Saturday, September 25, 2010
Although it wasn't the only label they would call home, Das Damen was, in many ways, the quintessential SST band. Triskaidekaphobe (fear of the number 13), their third recording for the label, is all about the guitar, and the guitar playing throughout is quite good (Wayne Kramer from MC5 assists with what the credits describe as "riff rock"). Unlike Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth, however, Das Damen never quite ventured into the realm of pure noise. Their approach was more like that of the Screaming Trees or even the Meat Puppets (i.e., neo-psychedelic guitar rock with a garage chaser). But the New York-based quartet lacked the very ingredient that would help the Trees go on to even greater success in the '90s: a vocalist with the range and presence of a Mark Lanegan. Urgent but undistinguished vocals prevent Triskaidekaphobe from having the impact that it should (arguably, Dinosaur Jr.'s love of excessive volume helped to disguise a similar shortcoming during their SST years). The Marshmellow Conspiracy EP, released the same year, included album tracks "Bug" (possibly as much a tribute to Mascis and company as "fIREJOKE" was to fIREHOSE) and an alternate version of "555," along with non-LP tracks "Sky Yen" and "Song for Michael Jackson to $ell" (i.e., "Magical Mystery Tour" in disguise). When representatives for Jackson, owner of the Beatles' catalog, found out about the deception, SST was forced to withdraw the EP. It was later reissued as a three-track recording.
Das Damen - Triskaidekaphobe - CD on SST Records
The Blue Humans is the name used by experimental guitarist Rudolph Grey for the improvised performances he leads with a variety of other musicians. Grey first came to notice in the late-1970s New York post punk and art scene which also produced Sonic Youth and Swans, and played in the influential no wave band Mars. Since then, he has released solo material as well as several Blue Humans records, the latter mostly live recordings. Blue Humans members and collaborators have included Arthur Doyle, Beaver Harris, Alan Licht, Charles Gayle and Thurston Moore.
The Blue Humans Featuring Rudolph Grey - Clear To Higher Time - CD o New Alliance Records
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The inclusion of a second guitarist and a desire to stretch out stylistically combine to trip up the Pedaljets on their sophomore outing. The songs, which employ slower rhythms, acoustic instruments and open space, lack distinction; where the group's first record Today Today recalled the Replacements' snottier stuff, Pedaljets sounds just like the Mats' more quiet work, but without Paul Westerberg's lyrical acumen and passion.
The Pedaljets - ST - Cassette tape on Communion Records
Indie punk-popsters Bo Bud Greene were formed in Austin, Texas in 1992 as Paint; guitarist/vocalist Anderson Bracht and guitarist Sean Mullens met through a classified ad, and quickly added drummer Tim Dittmar. The group self-released a number of cassettes with several different bassists before legal action forced their name change in 1993. Marcara Fort became the full-time bassist shortly thereafter, and Bo Bud Greene began recording singles and compilation tracks to supplement their cassette-only work. After two singles on the Last Beat label, the group recorded its debut album, Whatever, in 1995 for Backyard Records. Several more compilation appearances preceded the band's full-length follow-up, The Same But Different, which appeared on Super Cottonmouth in 1997.
Bo Bud Greene - Las Olas - Indie CD on 4 Alarm Records
Salem 66 was an indie group formed in 1982 by Judy Grunwald, Elisabeth Kaplan and Susan Merriam. At the time a serious all female rock band was somewhat unusual. Through the eighties, the band added and subtracted members, including Robert Wilson, Stephen Smith, Tim Condon, and Jim Vincent. The band lasted until 1989 and was an important part of the Boston alternative indie music scene during the 1980s. They recorded and released records on Homestead Records, a label founded by Gerard Cosloy. Their music was described as folk punk, but they could be called jangle pop and a loose association can be made with the Paisley Underground and groups such as R.E.M..
Salem 66 - Frequency And Urgency - Vinyl album on Homestead Records 1987
Sacrifice... continues Greg Sage's transformation from a moderately hard-edged rocker to a pop crooner -- the album's compositions are entirely pop/rock, with an entirely friendly rustic/western shuffle to them. As with Sage's solo debut, however, the surprise is that this sound is smooth and pleasant, rather than sappy or watered-down -- these are the sorts of songs that probably could have conquered pop radio in the eighties, and Sage tosses them out unassumingly enough (and with enough slight modernities -- "Know by Now") that Sacrifice... seems less like a bad adult-contemporary album and more like a sweet pop runthrough.
Greg Sage Of The Wipers - Sacrifice For Love - Cassette tape on Restless Records