The Third Sex

The Third Sex were from Portland, Oregon. They were part of the queercore movement that took place in the mid 90s. A friend of mine at KDVS thought they sounded more old school Portland (specifically like Neo Boys if I remember correctly) than anything else at the time. They were a three piece with Trish and Peyton trading off vocals and guitar and bass with different drummers filling in. Their first seven inch release, Mombies, was an instant hit on my radio show. They weren't as polished or musically accomplished as some of their peers (Sleater-Kinney and Team Dresch come to mind) but the music was passionate regardless. Lyrically they tackled the usual riot grrrl topics but somehow the music was more interesting to my ears than some of those bands like Bratmobile, who I always thought were boring. The main draw for me was hearing songs that felt like they were about my life. Songs about girl/girl love were still a novelty to me and at the time I found them incredibly important. I thought I would focus on lesser available tracks today though I do recommend their full length albums, both available from Chainsaw Records still, I think. If not, there's always ebay! I would like to mention that I once went on a road trip to Portland to go on a date with a certain member of this band. It was ridiculous and awesome and sort of epitomized the indie aesthetic to me - you could be anyone and be in a band and you could be anyone and talk to a band or go on a date with someone from one of your favorite bands. It sounds absurd but somehow it was really powerful to be able to feel like you were that close to what was going on.

Special thanks to Blowin' Your Cover for ripping this 7" for me!

This track is from the Free To Fight compilation.
Monster Snack


My First Punk Show

As I've mentioned before, the first punk show I ever attended was Tiger Trap, Cupid Car Club, and Slant 6 in Sacramento, CA. It was the summer of 1993 (July, I think) and I was 17 years old. Prior to that show I had been into labels like Sub Pop and Rough Trade but I had never been to a club show. I didn't know I was entering a new world and a new way of life just by going to a club show. It was especially jarring since up to that point nearly every show I had attended was at an arena or amphitheater with 10,000 or more people. This was a small club with probably 150 people in attendance and that might be pushing it.

I roped some friends into going to the show. We made our way to the outskirts of downtown - a somewhat foreign land to suburban me. None of us knew what to expect since we hadn't heard of these other bands. I was pretty excited when Slant 6 took the stage and they were three girls. I was definitely a riot grrrl/feminist at heart even if I didn't know the terminology yet. They were so rad looking - totally cool with an air of hipness unknown to me in suburbia. I was practically intimidated just by looking at them. Then they started playing and the songs were fantastic... simple yet powerful and catchy but still punk. They were blowing my mind. When I started working at a record store the next year I flipped out when I saw their debut album Soda Pop * Rip Off in the bin and bought it and put it on right away. Instantly made fans out of my co-workers. I would later learn about Christina Billotte being in Autoclave and bought that stuff up to. She's had a rich history since then with Quix*O*Tic and the Casual Dots. However, for me, Slant 6 will always have my heart.
Time Expired

After Slant 6 played there was a short break (not like an arena show at all!) and Cupid Car Club took the stage. Almost instantly I thought their singer looked familiar. When Tiger Trap took the stage Rose Melberg said something about Ian Svenonious being Sassy Magazines Sassiest Boy In America a couple of years prior. A ha! I remembered him! Awesome! Maybe I was more cut out to go to punk shows than I had originally thought. Anyway, I had certainly never experienced anything like Cupid Car Club before in my life. Energy and madness and..... FUN! I felt like I was witnessing something spectacular. I remember thinking to myself that I didn't know a show could be so crazed with passion. I was getting off on the energy. I wanted to go to shows like this all the time. Where the bands might not be making millions but were doing it because they felt like they had to. I walked out of the club that night a convert. I did my research on Mr. Svenonious and learned about his storied history as well and got into Nation Of Ulysses. I saw his later bands (The Make Up and Weird War) but didn't really enjoy the shtick. Cupid Car Club was short lived but pure.
Grape Juice Plus


When Push Comes To Shove

Over the years I have had many songs capture my attention and affections. I have been a fan of music almost my entire life. My earliest memories start at 3 years old and I can still remember what songs were popular at the time. I've mentioned it before but would like to say again how much I appreciate having older siblings and parents who like music. So, with 29 years of music listening and loving under my belt I would like to present you with my all time favorite song.
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)

My mother is responsible for my love of Motown and oldies in general. She always had music playing in the car which probably explains why listening to music in a car is one of my favorite things. As I got older I would ask her for specific memories of hearing some classics for the first time. I enjoy people telling me about their first time hearing certain songs. Samuel R. Delany tells of hearing Martha & The Vandellas (Your Love Is Like A) Heatwave for the first time in his book, The Motion of Light in Water and it may very well be my favorite first time hearing a song story. I worry that we don't have songs like that today. I don't think Umbrella is a classic, you know?

