Queer Music Reviews from QZE #17
These are CD and tape reviews that appeared in Queer
Zine Explosion #17, published in August, 1999. All
reviews by Larry-bob.
Remember, buy your books and CDs from local independent stores,
not evil corporate chains or on-line mega-stores (the discount
is equal to the postage at Amazon.com--so go to your local
bookstore--you might actually meet someone.) Local stores can do
special orders and get your books for you in days. Also request
your local public library purchase books and CDs you like.
For ease of use, I have put all the new reviews in this file.
For older reviews, see Queer Music Explosion
and Music reviews from QZE 16.
Arthur Loves Plastic: Klondyke 5 CD.
Another full-length release from ALP, which is electronics whiz Bev S. and diva Lisa Moscatiello. The dance music’s bliss is balanced by the introspective vocals. "Our Diva" is about a singer who is secretly a lesbian - "after a tour of singing it straight/you would rush to the arms of your girl - the folksinger." "The New South" has a dub feel to it. Lyrics and MP3 versions can be accessed with a CD-ROM drive.
Behead the prophet n.l.s.l "Making craters where buildings
So far as I am concerned, Behead the Prophet are the
only relevant hardcore band making music today. (I guess that
means I'm an old out of touch fogey.) Seven songs of hi-tempo
punk rock. Songs are "Have you heard the music," "There is a
bomb in Gilead," "Making Craters Where Buildings Stood,"
"Transdimensional soldier," "Fire of Command, "253-425" (about
being displaced by Seattle yuppies), and "The sick and the
quaint." Lyrics are not so directly about queer topics as some
of their other releases, though there is a note, "this is a
queer band, homophobes go fuck yourselves." Lyric sheet folds
out into a poster. (Sound Pollution, PO Box 17742, Covington, NY
Behead the prophet n.l.s.l/Thrones split 7".
Both band play a
Blue Oyster Cult song (the Thrones (a one man band with
multi-necked bass and drum machines) do Black Blade, and it's
actually kind of pretty, while BtP does "Hot Rails to Hell".
Then BtP plays two originals, Strange Electricity and I've got
the time (lyrics out of context: "you're the boy worth waiting
for.") Strange Electricity is actually kind of slow, but "I've
got the time" is the hyperspeed assault we're used to from BtP.
(Voice of the Sky, no address.)
Garrin Benfield: Demo for Telluride CD.
singer-songwriter with a mix of acoustic guitar songs, some with
full band, and some guitar with piano. The melodies and harmony
vocals send chills. There's 11 songs on this well-recorded
demo. "I Let You Go" is especially amazing, a rapidly picked
song that shows off the kind of instrumental prowess that's rare
these days. There are a lot of second-person lyrics (a case
favored by many songwriters for its gender ambiguity), though
when I saw him perfom live there was a more overtly queer song
he did. (Garrin Benfield, 3447 18th St #2, San Francisco CA
94110 email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Bootlickers: Universal Nancy CD.
The Bootlickers are three guys
who got their start playing at a leather bar, and they've played
plenty of pride festivals. The CD has four studio tracks, and
three demo tracks, including a cover of "These Boots Are Made
For Walkin'" which they change to "lickin," naturally. "Sure Of
You" includes chants of "Nancy Boy - Nancy Drew." "Stephen" is
a memory song about a dead friend. web:
(Mild Mannered Management, 333
South Camac St., Philadelphia, PA 19107)
Chin Ho: "Everything you know is wrong" CD.
Chin Ho is a melodic
rock band that isn't afraid to tackle queer subject matter. "(I
wish I was a) girl" plays around with gender over a percolating
musical backing. "Song for a dead friend" is about a friend who
died of AIDS. "Closet Case" is about tough guys who need to come
out. I guess I've mostly touched on the queer-content songs, but
it's all good.
(Good Citizen Records, PO Box
5373, Burlington, Vermont 05402)
Dirtbox: self-titled CD.
Antonia's the singer, Jesse plays bass,
Di's the Drummer, and Churchill plays what sounds like a guitar
but looks like a three-stringed bass - guess that's why they
call it a "guitaresque thing." The music's mid-tempo rock, with
a punk edge yet also a twang to it. A theme that runs through
the CD is relationships with a fucked-up girl, as exemplified by
the song title "Spooning with a strung out lover." Or check
these lyrics from "Degredation of Independence": "I never
thought I'd ever fuck a girl like you, but I do." (Dog Patch
Records, PO Box 882944, SF CA 94188-2944.
Dirty Barby self-titled tape.
