Tuesday, April 27, 2004

 
I was going to talk about a great overlooked band from the eighties today, but I'm postponing that until tomorrow.

Having decided that the 60's band Fifty Foot Hose weren't obscure enough, Kristin Hersh (ex-Throwing Muses) is back muddying the waters with a new band called 50 Foot Wave who just released a self-titled CD EP. It's basically Kristin and the boys turning the volume up to 11 and letting it rip. Hmmmm, I don't know if there's really anything else to say. I guess that the odds are good that if you're a fan of the louder side of the Throwing Muses, you'll like it least some of this. Fans of Kristin's acoustic albums may want to stay away. From the 50 Foot Wave EP, here's the first track which is called Bug.

While I like the EP, I do tend to like Kristin's work better when it has more dynamics to it: my favorite Hersh songs are the ones where she's singing nicely and then, Boom! starts ranting like a sheep being stabbed to death. I also like to be able to hear the lyrics a little bit more clearly, as lately she's been writing some pretty funny/bitter lines (I'm thinking especially of some of the songs from Sunny Border Blue). Luckily, the Throwing Music website has the lyrics. It also lets you purchase the EP as a CD or as a download, which is nice.

To help avoid confusion, here's one of the longer tracks by Fifty Foot Hose: Fantasy. At times this reminds me of Jessamine (electronics + guitar, bass, drums, female vocals + droney noodley tendencies), at other times of standard-issue boring sixties guitar solo music, but I think the good parts are are worth sitting through the bad parts. More on Fifty Foot Hose here.

Having decided that Das Damen weren't obscure enough, Kristin Hersh (ex-Throwing Muses) decided to muddy the waters by calling the first song on 50 Foot Wave's EP Bug. Das Damen had released a pretty good song by that name on their third album, and also as the first track on one of their EP's way back in 1988. I'm open to correction, but as far as I know the EP in question (Marshmellow Conspiracy) is the only Das Damen release worth buying by the casual fan of mid-eighties indie guitar rock (especially Dinosaur Jr.). If you have a turntable, you'll definitely want to get the 12" version which comes on stunning bubble-gum pink vinyl and, more importantly, includes a pretty neat cover of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, listed on the album as Song for Michael Jackson to $ell which I'm thinking is at least partly a reference to the old Minutemen song Political Song for Michael Jackson To Sing. It's also referring to the fact that Michael Jackson had recently become the owner of the Beatles' catalog. Contrary to some reports, Das Damen did not give themselves credit for writing the song, but they didn't credit the Beatles either.

Michael Jackson apparently didn't find this amusing, and the song is missing from the CD version. On the other hand, the CD is one of those cute little three-inch things, a format that SST was really pushing back in a day. From the Marshmellow Conspiracy EP, here's the first track which is called Bug. People with good memories may recall that this EP came out not long after Dinosaur Jr. put out an album called Bug, and that Thurston Moore was quoted (I think in Spin) as saying that "bug" was in the air (and that Dinosaur Jr.'s album, which is going to get reissued shortly, was better than Sonic Youth's new album -- I think that Thurston was absolutely right).

Sorry about not posting the Beatles cover, but my turntable hasn't been playing at 45 RPM lately. Hopefully I'll have it fixed by next week.

It's tempting to wrap things up with Bug Day by The Fall, but I'm guessing that most of you already own The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, so I won't.



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