Monday, October 24, 2005

twee as fuck


tigertrap
Originally uploaded by becklerg.

Not much action on the old blog today. Guess everyone has that certain monday feeling. For any of you out there who has been accused of being indie who isn't quite sure what that means (that sentence is awkward as fuck), Pitchfork today has a sizable article on the origins and history of indie pop. This is not something I know much about (although I know an old dude who could probably tell me a thing or two about it), so this article was a fairly concise primer that will help me fake like I know what I'm talking about. Major props are continually given out to Sac's own Tiger Trap (one of the few indie pop bands that I was ever really into) and the Softies, which was a later band of Rose from Tiger Trap. Considering how influential this band was and continues to be, it's surprising that a google search for anything on Tiger Trap in the SN&R yields up a single hit for a comparison to another Sac band, the Frenchman. Maybe someone should write a little feature? Just an idea. I guess the tenth anniversary of the release of their album probably already passed.

31 comments:

amy said...

i wrote a few things about tiger trap & interviewed rose melberg when i worked there... it probably didn't come up because their online archive only goes back a few years; most of what i wrote and definitely anything that would have been written when they were still a band (early 90s?) would not come up in a web search. (this is not to say that people should not continue to write stories about tiger trap, especially if they contain references to the frenchmen.)

beckler said...

Too bad that's not online. I would still like to read a kind of "where are they now" feature or see some acknowledgement of what was going on during that time in sac. Tiger Trap made such a big impression but you don't see them mentioned in local stuff very much.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty great article - I would've expected worse from Pitchfork. It's strange to look back on all that music & remember how influential it all was (and still is I guess) to how I did things. Nar to me will always be my great, failed indie-pop experiment. Too rock for the faithful, too pop for the punks. And yeah, Tiger Trap definitely got their share of local press. They seriously blew up in a matter of weeks here. Calvin came to Sac just to see them & they immediately had a single offer from Four Letter Words (coolest American pop label of the 90s & a gross oversight of the P-Fork article). They barely had any songs but people just wanted to like them. They came along at the perfect time. I'll never forget Rose calling me & playing me their first song over the phone. Her & Angie had recorded it on a boombox & I immediately knew they were on to something. They were just so fucking excited & cocky about it. Too bad they became rock stars & don't really look back on that band with particularly fond memories. Now Go Sailor! - there was a rad band. They always get overlooked when Rose's bands are mentioned.

miller

Anonymous said...

I loved Go Sailor! I've heard people cut on that record, but I love it. To me, it's one of the most perfect pop records.
Denise Clark found Angela from Tiger Trap on Myspace or Friendster. She's really into motorcross racing.
Niki

Anonymous said...

The punks loved Nar!

-michele

Anonymous said...

Well of course Sac punks loved it. They're 100% cooler than alll other punks! Shows outside of California told a much sadder tale.

"well scott, it looks like nobody's showing up"

-owner of El Paso venue

Though there's something pretty amazing about not ONE single person showing up to a show. I mean, there's usually someone there, like, on accident or something.

miller

werenotdeep said...

Amazingly enough, or actually not really, as Leon would tell you, I've barely heard anything from Tigertrap or the Softies, and that which I have heard I probably couldn't distinguish as either band if I heard them again in a 5-song lineup.

Nar, on the other hand, were something else.

leon said...

Ah Tiger Trap...the band that forever altered my DNA.

leon said...

Great fucking article, but why did the fucking writer need to mention the fucking Decemberists three fucking times?

Anonymous said...

Once is too many! I swear that band is the worst aspects of Belle & Sebastian & The Mountain Goats all rolled in to one!

miller

Anonymous said...

They got the year wrong on those Tiger Trap songs that they mention at the end. It sure the heck wasn't 1988. More like 91? 92?

As to the writer saying "Melberg sings sweet while still sounding absolutely assured, almost deadly" It made me laugh.

Ella

werenotdeep said...

Yeah, it's a good article, but the opening paragraph, even though it's a treatise to something that you might not expect to register much of a blip on pitchfork's radar, is still pretty draw-and-quarter. I mean, the first line is pretty dumb. "Indie pop is not just indie that is pop" well, yeah it is. At least, as much as I'm allowed to think so, it is.

I just think that it is possible to cover a definate trend, or group, or whatever without trying to hard to put a hat and tee shirt on it. Is that really that hard to do?

Anonymous said...

