While the underground indie scene and, particularly relevant here, riot grrl, were jumping off in the US, similar things were brewing in the UK in the early 90s.
Inspired by Bikini Kill and locals Huggy Bear, and recalling the naive whimsy of The Shaggs (whether they knew it or not), Skinned Teen formed in London when the three members were supposedly 13-14 years old. Their first single (Karate Hairdresser) and early demo recordings were mainly impromptu and accapella, but later releases did include standard instrumentation.
Skinned Teen "Ex-Boyfriend Beat" (from Bazooka Smooth split Lp with Raooul, 1994)
Skinned Teen "Pillowcase Kisser" (from Bazooka Smooth split Lp with Raooul, 1994)
Layla from Skinned Teen later went on to form Petty Crime, who released an excellent EP on Slampt that was more or less the impetus for this post. I'll get to that one in the next part. Speaking of Slampt..
1994 saw release of the Elastic Jet Mission compilation, featuring 15 bands from the region.
Kenickie "Rebel Assault"
Golden Starlet "Baby"
Yummy Fur "Popcorn"
Unanimously ignored during their time, Yummy Fur now have the distinction of being the band that Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand were in during the 90s.
Yummy Fur "Cheloveck" (from Night Club Lp, 1996)
All things considered, Huggy Bear are my favorite band from that era and one of the best bands of the 90s in my opinion. They began as a fairly simple, vaguely garage-oriented indie band and morphed into a unique, tense and jagged sound that foreshadowed the rhythmic, angular rock stuff that happened in the early 00s.
Huggy Bear "Dissthentic Penetration" (from Don't Die 7", 1993)
Huggy Bear "Immature Adolescence" (from Weaponry Listens To Love Lp, 1994)
Huggy Bear "Fuck Yr Heart" (from Weaponry Listens To Love Lp, 1994)
Still somewhat mysterious, Phantom Pregnancies were supposedly made up from members of Huggy Bear and Wat Tyler, and according to legend, only played uninvited shows which they crashed. Far beyond lo-fi, their releases were all recorded on a boombox and inserts give advice for maximizing this.
Phantom Pregnancies "Generate Sparks" (from Assassination City Lp, 1995)
I've never worn Nike, not even when I was a kid. It was a coincidence, then an active choice, and now it's not even my thing so it's pretty irrelevant. That said, getting REAS and Misha from Perks & Mini to work on a Windrunner yielded some pretty ill results.
The last time I was in Seattle I found a handful of Vibe Music releases in Easy Street's 25 cent bin. I didn't know the label, but I'll check anything from 1987-96 with a Cook County address, especially four for a dollar, so I scooped them up. Here are two tracks from one of them, Mixx Vibes' "Session #3" 12" (1995).
Mixx Vibes "Here Comes The Sound"
Mixx Vibes "Dance (So Get Up)"
Mixx Vibes was George Andros (aka Georgie Porgie), who was affiliated with Maurice Joshua and Terry Hunter. He also released an EP with Derrick Carter on KMS back in 1989 that I'd really like to hear.
I got a package of records I was waiting for yesterday and they arrived thoroughly soaked, like someone had just fished them out of False Creek. It wasn't even raining so I don't know what happened. Anyway, while they're drying, waiting to be ripped, here are some semi-random, recent rips..
Etienne de Crécy "Scratched" (Radio Edit) 2001
Etienne de Crécy has been releasing records for over a decade, helping to shape what would later be known as the French Touch sound. This is a smooth downtempo-ish single from his Tempovision album, which I picked up at the last record sale.
Alex Gopher "The Child" (Wuz Mix) (2000)
Alex Gopher has a similar history, having gone to school and played in a band with Etienne De Crécy in the early 90s. The two also started the Disques Solid label together. This is a Gopher/Demon remix from AG's You, My Baby & I album. A lengthy track, but it's worth the wait as some cool drums drop around the 6:00 mark and proceed to open up. Another record sale find.
Mickey Oliver "In-Ten-Si-T" (1988)
I picked this one up in Chicago, on a deadstock copy of the Hot Mix 5 '88 compilation. As far as I know, 1988 was the only year that got its own comp, as Hot Mix 5 output ceased after that year. Mickey Oliver was one of the original Hot Mix 5 DJs on Chicago's WBMX in the 80s and this is his best known single. Love the lo-fi Speak & Spell vox.
I never read the graphic novel, but the screen version of Persepolis is a nice mix of light-hearted and somber reflections on growing up in 1980s Iran. I thought the simple animation would get dull but it worked quite well, though the style often varied from scene to scene. Forthcoming English language version to feature Iggy Pop, heh.
