and by 1959 he had released his single “Hippy Hippy Shake”, which was a sizeable hit. In a ghoulish move, Romero’s manager sent Ritchie Valens’ manager a tape after the famous plane crash, and Valens’ manager scooped up Romero to basically replace him, as they had a similar sound and similar racial background.
Romero hasn’t released anything new since 1966, but there were two reissues in 1995 and 96. There’s nothing wrong with it, but you could throw a dart and hit any performer who did it better. (-)
Now It’s Time For Breakdown:
Worthy Tracks: 47.61 % for Volume 30, 62.43% across the series.
Maple Leaf Invasion: 4.76% for this issue, 2.67% across the series.
YEEEEAAAHHH, Here Comes the Roster: Absolutely <b>no</b> repeat offenders this time! The two-timer’s club is made up of Rocket From the Crypt, Pharcyde, Gene, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Echobelly, Ben Harper, 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, Therapy?, Jeff Buckley, Beastie Boys, Engines of Aggression, Luscious Jackson, G. Love & Special Sauce, Green Apple Quick Step, Letters To Cleo, Big Audio Dynamite, Eve’s Plum, Greta, Paul Weller, Radiohead, Ramones Stabbing Westward, Sister Machine Gun, and Superchunk. Catherine Wheel, 700 Miles, and Matthew Sweet are the Three-peaters. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are the only group to appear four times. Over the 30 installments, there have 521 unique artists.