Feature: 10 Records (2001)

Originally published in The Montclarion April 26, 2001 01. Slint – “Spiderland” (Touch and Go Records, 1991) The Rosetta Stone of post-rock, Slint’s “Spiderland” depends on the careful and subtle use of silence as much as it does on emotive, textural guitars and shape-shifting time signatures.  The dark side of the moon compared to the…

Underappreciated Album: Rapeman

Underappreciated Album: Rapeman – Two Nuns and A Pack Mule Conventional wisdom seems to be that the only phoenix born of the ashes of Scratch Acid was The Jesus Lizard and the musical career of Steve Albini progressed, uninterrupted, from the closing refrains of Big Black’s bombastic Songs About Fucking right to the rumble and…

Underappreciated Album: Pell Mell

Underappreciated Album: Pell Mell – Interstate There are some records that just are made to be played out of car speakers. Call them road songs. Call them travel soundtracks. Call them odes to interstates. They just sound right when spilling out from the cracked windows of a car cruising 65 mph down some nameless stretch…

Underappreciated Album: Vexed

Underappreciated Album: Vexed – The Good Fight Vexed’s The Good Fight is, simply put, a bizarre and riveting little musical document. Released by Seattle indie C/Z as the 1980s bled into the 1990s, the record — the band’s only full-length offering? — is essentially without genre or much in the way of context, sounding both…

Underappreciated Album: Turtletoes

Underappreciated Album: Turtletoes – Jackersville The mysterious and mysteriously overlooked Jackersville , the only recorded offering from the Chicago-area indie jazz-rock outfit Turtletoes, would be called many things if people could actually find or hear it. At first glance, it’s a quirky and good-humored slap in the face to Chicago’s indie elite. In addition to…

Underappreciated Album: Steven Jesse Bernstein

Underappreciated Album: Steven Jesse Bernstein – Prison “The poem I write is a colorful affair within the body of a man playing dead – a man whose fingers secretly twitch just enough to work the typewriter, who, when it is dark enough, will hitchhike from the scene of his death.” – Steven Jesse Bernstein, 1991…

Underappreciated Album: Milk Cult

Underappreciated Album: Milk Cult – Burn or Bury The early 1990s seemed to be a tough time for Boner Records, a somewhat small, Berkeley-based indie label dealing in punk and that sludgy hybrid of punk and metal many would come to dub grunge. Unlike Sub Pop or Amphetamine Reptile or Touch and Go, though, the…

Underappreciated Album: Latimer

Underappreciated Album: Latimer – LP Title With apologies to both greasy cheesesteaks and the cheesiness of the Dead Milkmen, I’ve got to be honest: whenever I think of Philadelphia, I inevitably begin to think of Latimer. In the most basic sense, the band – a quartet from the City of Brotherly Love that recorded an…

Underappreciated Album: Scratch Acid

Underappreciated Album: Scratch Acid – The Greatest Gift More people have probably seen Scratch Acid cited as an influence in interviews than have actually heard the band. This is a truth probably known all too well by Touch and Go Records guru Corey Rusk, who released a compendium of the Austin, Texas outfit’s complete works…

Underappreciated Album: Basto

Underappreciated Album: Bastro – Diablo Guapo There is a brief pause – not long enough to even hide a breath – before David Grubbs plainly states, “I don’t know who to blame for car alarms,” and his voice becomes engulfed in a repeating pattern of jagged electric guitars and tight but explosive drumming. The moment…