Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In the August issue of SPIN, I contributed a few entries to their feature, "100 Greatest Bands You've (Probably) Never Heard." While I wasn't able to place acts like Sinamon, Dettinger, Ludus, or Gino Soccio, I did write about two favorites from South Texas and my favorite femme-noise band.
BAND NAME: Knife in the Water
Named for Roman Polanski’s debut film, this Austin band actually hewed closer to the Coen Brothers’ dark vision circa Blood Simple. Based around the haunted boy-girl harmonizing of guitarist Aaron Blount and organist Laura Krause, Knife brought a cinematic scope to their murder balladry in the late 90s, touching on everything from pill-popping to dead trannies. But even with 2003 reissues featuring testimonials from the Trail of Dead and Silver Jews’ David Berman, they fell on deaf ears.
WHOSE CAREER THEY COULD HAVE HAD: Low
BAND NAME: Big Drag
A trio from San Antonio who embodied neighboring Austin’s slacker ethos to a fault, the band melded the Jesus and Mary Chain’s fuzz and the Ramones’ three chords to sunny surf pop to create three-minute koans in the early 90s. Making believers of Yo La Tengo when they rolled through town, YLT appropriated Big Drag’s cover of the Beach Boys’ “Little Honda” (right down to the one-note guitar solo) for their own I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One.
WHOSE CAREER THEY COULD HAVE HAD: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
BAND NAME: Ut
New York no-wave scenesters who had far more success when they packed up and moved to England in the 80s. The trio of Nina Canal, Sally Young and Jacqui Ham raised an unholy din not unlike other female groups like the Slits and the Raincoats until breaking up in the late 80s. In Gut’s House and the Steve Albini-recorded Griller remain their watermarks and if anything, Ut helped mind the gap until the Riot Grrrl movement taught a new generation of girls to rage.
WHOSE CAREER THEY COULD HAVE HAD: Sleater-Kinney