A preview of their forthcoming
CD, "Coffee, Tea, Sodapop, Pee". Dirty Barby is four queers, two
boys, two girls, from Orlando. The lead singer, Puce Glitz,
performs in scary drag. The music is loud and punky, and Puce's
voice isn't any prettier than her face. Definitely not easy
listening. (email: email@example.com
web: www.dirtybarby.com )
This band from Lincoln, Nebraska has since broken
up (as has bassist Abe's next band Fashion Sense.) But
fortunately there is this document of the two-member band,
compsed of a drummer and a bassist. The songs are Sex for
Warmth, Asskickatron, Billy the Kid (dedicated to Brandon
Teena), Punk You, Planet Fag, and a cover of the B52s' Luv Shak
(at least that's how these guys spell it.) Fortunately there's a
lyric sheet so you can understand the ground glass vocals as you
groove to the rhythm-heavy tracks. (Mo-tel, PO Box 94815,
Lincoln, NE 68509. Also distroed by Heartcore.)
Fighter D./Mates of State split 7".
Fighter D's song is called
"Storm." The band has two vocalists, the guitars non-distorted
on this song at least, the chorus shifting into 6/8. All three
women in Fighter D. are also in The Little Deaths, and both F.D.
and T.L.D. will have records out on Heartcore. Mates of State
has the unusual configuration of drums and organ, with both
members singing. Their song "Leave Me at the Tree" is quite
catchy, with intricate drumming. (Omnibus Records, PO Box 4522,
Davis CA 95617. web:
The Haggard: "I've been sick" 7".
Four songs of fast punk by
this two-woman band. The songs are "For Matthew Shepard"; "Word
for the buyer," which is about sex work; "Country song," which
isn't country and western, it's about living in the homophobic
U.S.A.; "TV & pacification" is about the stultifying effects of
television viewing. A lyric sheet is thankfully included. This
is the first release on the new queer punk label Heartcore,
which is planning on putting out a bunch of great records in the
near future - see their website. (Heartcore Records, Columbia
University Station, PO Box 25636, NY NY 10025. web:
Nomy Lamm: Anthem CD.
Nomy Lamm, who's known for her writing,
created this CD of songs and spoken word pieces. There are even
a few tracks from when she was a kid. As with Nomy's writing,
there is a lot of personal and political content. She's got a
very good singing voice as well. Here's stuff about some of the
stuff on the CD. The album stats out with a song she wrote at
age 10, with guitar by her father, about a guy she was into.
"You don't get to decide what you are" is a spoken word piece
about gender determinism and roles. "Lady in Waiting," another
unrequieted love song, has bass and drum accompaniment, like
several of the other songs, which lends a dark tone to the
music. "The writing's on the wall" is a chant about politics
getting reduced to slogans. "Your body is perfect" is about the
absurdity of societal messages. "Here is an exercise to assist
you" suggests doing male drag. The folowing song "Everything is
sex" says to "put on your dick and stick it to the man."
"Baruncha" is a song that reclaims religion from the right wing.
(Talent Show Records, PMB 295, 120 State Ave NE, Olympia, WA
Lost Girls 7".
Lost Girls is Patrick, formerly of Kitchens of
Distinction and Fruit, and Heidi Berry, former 4AD recording
artist. It doesn't say so on the sleeve, though, so maybe they
don't want to coast on their reputations. "Needle's Eye" is
characterized by snakey delay guitar, slow single drum beats,
and Heidi's resonant singing; the backing builds towards the end
with strings and breathy sounds. "A Reason To Live" has layers
of electric and acoustic guitars, with jangling percussion.
Patrick sings on this one (with backing vocals from Heidi),
starting in the second person - "you don't bother to kill
yourself." But by the other verses it switches to "we don't
bother," then "she don't bother." (Bad Parents Records, distro
Dina Martina 7".
A picture disc, with pix of Dina in scary drag
on both sides. Dina celebrates various holidays in song. "My
Country Valentine" is a song about being alone on that day ("No
swinging your partner/ no di-si-do.") On the President's Day
tune, Dina can't quite come up with enough names of Presidents.
For some reason the St. Patrick's day song seems to confuse the
saint with Paul Bunyan. A fun little record. An Xmas single is
also available. (Up Records, POB 21328, Seattle WA 98111-3328.)
"Matriarchs of the Midwest" compilation CD.
Proving that there
is life in the heartland of the U.S. is this 11-band
compilation. The bands are Three Dollar Bill from Chicago with
"Girl-O-Matic"; Chuck Marten from Indianapolis with "In The
Hole"; Idgie from St. Louis with "Cat"; Ann's Elixir from
Fayetteville, AR with "Skin"; Dollhouse from Chicago with "Big
Pants"; Stella from Detroit with "Crazee"; Lipkandy from
Lexington, KY with "Black Stockings"; Fair Verona from Franklin,
TN with "Blend In With Mary T."; Sailor Harlette from Madison,
WI with "Arms"; The Glitter Kicks from Lawrence, KS with
"Sunshine"; Pop Roxy from Murfreesboro, TN with "Day Break".
ppd cash or check payable to CJ Etzkorn to: Elegant Discourse,
po box 15054, St. Louis, MO 63110)
The Offs: California Skapunk Pioneers CD.