The first time I recall hearing The Isley Brothers song was on an episode of Moonlighting which Dana Delany guested on before her starring role on China Beach. Now, given that my mother loves Motown and was always playing it I'm sure I heard this song prior to that. However, that episode married the song and the story so perfectly that it made a deep impression on me. Probably the first time I understood the power of music to help tell a story. When I got older I became obsessed with the song. Analyzing what makes it so great to me. The bottom line is that it is just perfect. The Funk Brothers playing is top notch. The bass line is my favorite ever played, the piano, the drums, the strings! That's just the first 15 seconds! Then the vocals kick in and take it even higher. Ronald Isley just nails the pain of having your heart broken over and over by the same person. Of course, Holland-Dozier-Holland (along with Sylvia Moy on this song) understood something about songwriting that very few people have understood since. I only wish I knew what it was! There have been many covers and none as good as the original.


New Bloods

New Bloods are a relatively new band (they had their first practice March 2006) from Portland, Oregon. Drums, Bass, Violin and voices intertwine and come out like a cross between The Raincoats and Erase Errata. I feel like New Bloods are a bit more melodic than either of those bands though. Kill Rock Stars just released their album The Secret Life this past Tuesday. They are touring like maniacs and there is a chance for a good portion of you to catch them since they will be hitting the states AND Europe! They need a bit of help so if you happen to be in Denver, Boise, or Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska and can help them out you should get in touch with them. I'm including the date and location of the shows currently booked, if you want full information follow the link to their myspace page at the start of the entry.

Two of my favorites...
The Secret Life
The Cycle Song

Apr 11 Olympia, Washington
Apr 18 Portland, Oregon
Apr 20 Vancouver, British Columbia
Apr 21 Seattle, Washington
Apr 22 HELP US! Boise, Idaho
Apr 23 Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 24 HELP US! Denver, Colorado
Apr 25 HELP US! Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska
Apr 26 Kansas City, Missouri
Apr 27 St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 28 Bloomington, Indiana
Apr 29 Detroit, Michigan
May 3 New York, NEW YORK
May 4 Providence, Rhode Island

May 7 Leeds
May 8 Newcastle
May 9 Bristol
May 10 London
May 11 Cork
May 12 Belfast
May 13 Dublin
May 14 Paris
May 15 Nantes
May 16 Madrid
May 17 Barcelona
May 18 Bordeaux
May 19 Lyon
May 21 Berlin
May 22 Berlin
May 23 Amsterdam
May 24 London

May 29 Washington DC
Jun 3 Athens, Georgia
Jun 4 Gainesville, Florida
Jun 6 Pensacola, Florida


Excuse 17

Ah, once again we find ourselves in the mid 90s. The Periscope compilation that Go Sailor first appeared on also features what I think is the best Excuse 17 song. The comp came out between their first record which was released by Chainsaw and their second (and last) record which Kill Rock Stars released. This song was my introduction to the band so let's start with that and work from there.

After hearing and falling in love with that song I promptly bought their first record. The record was almost too catchy to be lumped into the riot grrrl category. The fact that they had 2 guitar players (no bass player) set their sound apart from their contemporaries in Bikini Kill, Heavens To Betsy, and Bratmobile. The lyrical content fit right in with riot grrrl though and that was always how Excuse 17 were described. This song is a great example of the record as a whole.
Imaginary Friend

I loved the first record so much that I was extremely curious to hear their second record. I had a lot of faith that they would change their sound somehow, do something different, and I was excited to hear it. When I first put the record on I immediately sensed that it was going to be angrier. The guitars were louder and more in the front and the record opens with Becca Albee stating, "I'm punker than you, I'm so sure." While there are still the lyrics about dudes being shitty the bigger message of the record is about the music industry and press being shitty. The sense I always got from this record was that disillusionment was already setting in. There were still some catchy songs on the record but overall it was more about being angry and not sugar coating it with hooky guitar parts.

After Such Friends Are Dangerous came out and they toured supporting it the band ended. Carrie Brownstein hit the road a few months later with Sleater-Kinney and never looked back.


Stockholm Monsters

One thing I find completely fascinating is musicians who drastically change their songs from demo version to final release. None of the bands I've been in have ever operated that way and I know plenty of other people in bands who don't operate that way. Actually, I only know one musician who it seems like almost always changes his songs from demo version to final version. I know that sometimes it's encouraged (or demanded, ha!) by the producer or engineer. An example of that is this song, Fairy Tales, by the Stockholm Monsters. Most people thought that the version Martin Hannett demanded out of them was not as good as their demo version. Of course, the funny thing is that it's a matter of personal taste, isn't it? I love the Hannett version much more than the demo.

Fairy Tales (Demo)

Fairy Tales