Posted by King Polo at Monday, January 14, 2008
I was cleaning up one of my harddrives the other day and found some things I'd misplaced..
2nd II None "Be True To Yourself" (Extended Remix) (1991)
I first heard this track around 1991 on the H-Street skate vid Next. In the late 90s I found out it was from their debut on Profile, produced entirely by DJ Quik, and a while later I finally found the single in a pipe/pager/rap shop on East Lake in Minneapolis. 16+ years later this track still stands up for me. Yeah, the guitar solo could be dropped, but this mix is more satisfying than the 2:45 album version.
Side F-X "Rock The House" (Club Rap Mix) (1990)
I'm a sucker for hip-house. Like I'll pretty much buy any hip-house 12" and at least consider spinning it at some point. I picked this one up blindly at Jive Time in Seattle and both sides are cool. Jimmy Bo Horne's "Spank" wins every time.
Jazzi & Neat "Ouch Me Baby" (1990)
Got this one at Jive Time too, maybe on the same visit. Produced by DJ Man who did some work for Luke's Skyywalker Records in the 80s. Nice random Miami Bass 12".
Went to see Ladyhawk at the Astoria last night. The listings said first band at 10; we arrived around 10:45 to a huge line, the door person saying the room was overfilled, and Ladyhawk already playing. Oops! I guess I'll have to wait for the April show with Black Mountain..
Anyway, the dudes at the Fader were kind enough to toss up a track from Ladyhawk's upcoming album, Shots. You can grab it here and check the blurb here. The Fight For Anarchy 12" from last summer didn't make too much of an impression on me, but this song has me amped for the new album.
I got up early to get some things done and listened to three of my favorite early morning, watch-the-sun-rise songs:
Popol Vuh "King Minos" (1974)
All of Einsjager & Siebenjager has this beautiful, peaceful quality, but this song stands out.
Michael Rother "KM 05" (1979)
Formerly of Kraftwerk, Neu!, and Harmonia, Michael Rother's solo albums of the late 70s/early 80s are also very much worth checking for. Katzenmusik has a dawn/sunny day feeling throughout (check the cover).
Big Star "Watch The Sunrise" (1972)
The music evokes it and the lyrics address it literally – perfect song for watching the sun come up.
Newly imposed Zshare wait time = wackness. If anyone has suggestions for an easy, reliable file host, get at me.
Lisa Mack "Kickone" (Dukeyman Remix) (1999)
Internet find from a little while ago. I think it was a couple dollars.. it probably flew under the radars of everyone looking for Baltimore Club (or is it just passé now?) since the listing didn't mention Bmore, Dukeyman, etc. This is from 1999 on Iceland Records, which is still semi-active in Baltimore. Lisa Mack now fronts a funk band called The Octonauts.
Circle Children "Zulu" (1994)
Some classic AVH here. According to Baltimore Club lore, this was always a big track in that scene. Seems kind of 'tribal', but I'm not going to argue with it. Apologies for the crackles.
Robbie Rivera "Feel This" (Rivera's Tribal Sessions Mix) (2001)
More Strictly Rhythm and more 'tribal' (hahaha...ugh). No, wait, hear me out. Corny as it may be, this shit bangs hard.
Posted by King Polo at Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Two of my favorite Mike Dunn remixes, one old and one new(ish).
Julian "Jumpin'" Perez "Relight My Fire" (Mike Dunn's Mixx) (1989)
Mina Jackson "Feels So Good" (Mike Dunn Spoken Word Dub) (2007)
Posted by King Polo at Monday, January 07, 2008
The homie Neoteric did a Mixin' It Up for Discobelle and he used one of my tracks to kick it off. The track is still unfinished (I scrambled to get him a presentable mix in time) but I'll toss it up here when it's done.
I know he sweated over it a lot but I think dude did a great job with this mix, keeping it fresh and repping hard for Vancouver throughout.
DJ Neoteric - Mixin It Up
Vancouver takeover 08.
Posted by King Polo at Saturday, January 05, 2008
Having hosted radio shows and written for various magazines, I'm used to running down my favorite records/shows/etc. every December. But for the first time in years I haven't submitted a list or had the opportunity to otherwise profile my picks, so I'm going to do it now.
Occasionally I hear too many appealing things about an unknown band or album to ignore. This scenario usually leaves me thinking "what is everyone else hearing here that I'm not?" but The National actually met and exceeded my expectations with Boxer. This somber and beautifully restrained album instantly reminded me of the mood created when I first heard Red House Painters way back. Without really sounding anything like RHP, that is.
Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
I keep thinking they must have peaked by now, but this album is easily as good as the three that preceded it.. maybe even better.
hollAnd The Paris Hilton Mujahideen and Love Fluxus
Two albums of clinically perfect guitar pop in one year (with another coming in spring apparently) and I don't recall seeing a single review, ad or mention of hollAnd anywhere online or in print. It kind of blows one's mind.
Scout Niblett This Fool Can Die Now
Admittedly, this one didn't really come together for me until I saw her play at the Media Club. I listen to and enjoy a lot of 'difficult' music, but this is a whole other kind of difficult, operating entirely within the realm of traditional rock music, but still needing a certain amount of attention and investment or else it just seems too obtuse. Regardless, everything clicked when the more rocking elements came to the forefront at the show, and I've spent a lot of time listening to this album since.
LCD Soundsystem Sound Of Silver
I found the first LCD album to be a huge letdown, especially after being blown away by one of their first live shows outside of NYC. But after the excellent 45:33 piece for Nike, I had a feeling SOS would be something different. It was, and the more organic approach to combining traditional rock/pop with dancefloor elements has me confident SOS will avoid sounding like the 00's version of Screamadelica 10 years from now.
all Death From Above/Abroad 12"s, October - December
Much as the broader approach of SOS was a pleasant surprise, in late summer the DFA blindsided us by pumping out an impressive run of 12"s by Holy Ghost, Mock & Toof, Altz, Bot'ox, Gucci Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair, Still Going, and others in the span of a couple months. Seriously, at one point they released three in a day and more the following week. Every time I thought it was over, another one would trickle out, mostly artists I'd barely heard of. For all I know, there could be another half-dozen planned before March.
Dinosaur Jr. Beyond
Even though I didn't spend that much time listening to it (partly due to the horrible mastering, and the decision to relegate the last third of the album to a bonus 7" that manages to sound even worse than the Lp), this is among their best albums as far as I'm concerned.
Arcade Fire Neon Bible
What caused everyone to gush over the questionable Funeral, I heard in Neon Bible. Musically and conceptually, this had enough depth to keep me listening throughout the year.
Freeway Free At Last
Devin The Dude Waiting To Inhale
Truthfully, I listened to the Clipse' Hell Hath No Fury a lot more than either of these in 07, but when I listened to new rap albums (as opposed to individual tracks), these were the ones.
Bruce Springsteen Magic
Dude has always had bumpy moments, and Magic doesn't escape this. But it's a solid album from the Boss if you can get past the frustrating (over-) production.
Sex Vid Tania EP
I get down with modern punk/hardcore about as frequently as modern jazz or bluegrass, but I do manage to stumble onto one band every year or so that reminds me of why I was so into that stuff 10-15 years ago. In 2007 it was Sex Vid. Managing to evoke the bleak, pain-riddled atmosphere of the best Black Flag stuff, the bad vibes just seep from this EP. Live, they're a cloud of pummeling destruction floating around the room.
all the No Age EPs
No Age rival Daft Punk for the best show I've seen in the last five years. After seeing them, I didn't just want more, I wanted to join the band. Recorded, it's just not the same, but they do manage to capture a lot of what makes their shows so great: equal parts complete chaos + noise and soft, dreamy melodies. Hopefully their upcoming album for Sub-Pop will be more in line with the live show.
The Psychic Paramount Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural Lp
Technically this was released in 2005, but the vinyl version took an extra two years. This was a total shot in the dark for me, a completely blind purchase at Scratch based on two things: I recalled that No Quarter had released something by Earth; the band name and cover art combined to invoke a most excellent vibe involving feedback, transcendent noise and interplanetary sonics. I was right, more or less; Gamelan is some heavy, heavy psych shit that is light-years from the mental picture "heavy psych shit" just gave you. Very modern, but faithful to the spirit of what Ash Ra Tempel and others were cranking out in the early 70s. And very much in the red.
Next time I'll run through my list of the records I actually spent the most time listening to.
Back to the tracks..
As LNR, Rick Lenoir and Larry Thompson are responsible for the dance classic "Work It To The Bone". Later on, they linked with Gary Wallace and released a handful of EPs as Black Ice Productions, Chicago Trackwerk, Four On The Floor, and a few other aliases.
Here's the first side of their Playtime Kids EP on Night Club Records.
Men On Drums
I Need A Track (How Dare U Mix)
Men On Drums flips the Dominatrix sample later used by Kevin Fisher for "Women Beat Their Men"; I Need A Track is a raw, almost ghetto-style house track. Enjoy..
Posted by King Polo at Thursday, January 03, 2008