Friday, July 18, 2008

June

The Mythic Signifier has been a bit quiet lately due to a frantic week at work, but now we return with the first entry in what will likely be a constant thread here: singles from the early/mid-90s Chapel Hill music scene. Today I give you the (to my knowledge, only) three singles released by June. I saw this band I think only once, opening for Squirrel Nut Zippers on Halloween at the Cat's Cradle, must have been 1995. I remember they played a great cover of Bela Lugosi's Dead. Early the following year they released their one and only album on Beggar's Banquet records (titled, like their first single, I Am Beautiful, it is now out of print), and promptly disbanded shortly thereafter. The album includes most of the songs on these singles, but in different recordings--I think the 7" versions are superior in all cases. I hope you think so too.



I am Beautiful 7", Friction Media, 1993
A: I am Beautiful (3:17)
B: The Theme of the Anti-Hero (5:29)



Stripteaser 7", Friction Media, 1993
A: Stripteaser (3:30)
B: The Long Dance (3:29)



Genius 7", Squealer Records, 1994
A: Genius (3:32)
B: All of Me (4:31)

Unfortunately, my copy of the Genius single has not weathered as well as I'd like, so you will notice a single unavoidable little skip in each side of the single. Sorry about that - but luckily for you, the record appears to still be available from Squealer, so you should just go out and buy it yourself here. (Also note that "All of Me," one of the greatest of June's songs, is not available anywhere else.)

At the time of these three recordings, June consisted of:
Kat Cook, vocals
Mathew Gross, drums and vocals
Andy Magowan, bass and violin
John Price, guitar
Tricia Tuttle, guitar and vocals

Download the singles here.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cupid Car Club, M.P.


For my second post I give you another exemplary, if very different, single from the early 90's D.C. scene. Cupid Car Club's self-titled single is a paean to, of all things, teenage hipster suicide cults. The cover recounts the suicide of each of the band's members in image and text in the form of an easy do-it-yourself guide, so you too can "join their club." The back cover, which I unfortunately do not have a decent picture of, offers fragments of obituaries for each of the members. That of singer Ian Svenonius is worth excerpting:

"...apparently slashing his wrists in a friends bathroom. Suspected of being a werewolf, Svenonius was best known for his preacher style sermonizing with various affiliated 'social clubs'; The M.P. Skulkers, Carbonas, and the especially notorious Cupid the 'Car Club'. The wrist slashing punctuated an obsession with a late night underworld peopled entirely by drinamyl fueled boys and girls who would, he claimed, 'Dig a grave big enough to dump the wretched legacy of a life squandered on the idiotic principles of the living world and climb into the car club coffin'. Svenonius advocated young, romantic suicide marketed as a sort of new teen craze, for the purpose of 'empowerment' and claimed his 'car club ephemeral...eternally'."

Obviously this whole thing is a bit tongue-in-cheek--a tendency that would be picked up in force two years after this single, when three of the four band members (Svenonius, James Canty, and Steve Gamboa) would go on to form The Make-Up. The fourth member of Cupid Car Club, Kim Thompson, would join Delta '72. More on both these bands in a later post. For now, have a listen to Cupid Car Club's assaultive stylings--especially the standout final track, Grape Juice Plus. The single was originally released on Kill Rock Stars (#215) in September 1993 and has never been issued on CD. You can also find more info on the band here.

Tracklist:
A1-Edge of the Envelope (2:15)
A2-Vapor Rub Out (2:47)
B1-Child Custody Commandos (1:54)
B2-Grape Juice Plus (3:55)

Download it here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

First post: Bavarian Mods

To start things off here at The Mythic Signifier, I am posting one of my favorite 7" singles by Unrest, the "flagship band" (quoth AMG) of Arlington VA's Teenbeat Records. I'm including all four tracks from Bavarian Mods and Other Hits, including "She Is Today," even though it only consists of the sound of the record player needle being jostled and then about three minutes of silence. Still, to really appreciate the final track "Nova Scotia" you need to weather your way through that silence--on my turntable at least the last track is beyond the point where the auto-return function kicks in, so you really do have to listen to the silence to get to the last song.

Bavarian Mods and Other Hits was released in 1992 on Teenbeat and Homestead Records, and is Teenbeat #84 and Homestead #184. The band at that point consisted of Mark Robinson, Phil Krauth, and Bridget Cross. The song "Bavarian Mods"--one of the gems of the Unrest discography--was later remastered and reissued on the CD compilation BPM [1991-1994], which I strongly recommend purchasing. The rest of the single, including the band's epic rendition of Argent's "God Gave Rock'n'Roll To You" (which was subsequently covered by Kiss as "God Gave Rock'n'Roll To You II," thus the suffix "III" on this version), has never been issued on CD. [Correction: The Argent cover actually did come out on the Dutch East India Company comp Buy This Used Compact Disc. Thanks to Ned for the info!] Enjoy.

Tracklist:
A1-God Gave Rock'n'Roll to You III (4:46)
B1-Bavarian Mods (1:17)
B2-She Is Today (3:09)
B3-Nova Scotia (1:16)

Download link in comments.