Minus 5

With the Young Fresh Fellows on hold in the early ’90s, Seattle singer-guitarist (and Trouser Press contributor) Scott McCaughey launched the Minus 5 with Peter Buck of R.E.M. (for whom McCaughey has been a concert sideman since 1995). The free-floating aggregation has variously involved members of NRBQ, Wilco, the Posies and Walkabouts (not to mention…

Young Fresh Fellows

Seattle’s Young Fresh Fellows combine punk-derived recklessness and a bubbly garage-pop sensibility with an absurdist lyrical wit and a bittersweet vulnerable streak that has grown increasingly resonant as the band confronts the inconvenient realities of adult life. From the back cover of Fabulous Sounds: “A collector’s disc of the sounds that we in the Pacific…

Jimmy Silva

Seattle singer/songwriter Jimmy Silva’s death at the age of 42, two days before Christmas 1994, deprived the pop underground of one of its finest unheralded tunesmiths, one whose wryly inventive, offhandedly insightful lyrics were brilliantly balanced by jangly, hook-intensive melodies. After a stint in Vietnam, Silva played around the Bay Area with his band the…

Walkabouts

Seattle’s Walkabouts play a quirkily personalized brand of updated folk-rock, distinguished by a darkly layered sound and the yin/yang vocals of founders Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson. The early releases on Necessity and PopLlama are a bit tentative and unformed but contain enough flashes of inspiration to encourage further attention. Cataract and the six-song Rag…

Teengenerate

Initially known as the American Soul Spiders, this Tokyo foursome (Fink, Fifi, Sammy and Suck, later replaced by Shoe) named after a Dictators song filters a love for traditional garage-punk through the lo-fi fast-and-hard aesthetic with exciting results. It’s significant that the band attacks songs by the Queers (“Kicked Out of the Webelos”) and Bill…

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers

Singer/guitarist Roy Loney, who was the frontman for the Flamin Groovies during that band’s original rockabilly/R&B-inspired incarnation, continued in a similar vein in his solo career, rock’n’rolling with the devotion of a true believer. After leaving the Groovies in 1975, Loney assembled the Phantom Movers and maintained the rootsy spirit he had brought to the…

Clints

This Southern California foursome’s longplaying debut has certain commendable points, specifically Dan Matovina’s dense, offbeat production and guitarist Clint Wade’s strange, meandering songs (“The Grey Receiver,” “Mysterious Clints”). On the downside, fellow tunesmith/guitarist Clint Ambuter’s earnest, soul-searching efforts are lyrically less interesting, and some of the arrangements have a dated new-wavy quality. While the Clints,…

Flatmates

Over the course of four years, England’s Flatmates unleashed a series of loudly perfect two-to-three-minute pop blasts, all on singles or four-song 12-inch EPs. That they never made an album is a telling clue to the quartet’s aesthetic, favoring the fix of one radio-ready masterpiece over the cumbersome yearly compiling of a “major” work. Had…

Eggplant

In an eternal quest for true human tenderness in song, this unassuming Southern California quartet explores avenues paved by Jonathan Richman and Daniel Johnston. Guitarists Jon Melkerson and Jeff Beals have the uncanny ability to spin tales of cheerful wistfulness. On Monkeybars, Eggplant proves the Richman axiom that excessive volume and force are not required…

Evan Johns and His H-Bombs

Jerry Lee Lewis worshiper (who claims to have blown his hero off the stage on a good night!) and certified lunatic of the geetar, Evan Johns simply personifies the most incendiary and rebellious elements of rock’n’roll. A teenaged Virginia hellion who apprenticed in the DC bar circuit under the legendary Danny Gatton, Johns formed the…

Otis Ball

A transplanted Midwesterner who joined the Hoboken scene, singer/guitarist Ball has a whiny voice perfectly suited to songs that poke fun at celebs from Buddha to Charles Manson, as well as several women who are no doubt nearer to his heart. The two exceptional songs that make this light, warm self-produced pop record worth many…

Sneetches

Led by singer/guitarist Matt Carges and singer/bassist/guitarist Mike Levy, San Francisco’s Sneetches were one of the most tasteful, consistently tuneful pop bands on the American scene. Echoes of the Zombies, Left Banke and Easybeats (they’ve covered songs by all three) abound; simple, uncluttered arrangements let their like-minded originals’ substantial charms shine through. Demos made as…

Untamed Youth

From the clothes they sport and the cars they drive to the design of their record jackets and the music inside — yeah, from any angle but that of real time, the Untamed Youth are a ’60s band. In an era of drum machines, Fairlights and Exposé, many might find the concept of a hotrod/surf…

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…

Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock is one of pop’s great surrealists, an artist whose work has the appearance of familiarity yet none of its reassurance. While he often gets compared to poor old Syd Barrett (an acknowledged influence), this London native has closer relations outside the music world: Rene Magritte (logic-defying juxtapositions), Marcel Duchamp (dada absurdity), Edward Lear…

Frampton Brothers

The Frampton Brothers don’t mean anything by the smart-aleck name: the Pittsburgh quartet’s goodnatured roots pop doesn’t betray a trace of voice-tube guitar or ’70s nostalgia. Singer/guitarist/journalist Ed Masley, whose bratty punk warble suggests Gordon Gano after successful therapy, is a skilled, unpretentious songwriter with a battered post-adolescent outlook but a resilient spirit. (There’s a…

Long Winters

The Long Winters are one of the most fascinating quirky pop bands to come out of Seattle, a town well-known for its twisted, hook-filled songwriters, in the 21st century. Frontman John Roderick’s creative wordplay and knack for memorable melodies have attracted a who’s who of Pacific Northwest musicians, all looking to help bring his tales…

Barnabys

The Barnabys typify the second generation of America’s indie-pop scene. The trio, formed in Philadelphia in 1990, grew up listening to all the right records; when they synthesize those sounds, the results can be either pop perfection or musical mediocrity. On Delightful Browns, singer/guitarist Joey Sweeney shows that he knows how to craft a good…