Program Notes 42

Noise bands have no credibility. It's, uh...noise. A passing fad, a selfish indulgence, a sham. Except. Except that among all the South Florida acts currently trying to make their way into the national limelight, only a few have any chance of reaching as high a level so quickly as the nasty, noisy, disgusting, blah blah blah To Live and Shave in L.A. Shave this: The Tom Smith-led group's recent show at Brownie's in New York City was sold out, though it didn't receive so much as a listing in the Village Voice. Their CDs sold out at Village record stores, according to Smith and Michael Bull, chief buyer at Caroline, and recordings of their music are being played constantly in the offices of the Matador label.

But it's Bulb, not Matador, that's set to release the noisy ones' second CD, Helen Butte Vs. Masonna Pussy Badsmell, recorded at New York's Waterworks studio with Greg Tallenfeld (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) mixing and Smith producing. The third CD, Vedder Vedder Bedwetter, will be on Fifth Column Records, so expect two new CDs by the end of June. Yet another cool label, Caroline (which put out Shave's seven-inch "Prostitution Heute" on its Nightcap subsidiary), picked up the tab for two of the Waterworks sessions. These guys have labels they aren't even signed to working on their behalf.

Meanwhile Bulb is booking a To Live and Shave in L.A. national tour. It begins February 13 in Orlando, and stops include Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and the Knitting Factory in New York. The tour lineup is expected to be Smith, Ben Wolcott (electronics), Rat Bastard (bass), and the one-named Jared (the front man for Chemlab, switching to guitar for Shave). "All these local band people will end up being assistant managers at Wal-Mart," Smith declares. "I offer all of them a personal challenge: Hit the fucking stage. We'll blow their shit to Hell. Except Diane Ward. She's cool. But nobody else."

Lydia Ojeda was planning a protest show at Blue Steel on Monday, but instead it's going to be a celebration, with a number of local bands performing local music. Ojeda has been a driving force behind those petitions aimed at encouraging WSHE to play local music. WSHE will begin airing a local-rock show soon. No details available, but the station confirmed at press time that it's a go. Not sure yet if they'll play any To Live and Shave in L.A.

You know you do it, at least when you're alone and no one can see or hear you. Pinch up your sinuses, clutch your throat, and imitate Bob Dylan. It's so easy and so much fun. Time to come out of the closet, nasal ones. John Soler is hosting the first annual Bob Dylan Look An'/Or Soun' Alike Contest. Get tangled up in this blue humor tomorrow (Friday) at 9:00 p.m. at Blue Steel. No cover or minimum. Winners get a prize.

If your impressionistic abilities lean more toward Monet or Picasso, Squeeze has what you need -- the In-Progress Arts Festival. Once again the Fort Lauderdale club will cover its walls with white paper and invite anyone and everyone to fill the spaces with anything from graffiti to fine pointillistic landscapes (paint, brushes, chalk, and such will be provided by the club). Face the wall tomorrow (Friday). Winners get a prize. The great Nil Lara will perform live at midnight. By the way, on Wednesday Squeeze stages Drive Choir and the Holy Terrors.

Le Coup, an accomplished local reggae outfit made especially interesting by its use of horns, is showcasing in New York and plans a trip soon to Jamaica for recording sessions.

Third Wish has disappeared -- into the studio, where they're completing a CD called Stranger Than Friction, skedded for April release. Live shows will resume at that time.

It wasn't long ago that punk bands had names like the Circle Jerks and made angry, noisy music that had no place in the mainstream. Today alleged punk bands such as the Offspring and Green Day are all the rage, which makes it notable that Avenue Records is re-releasing the Jerks's Golden Shower of Hits album. Already out is a seven-inch vinyl (and CD) single of "Jerks on 45," a track from the 1983 LP that includes bits of kitsch (the Association, Captain and Tennille, the Carpenters). Avenue president Jerry Goldstein happens to have been the producer of the original releases.

Better catch the Colour Junkies show on Wednesday at the Edge, or their February 19 gig at the Zoo, because after that the hard-rocking band takes time off to work on new material for an upcoming CD.

February is, as you probably know, Black History Month, and public radio is using the last of its money (certain members of Congress are hot to cut funding to public broadcasting, although Florida Representative Carrie Meek vows to fight the cutbacks; she can be reached at 202-225-4506) to broadcast related programming. When you think about music in racial terms, black music most often brings to mind R&B, soul, jazz, the blues, hip-hop. Well, three of the many programs offered by National Public Radio this month spotlight William Grant Still, the first black American to write a symphony, to conduct a major orchestra, and to write an opera for a major opera company. Other genres -- yes, including hip-hop -- will be explored on other special shows. To find out details, contact local public radio station WLRN at 995-2220.

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Greg Baker