Friday, September 28, 2007

Papas Fritas - S/T (1995)

What was it with white 90's rock bands and Spanish names? In what was perhaps a movement of solidarity with New Jersey indie gods Yo La Tengo (I have her or It), this Boston band decided to name themselves after fried potatoes. Interesting choice. In fact, they share a similar boy/girl twee sensibility with the Welsh threesome from my previous post (see Young Marble Giants below). This is really an enjoyable, lesser-known mid 90's slice of indie pop. A few crunchy guitars here, some upbeat vibes there. It's not important and it's not life changing, but it's fun. Which is more than you can say for a lot of the bummed out, aimless, downer bands of their time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth (1980)

This right here is the debut and only album from a band that could have gone on to make many more brilliant records, but sadly they...didn't? Not sure why, but as it stands this is the only testament we have to the musical vision of these 3 youngsters from North Wales. The sound can be most easily summed up as minimal. Single track guitar, bass, drum machine (sometimes), and female vox. Singer Alison Statton sounds like a proto-PJ Harvey at times, although a bit softer. This is music built on quiet intensity. If they had been alive in the grunge era you could imagine some of these songs swimming in thick, crunchy guitars. Instrumental songs like "Wind in the Rigging" are another thing altogether. Beautiful, gentle, organ and drum machine driven slices of lounge cheese. The goofiness is a nice counterpoint to the more indie-pop oriented tunes. The album was apparently whipped off in a matter of days using almost entirely first takes and few overdubs in an effort to, as the band put it, keep the songs "alive". Well they still sound fresh, so they musta did somethin' right.