Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thrice Times a Lady

The Driftwood Singers' blog made a thought-provoking statement the other day: what if, ten years or so from now, a subculture of record collectors arises to celebrate the lesser-known bands of the 1990's that have largely been forgotten today? I have a feeling that I will be one of those nattering nabobs of Ninety-ism, going on and on about bands like Hypnolovewheel, Christmas, and the 3D's, who made off-kilter, brainy pop with squalling guitars. The nattering is already underway among graying music bloggers who carry a torch for Big Dipper, the Drop Nineteens, (insert name of your favorite Homestead band here) etc.

And why not? These bands were overshadowed in their day by Sonic Youth, the Meat Puppets, Pavement, the Pixies, and Dinosaur Jr., but were arguably their equals in terms of creativity and quality, if not influence and airplay. If Our Band Could Be Your Life is the official history of alt-rock in the 90's, then there is an alternate history that remains to be written, but is kept alive in the minds (and on the blogs and iPods) of aging record nerds like yours truly.

The thought that I might be missing some brilliant but unappreciated musician somewhere is what keeps me digging through the record crates, reading and rereading the music guides, and surfing the internet, perpetually adding to a collection of music that I can't keep up with anymore, but that will never be complete. When I hear that one song that lights up the aural pleasure center in my brain, another trigger is sent to the part of the brain that governs obsessive collecting and fact-finding, the desire to know about and possess all the recordings and associated trivial minutiae about that musician. Lately I've been fighting the irrational desire to wire large sums of money to an Australian mail order firm so that I can own the rare self-released debut of the band Tiger by the Tail (and its 2006 follow-up). Their song "Get Set to Go" appears on the Monsters of Australian Rock comp that I wrote about last month. Their singer/guitarist, David Thomas, is a former member of the bands Bored! and Magic Dirt. "Get Set to Go" reminds me of bands like the Clean and Bailter Space. (David Kilgour's new solo record is out now, by the way!) The other song I'm posting here today is one of those lost gems from the 90's. And both songs use the word "thrice".

Tiger by the Tail: Get Set to Go
3D's: Outer Space


At 1/25/2007 12:52 PM , Blogger Bill said...

The Drop Nineteens...I'd all but forgotten about them. I'll have to pull out the two albums of their's that I own and do some much overdue reevaluation. Maybe a future posting on Ditching Boy.

On another note: have you heard the new David Kilgour record? Thoughts?

At 1/25/2007 5:40 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

I was thinking about the Poor Ditching Boy and a few other blogs when I wrote this. I haven't heard the David Kilgour album yet, but the review on AllMusic is very positive.

At 1/25/2007 7:49 PM , Blogger Happy In Bag said...

Oh, how I adored Christmas.

At 1/25/2007 9:39 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Your blog is another one I was thinking of. I saw Christmas twice, once opening for the Meat Puppets. Didn't care much for Combustible Edison; how about you?

At 1/26/2007 1:23 PM , Anonymous Paula said...

New David Kilgour album is nice, just hoid it. Includeing one really weepy song I can't get outta my haid.

At 1/30/2007 2:32 PM , Anonymous sean said...

Between the time they released Heavens and Craps, Big Dipper was one of the best live bands in the world. I was fortunate to see them many times, including at least one show where Michael Cudahy from Christmas filled in for Gary Waleik. I wish someone would reissue the Big Dipper and Volcano Suns stuff from that era.

At 1/30/2007 3:08 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

That Michael Cudahy is a Renaissance man. Did you know he was a contestant on Jeopardy? There has been some discussion on the Yahoo group for the Embarrassment (where Embos/Big Dipper guitarist Bill Goffrier chats) about Big Dipper reissues. The Volcano Suns still get a lot of love on various blogs.

At 2/07/2007 12:50 AM , Anonymous Peecat said...

Speaking of The Clean, Bailter Space, etc: you should check out this blog, if you haven't already ( TONS of great New Zealand rarities...By the way, I've never heard of Tiger By The Tail. Have any more you can post?

At 2/08/2007 12:24 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

No, that's just the problem: I don't have any more Tiger by the Tail b/c their records are self-released in small quantities in Australia, and are expensive to buy over here. But you can hear more of their songs on their myspace (linked in my post). Thanx for recommending KiwiTapes!!


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