UTFO

For a brief period in late winter 1984/5, you couldn’t leave your house or turn on your radio in New York without hearing some rapper going on about a girl named Roxanne. There was “Roxanne’s Revenge,” “The Real Roxanne,” “Roxanne You’re Through,” “Roxanne’s Mother,” “Roxanne’s Brother,” “Roxanne’s Doctor” — even “Roxanne’s a Man.” Demonstrating the…

Defenestration

Born in Norman, Oklahoma, a college town whose other ’80s musical export is the astoundingly strange Flaming Lips, Defenestration had an approach to complement their odd name (it means “the throwing out of a person or thing through a window”). Lead singer Tyson Meade was weaned on B-movies, Janis Joplin and the Birthday Party; the…

Pussywillows

New York’s Pussywillows have an obvious mania for ’60s girl groups like the Shangri-Las — the seven songs on their brief debut (recorded before the band had ever performed live) mix Lisa, Lisa and Elinor’s heavily reverbed three-part harmonies with surfy guitar power-pop. All the tracks are covers, borrowed from such relevant obscuros as the…

Kilkenny Cats

The ascendancy of R.E.M. created a major band boom in Athens, Georgia, but some of the resulting combos would have been best left within the privacy of the members’ imaginations. Kilkenny Cats, for example, put their R.E.M. influences to good use on the A-side of a 1984 single, “Attractive Figure,” where singer Tom Cheek’s highly…

Verlaines

By the time some indie bands finally catch the attention of major labels, it’s often too late — they’ve already used up their best material and shot their creative wad. Such, happily, has not been the case with New Zealand’s Verlaines. Following a series of promising but inconsistent import and indie albums the group inked…

Lone Justice

It isn’t that Lone Justice’s first album is bad (it’s not), but the ballyhoo that preceded the LA quartet’s debut raised expectations that these frisky countryfied rock tunes (Linda Ronstadt on speed, perhaps, or Dolly Parton backed by the Blasters) couldn’t possibly satisfy. Maria McKee is an impressive young singer — an energetic, throaty powerhouse…

Aztec Camera

Glaswegian guitarist-singer-songwriter Roddy Frame was the leader of Aztec Camera, whose delicate pop conveyed his poetic sensibility and rampant originality. He trafficks in the corniest romantic clichés, yet somehow makes them seem original. His wistful crooning, lush melodies and endless obsession with love’s ups and downs make his flavorful light pop the attitudinal descendant of…

Absolute Grey

Long before self-reflective female singers became the hip trend on the alternative music scene, Beth Brown of Rochester, New York’s Absolute Grey was writing and singing about loneliness and the challenge of independence. What Brown lacked in vocal range, she more than made up for in guts and naked emotion. Green House (aka Greenhouse, a…

Indigo Girls

Harmony is one of nature’s great mysteries, but the sound of perfectly blended voices — even regardless of individual qualities — is irrefutable, a force able to surmount almost any musical obstacle thrown in its path. As a credible explanation for the early success of the Indigo Girls — when harmony was the only useful…

Crippled Pilgrims

Most of the music on this Maryland quartet’s EP and album is fairly undistinguished folk- and garage-rock — sketchy songs roughly produced on two guitars, bass and drums. Lead singer Jay Moglia seems to be trying to convey something about how people underestimate themselves and settle for less than they’re worth, and about the difficulty…

Eleventh Dream Day

By the measure of popular acceptance and record company balance sheets, Eleventh Dream Day’s place in the alt-rock annals is among the most frustrating could’ve-beens. But to a healthy assortment of fans and critics, the Chicago band is a class act all the way, an underrated and reliable font of powerful, expressive rock’n’roll. Formed by…

Blue Nile

Glasgow’s unique but extremely slow-moving (four albums in 20 years!) Blue Nile has a wealth of creative depth, building atmosphere with lots of empty space and carefully controlled conflicting musical maneuvers. The title track of the trio’s first album mixes strings, horns, drum and bass with a meandering, disjunct vocal for something like a blend…

Wild Seeds

Austin, Texas’ Wild Seeds had an immensely likable, tough and twangy guitar-pop sound, but the heart and soul of the band was Michael Hall’s songwriting. A former music journalist, Hall took the rock’n’roll ethic of good times, lonesome trains and love gone wrong and spun it into lusciously twisted personal narratives inscribed with poetic literacy.…

Voice of the Beehive

Built around singing American sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke, the originally London-based Voice of the Beehive is a delightful clash of California girl-bop and English buzz-pop. With the exception of two tracks, the material on the two EPs is repeated on the band’s first album. Throughout Let It Bee, principal songwriter Bryn throws together…

Kendra Smith

Floating serenely through the ether, Kendra Smith has inhabited many hues of psychedelia, from the primary paisley feedback scrawl of the Dream Syndicate (which the onetime bassist co-founded with Steve Wynn in 1981) to the swirly translucence of Opal (a group with ex-Rain Parade guitarist David Roback that transmuted into Mazzy Star upon her 1988…

Contributors

These folks either wrote reviews that appear on the site or wrote for Trouser Press magazine. If anyone listed below cares to E-mail us with a link you’d like added, just let us know. And ditto if anyone is AWOL from this list. Grant AldenDavid AntrobusJem AswadTroy J. AugustoMichael AzerradCary BakerMichael BakerEmily BeckerJohn BergstromArt BlackJohn…