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STIGMATA A-GO-GO (Buy CDs by this artist)
Stigmata a-Go-Go (Pow Wow) 1993
It's All True (Grass) 1994

Of all the Pavement-loving, fanzine-reading, Kinkos-working, Loisaida-living noisemakers to rear their ugly little heads in New York clubs in the '90s, Stigmata a Go Go had the distinction of being among the few in possession of enough talent to justify the mandatory urban attitude. Georgia-spawned singer/guitarist Gary Greenblatt evidently knows from Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth, but he brings fresh enthusiasm and minimal posturing to intelligent songs whose tenacious melodies bear up nicely to the trio's calmly clangorous energy. Both albums (distinguishable mainly by the second's inferior sound) wrap persuasive creations in lush leis of benign barbed wire and pole-vault easily over the similar but less imaginative efforts of countless like-minded bands. "Worthy #2," "She Comes Undone" and the superlative "Half-Asleep" are the grabbers on Stigmata-a-Go-Go; the follow-up boasts "Sterno Heart" (which begins with an idle choice: "Sometimes things get so confusing/Whether to lick your boots or kick your teeth in"), "Riotkeeper" and "D Boon," a detailed and touching tribute to the late Minutemen leader.

[Ira Robbins]