While it's not
impossible to find San Francisco band The Offs' sole LP, their
singles are rather expensive collector's items. It's nice to
have 8 songs from singles and compilations collected on this CD
for a reasonable price. (Though where is "You Fascinate Me", the
flipside of "My World"?) The lead singer of The Offs was Don
Vinil - for more info, see Joe Westmoreland's piece in Holy
Titclamps #14 or places like the reprint of Search and Destroy
zine. This stuff has a lot more energy than the mild-mannered
stuff passing for ska-punk these days. (Lost & Found, Bunteweg
1, 30900 Wedemark, Germany)
Pantychrist: self-titled CD.
A collaboration between Bob
Ostertag, Otomo Toshihide, and Justin Bond. Justin's well known
for her lounge act as one half of Kiki and Herb. This is noisy
and experimental, with a variety of sound sample sources
(dixieland band, crying babies, accordian music, and sounds so
warped who knows their origin) weaving in and out, with Justin
free-associating on top, with frequently hilarious results.
Justin's references (like to old dirty blues song "Shave Em
Dry") are like a form of sampling. I think it works a lot better
than the CD by Ostertag and various people (including Bond and
Lynn Breedlove), "Fear No Love."
Paxton: self-titled CD.
I love power pop (examples: Big Star,
Cheap Trick, Posies). But for some reason (with the exception
of Tommy Keene) power pop is always about men singing about
girls, girls, girls. Well, finally here is Paxton to reclaim
power pop for the guys. "Which way do you go?" has it both
ways, with a song about someone who likes girls and boys. "John
& Joe" is a cautionary tale for the age of AIDS. (Nemperor
Peyote Circus: self-titled CD.
Guitar riff lines distort and
twist around rhythm, vocals melodic and husky. Three women and
a male drummer. Some of the songs: "Ruth and Naomi" (named
after those biblical sapphists) is a tale of two girls escaping
from a stifling small town. That theme of escape also runs
through songs like "Triway Bus" and "Queen Nicotina." They're
based in the Washington, DC area. (
Gretchen Phillips, "Songs to Save Your Soul" CD.
former member of Two Nice Girls does covers by Conway Twitty,
Clifford Waldron, and Buck Owens, and also original songs such
as "I Can Hear the Angels Singing" and "Peace on Earth." The
originals address the religious right's cultural war against
homosexuality using a taste of their own medicine. Gretchen has
also been playing with Dusty Trails, a new project involving
ex-Breeders Josephine Wiggs and ex-Luscious Jackson Vivian
Trimble. (see website for further info.) web:
(Seasick Sailor Records, PO Box
6085, Austin TX 78762)
Pistol Pete & Popgun Paul: Fine Red Wine CD.
Two guys, one on
guitar and one on piano, both sing, in harmony even. Among the
tunes are "Never Be Straight," "Jesus Loves the Little Faeries,"
and "What if God was a homo." I saw 'em play live in San
Francisco, and they're a lot of fun. (PO Box 50805, New Orleans,
The Pre-Teens: "Pink Rock" cassette.
Very tight and accomplished
pop rock trio who write catchy tunes with good harmony vocals.
"Fashionably queer" is about those who just pose as gay. "Here"
is about an affair with another girl. "Simple" is about just
barely getting by economically. "Red Rover" seems to be a queer
recruitment song. Seven songs total. Lyric sheet included.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org (318 Market St Unit B, Santa Cruz, CA
Rage Against The Scene: 4 years of Club V.
A compilation of
British bands who have played at the London queer indie rock
venue Club V. The bands are Mouthfull, Nightnurse, Gertrue, Spy
'51, Fosca, Anglocanadien, Linus, Sourtooth, Sexton Ming +
Steady, Zero Balancer, and Baba Looey. There's a great variety
of sounds here, all of which are great. The bookley has photos
of the bands and first-person writing by band members and the
club's organizers. Plus there's a quicktime video on the CD.
(500 made, so order soon -- and probably ask via email first.)
(Club V Records, Box 7984, London, SE13, 7XR.) Web:
Rainbow Flava is a queer hip-hop crew. They have a CD out, and
also one of the members, Tori Fixx, has a solo CD out. Check out
their website at
www.rainbowflava.com for sound samples and
ordering information. See also
www.phatfamily.org for queer
hiphop email list. CDs available for US$10 mailorder from
Rainbow Flava, P.O. Box 885093, San Francisco, CA 94188-5093
U.S.A. Checks or money orders to "Judge Muscat" or "Larry M.
