Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Martians - Low Budget Stunt King (1995, Allied)

The Martians were an Athens, GA-based band that included noted drummer Jerry Fuchs, who would later go on to drum for Vineland (ex-Bitch Magnet), Pitchblende, Turing Machine, !!!, Maserati, and others.  According to this post at the Beyond Failure blog, The Martians were closely associated with the fellow Anthens band Fiddlehead, who were also signed to the Allied label. Like Fiddlehead, The Martians spent some time in the studio with the legendary Steve Albini as engineer.  The resulting record, 1995's Low Budget Stunt King, is a collection of noisy math rock not unlike Albini's own bands.  The songs tend to be on the shorter side, and feature some great angular, dissonant guitar work (including the occasional Slint-esque harmonics). Martians member Kyle Spence (also of Fiddlehead) would later join Harvey Milk. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nectarine - Sterling Beat (1995, Grass)

Nectarine were a short-lived band from Chicago who released just one album, Sterling Beat, for Grass Records in 1995 before disbanding. The album, which was mixed by Shellac member Bob Weston, is a lo-fi indie rock affair loaded with subtle hooks and the occasional burst of guitar noise. The band did a fair amount of touring during their brief experience, playing with the likes of Built to Spill, Silkworm, Red Red Meat, and The Wrens. The band did record a second album - reportedly a response/tribute to The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat, which never saw the light of day. After playing one final show in Chicago with Built to Spill, Nectarine broke up in May 1997.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mariner Nine - The Shallow End Of The Gene Pool (1996, Meltdown)

Mariner Nine was a fine indie rock band who, despite their Pennsylvania origins, sound to my ears like equal parts Chapel Hill scene (the hooks of Superchunk, the quirkiness of Archers of Loaf or Polvo) and the poppier side of midwest emo (early Promise Ring, Vitreous humor). The band's history can be traced back to the very early 90's when they existed under the name Mother's Garden, before switching to the Mariner Nine moniker in 1994. This here record, The Shallow End of the Gene Pool, was the band's debut full-length as Mariner Nine and was released in 1996. The album was recorded with Gray Matter frontman Geoff Turner, who at that point had built an impressive resume behind the studio boards working with Jawbox, Edsel, The Raymond Brake, New Wet Kojak, among others. Also in 1996, the band appeared on Polyvinyl Records' Direction compilation, along with Braid, Rainer Maria, Boilermaker and other names big in the mid-90's emo world. After this record, the band took a turn into more experimental territory for their second and final release, A Little Something from the Weathervane's Perspective, which was recorded at their own Miner Street studios and released on their own label of the same name. The band split in 1998 when bassist Dave Boyd relocated to California for professional reasons.