Selections from

Indie List Digest!
April 8, 1994
Volume 3 Number 23

Reprinted without permission from
and edited by me.

Well, here we are, back again with a slightly smaller and (thanks to 
the Beck "controversy") tighter issue of the Indie-List.  The focus 
this time is Mr.  Beck, (but not Mr.  Jeff [or Burger Chef, for that 
matter, but it's been a long week]).  But keep the fine submissions in 
the spool, folks.  Anne and I are getting things sorted out so issues 
should be arriving in more timely and manageable packages.

A quick note on advertisements.  The rule really is to limit them to 
ten lines and the PBS mode of hyperbole.  That said, I count the lines 
before I reformat to 70 column format, and at least in shorter issues, 
I think we can afford to be a little lenient.


From: Douglas Wolk 
Beck, Helium, Laito Lychee, etc.

I'm really gonna have to disagree with Grumpy Sean on the Beck issue.  
If I'm remembering correctly, he grumped about them in the same 
paragraph as he mentioned the Mountain Goats; if I'm also remembering 
correctly, Beck's cassette on Sonic Enemy predates the Mountain 
Goats tape on the same label.  The "MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack" 
single came out a year or so ago, on (I think) Bongload.  "Loser," 
more importantly, was a huge West Coast hit before DGC picked Beck 
up--as a vinyl-only 12" single on Bongload.  (Once he did the deal 
with DGC, DGC distributed a re-pressing of the 12" to promo-type 
places.) As far as I can tell, "Loser" made it as a genuine indie 
item--whether you like the song or not, it's pretty respectable.  
Beck's also recorded albums for K and some-or-other largish indie; 
whichever one that is just came out (it has "stereo pathetic" in the 
title; I don't remember the specifics).  And there's a 10" on another 
indie that came out a few weeks ago.  Not only that, but according to 
the paper, when he played in New York, he didn't play "Loser."

As far as I can tell, the guy's for real--certainly realer than 
S--ndg-rd-n, for example, or any of a handful of bands that have made 
records for indies for the sake of "credibility" while being financed 
by majors they've already signed to.

Douglas D. Wolk

From: Seth L Sanders 
I'm a Poser, Baby

[anyone else here remember Poseur, a leather and latex store from 
the Bay Area, ca 1981? -es]

Well, that does it.  Beck Hansen has pissed so many people off, 
outraged their righteousness and violated their perimeters, that I'd 
have to fall in love with him sight unseen and sound unheard.  It's so 
immoral to like Beck, it makes me feel like a sellout, a 
pushover.  Plus it's totally meaningless, a mere lifestyle option 
with no more moral force than whether or not you pick your nose in 
private.  What easier cheap thrill could you get?

It's a lot easier because on a strictly formal level, "Loser" (the 
only Beck song I've even heard) is more innovative than anything the 
people he's ripping off (he knows he's ripping them off) have done in 
a long while.  Slide guitar sounds aimless and lazy to begin with, and 
totally inappropriate for either indie rock or hip-hop, not for any 
reason, just cuz no one's done it so you're not supposed to do it.  So 
he does it, sounds perfectly normal.  The hip-hop backbeat is much 
less coffeehouse and precious than acoustic guitar or "minimal" 
"drone" stuff (as much as I enjoy Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive 
Stereos, the music sounds like an Xpressway parody before Xpressway 
even existed).  It's familiar, unpretentious, throwaway.  But I want 
to keep it; it's not as powerful as Helium, but the words are 
attractively crumpled, distorted but legible.  And I have to hear 
the song with the line I saw quoted in the NY Times (as a zine it 
can't lick Wind-Up Toy's boots but it has better photos of Gerard 
Cosloy): "I want to ride through the city on a wrecking ball."

I won't bother to connect the Beck concept to generational anomie; the 
resentment he generates does that as well as anything ("one thing 
about us is that we HATE being labeled!!").  But I can't imagine that 
an alcoholic 14-year-old at the University of Paris in the 16th 
century wouldn't have felt the same way, waking up in a cold room with 
sores on his butt and all the contrived logic he'd been listening to 
last night oozing out of his head.  Plus he has a song called 
"Motherfuker" (sic) which I find poetic.

And wait, if he doesn't go through _traditional underground channels_ 
does that mean he's not underground? Though everyone including 
Thurston Moore (apparently hilarious 120 minutes episode where he 
"interviews" Beck into throwing his shoes around the set) was pissed 
off that they were't already hip to him, I could drop the names 
Schwermut Forest, Brainticket, and the Fells and I'd probably sound 
like a horrible collector scum if I said they were 3 of the greatest 
things ever.  But they are.  Well, Beck's probably not so new to 
Azalea Snail, and if he never paid any dues then good for him, bruised 
knees are ugly.  I think the tree of evil has a right to bear bitter 
fruit even if it does it in the forest and no scenesters hear it.


I Mother Carlos

Before I start just a quick reminder that B* will be playing at 
Bernie's here in Columbus, Ohio on April 7.  Room capacity: 120 
people.  Is B* cool or just an idiot? MTV & Geffen market the shit 
out of him and then have him play the smallest clubs across the U.S.  
Whaz sup? Well Eric, that's the extent of my B* discussion.

Joe Pospisil
columbus, ohio


"Never was a cornflake girl thought that was a good solution hangin' 
with the raisin girls" - Does anybody know what this means?

The Indie-List Digest is published a few times each week (usually 
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