Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bratmobile, Cold Cold Hearts, and Frumpies

Over the past weeks, though I haven't been posting, I have been thinking about posting, and considering various options for what to do next on this blog. I can be a bit of a logic freak, so the idea of constructing an overarching organization for future posts holds a certain appeal. The problem is that it also builds up my expectations to an almost unattainable level, where an entire thesis on the history of indie rock springs forth from my fingertips in one fail swoop. So rather than having to get just one post up (already something I have trouble doing), I'll have to conceive of a whole string of posts and actually follow through with the idea. This conundrum explains my silence of late, but I am working hard now to overcome this roadblock. Hopefully what follows will be the first of a group of thematically interconnected posts, which will in turn usher in a new way of approaching this blog, with a bit more order and concept, for your reading and listening pleasure.

I've been knocking around several ideas to base this series of posts around, and since my most recent entries up to this point were focusing on Teenbeat records, I thought I'd start from one of the bands featured on Teenbeat 100: Bratmobile. There's an excellent write-up of their story on Wikipedia, but in short, the band got its start as a duo, comprising Allison Wolfe (guitar) and Molly Neuman (drums), in Olympia in 1991, but almost immediately thereafter moved to Washington D.C., where they met Erin Smith (guitar; also of Teenage Gang Debs) and became a trio. They were one of the fundamental acts associated with the Riot Grrrl movement, along with Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, Team Dresch and others; but like all indie bands in the early 90s, they operated as part of a larger scene, that in their case included Calvin Johnson, Beat Happening, and K records; Mark Robinson and Teenbeat; and Dischord artists like Fugazi and Nation of Ulysses. This heady mix of politics, punk, and pop yielded some great music that was never too ideologically overdetermined, unlike some of their Riot Grrrl peers. Bratmobile put out one album and slew of singles before breaking up in 1994 (they would reform five years later and put out another album in 2000). This is their first 7".

Bratmobile, Kiss and Ride 7", 1992
Homestead, no. 178

A. Kiss and Ride (1:32)
B1. No You Don't (1:44)
B2. Queenie (1:21)

After Bratmobile broke up in 1994, Molly Neuman moved to the Bay Area and began working at Lookout! Records (which she now co-owns), while Allison Wolfe and Erin Smith remained in D.C. and formed Cold Cold Hearts, at first with Lora McFarlane (drums) and later with
Nattles (future member of Flin Flon) and Katherine Brown (bass and drums, respectively). They put out one single and one album, both produced by Mark Robinson. This is the single.

Cold Cold Hearts, self-titled 7", 1995
Kill Rock Stars, no. 258

A1. Yer So Sweet (Baby Donut) (1:50)
A2. Broken Teeth (2:51)
B. Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental (3:03)

While all this was happening, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Karren - when taking a break from their more well-known band Bikini Kill - were playing as Frumpies, all singing and playing guitars, with drums helmed by none other than Molly Neuman. They actually formed the band in 1992, not longer after Bikini Kill's and Bratmobile's first records were released, and continued off and on til 2000, around the time of Bratmobile's reunion. This is their last single, aptly titled "Frumpies Forever" - there's a long description of its recording and content at the Kill Rock Stars site, so I recommend you head over there and check it out.

Frumpies, Frumpies Forever 7", 2000
Kill Rock Stars, no. 366

A1. Frumpies Forever (2:24)
A2. We Don't Wanna Go Home (2:40)
B1. Turn Off the Faucet (2:36)
B2. Tell Me (3:19)

Get all three singles here. Enjoy.


Shaun said...

this link seems to be down. i used to have the cold cold hearts 7" and found it superior to the full length...any chance for a reup?

smokeandmirrors said...

Uh-oh, that's not right. Try it now.

Ryan @songsforjenna said...

I <3 Cold Cold Hearts! Their full length is so addicting. I just featured them in the Riot Grrrl episode of my podcast "Songs for Jenna"