Sourtooth/Ariadne split 7".
First Sourtooth's two songs.
"Invisible Ink" about a woman whith a misunderstood mental
state. The other song has a long instrumental section. The band
had both a male and a female vocalist, and plays fast melodic
music. I think their sound is pretty original - no other bands
to compare come to mind. (to contact the band directly, send
email to email@example.com or write PO Box 3726, Glasgow
G41 2YJ Scotland.) Now for Ariadne: "The Pink Lady" is a quiet
song, tentative.Andrew from Sourtooth guest-drums, but the band
usually has two members, Amy and Rose. "Mapped Out" has one of
them singing, the other speaking over the top. Chica-Cohete is
also going to do a singles club, which will include another
Sourtooth single, and there is also a four track 7" available
with four girl bands including Ariadne which comes with a zine.
(BM Chica-Cohete, London WC1N 3XX, UK. £2 UK, £2.50 Europe, $5
ppd from the U.S.
Stop Homophobia 2: compilation 7".
Five bands on this
compilation. Decembrists contribute "Heterosexual Panic," a
brash stomper about homophobia. Mouthfull's "16" is about the
age of consent in England. Polish punk band Homomilitia's song
is "Homofobia" - sung in Polish, but there's an English
translation in the booklet. The Halflings' song is "Oi! Oi! We
Fuck Boys!" is a retort to skinheads who jumped the Halflings'
singer because they thought he was gay. Powersnatch, the only
band on the record with female vox, contributes "Head Job" - no
lyrics in the booklet, so I can't quite figure it out. ($3 PPD
cash/money order made out to Rick Magee to:Turkey Baster
Records, PO Box 222059 Dallas, Tx. 75222 email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Terre Thaemlitz: Love For Sale CD.
Starts with a sound collage
made from samples of a broadcast of the San Francisco gay pride
parade emphasising commercial product placement. The rest of the
CD is ambient, in a variety of modes, whispered layers of music,
whistles, clicks, filtered sounds, re-processed appropriated
sound. "Sloppy 42nds - post-Processed" is a heavily reprocessed
version of Thaemlitz' "house" record which served as a tribute
to the Times Square club where he used to DJ, a place now gone
due to gentrification. The track "One" uses the sounds of a male
voice spewing homophobic abuse. The liner notes explore gay
politics further, pointing especially to problems with
assimilationist politics. Web:
www.comatonse.com (Mille Plateaux)
Three Dollar Bill "getting to know you" CD.
"Girl-O-Matic," "Self-Loathing Queer," "Phallic Symbol," "Dud
Boy," "Must See T.V.," and "Retarded Drag Queen." Jane and
Christopher alternate lead vocals on these songs. While it's
all guitar-based, sometimes the guitars are loud, thrashy and
electric, sometimes acoustic, making for a nice variety,
accentuated by having two vocalists. email: email@example.com
($8 ppd, PO Box 13167 Chicago, IL 60613)
Tummy Shaking double 7" compilation.
Put together by Rudy of the
zine Scutter, the bands on this double 7" vinyl compilation are
Bis (with a demo version of Shopaholic), Ozma with "L.A.", Pansy
Division with a live version of "Vicious Beauty," and Scottish
band Sourtooth with "In A Haunted House." (edition of 1000.) ($7
ppd in the U.S., $8 elsewhere) (Scutter c/o Rudy, PO Box 3247,
Alhambra CA 91803)
Heartcore records will be putting out records by Fighter D., a
Sarah Dougher/Kaia split 7", Las Nalgas, The Little Deaths,
Highteen Boogie, Elle Touer, a Butchies/Tribe 8 split 7", Prima
Donnas, and Pete from Red Monkey, and a video called Cherrybomb.
They also distribute records from other labels.
Homocore Minneapolis will be putting out a compilation CD of
bands that have played at their shows. See
Johann's Face Records will be compiling a CD of queer bands. See
http://members.aol.com/johannface/catalog.html [web page
not currently working 12/1/99]
Momus: Stars Forever CD. This CD will include a song about
Steven Zeeland, who has written books about gays in the military.
Shout It Out Loud is a web-based Mp3 record label run by Mike
Wyeld of the lamentably defunct British queer band Mouthfull.
They have released mp3s by Nightnurse, a band which includes
Ellyott, formerly of Sister George. Web:
Not heard yet:
Greek Buck LP. Band with Don Pyle (ex Shadowy Men and Phonocomb)
and Andrew Zealley. (
Distributed by www.comatonse.com)
The Toilet Boys: Sinners and Saints CD. New York rockers fronted
by Miss Guy. (www.coldfrontrecords.com)