It is if you're Pitchfork. They don't exactly look you in the eye when they write, you know?

miller

amy said...

i think this article reads a little too much like an honors thesis. i would like to just enjoy the story, and it's a good story, without feeling like the writer is trying to prove the cultural significance of the genre. i think when you try to do that you always end up missing the mark because it meant different things to different people. also a pet peeve of mine is how much press tullycraft gets all the time, i really can't stand them and don't think they are one of the 'important' bands.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ella, you are right. 1991 or 1992.
G bomb

Anonymous said...

This sentence sums up Pitchfork's irritating thesis writing style:

"These days, we remember only a handful: Pop crossovers like the Smiths, "post-punk" gems like Josef K and Orange Juice, and anything else that fits the big-picture story of how we got from punk to the present."

It's probably not intentional but the "we" of the first sentence is basically referring to Pitchfork themselves & their whole "it's time to like this style or band & we'll tell you why". They really do know how to suck the joy out of something. Compare that article to the Vashti interview where they take a backseat & let the artist do the talking & suddenly you get something sweet & human.

And Tullycraft is largely responsible for the dismal total-dork state of US indiepop. That dude Sean blows! At least Calvin was a genuine freak.

And that article should've mentioned the June Brides.

I'm mainly giving the article credit for getting the facts pretty straight - although, yeah, they're way off with the Tiger Trap years. Rose & Angie were still in high school in 88! Try '92.

miller

werenotdeep said...

Somebody once told me that they knew the Tullycraft guy and that he was a really nice guy and that he really genuinely sang, and even spoke, like that.

It was pointless to try to deny that, because I'd never met him myself, so it would be heresay to just contradict it. Maybe he is a nice guy, maybe he really does sing and talk like that. Maybe that's a good reason to not want to be recorded speaking or singing. But people bought it. I was one of them. Tullycraft was a buzzword, and at the time I didn't know ass from eyesocket about that it was a quickly dieing out buzzword, so I took it upon myself to check them out, along with Comet Gain. Comet Gain has it's problems, but I don't mind hearing it now and then. I had to take Tullycraft off my playlists entirely, and it's an album I'm doomed to always have, because I'll be too embarassed to take it to a record store to sell it.

Anonymous said...

> they immediately had a single offer
> from Four Letter Words (coolest
> American pop label of the 90s & a
> gross oversight of the P-Fork
> article).

Man, that first recording of "Words and Smiles" from the Four Letter Words single is the best!

What was the name of that place Tiger Trap played down on Franklin Blvd?

Anonymous said...

The Beansprout Factory. Man, that would be a nice place to still have in our hands these days. Kinda took it for granted back then. They played there with Heavens To Betsey & Bagpipe Operation.

miller

Amelie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oh yea, the Beansprout Factory. I also remember seeing Witchy Poo and Bratmobile there...

Anonymous said...

Nar rules!

- Charles"punk" Albright

ps do you know who told me about Nar? Sacto's own punk rock icons the Secretions. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it oldest dude!

ps when's the article about Stoned Jehova?

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, The Secretions covered Words & Smiles at their early shows. I used to like them OK.

miller

James Dozenbeer said...

HI, I'm glad I found this blog, 'cause it's better than hanging myself from boredom (I'm writing a paper on public libraries). I usually just read, but today I'll weigh in since it's about nar.
It seems to me the only thing we were experimenting with in nar was how to make it through a whole song without falling apart. I mean, I think nar sounded as it did 'cause none of us knew how to play any differently. We tried our best, but we were mostly in it for the fun. We were just lucky miller could write catchy tunes in his sleep. Not to take anything away from miller's comments, he probably put more thought into what we were doing than ed or I. I just look back on nar and it cracks me up 'cause we were so naive, I don't think we ever really tried very hard to sound the way we wanted to. We weren't really into punk at all (ed was I guess). I certainly wasn't. Then we sorta just fell in with all these punk bands mainly 'cause ed could only play at breakneck speed at that time for some reason. It seems to me it was mainly three best friends getting wasted and having fun, which is as it should be, I guess.

miller, I just recently listened to that one 'gotta get you outa my system, get you outa my heart' etc. with Maurer on bass. That guitar sound is crazy, it sounds like you're playing though like 50 stacks or something! wtf? great.

And yeah, I always liked that first recording of "Words & Smiles" . ha. It sounded a little like late-early My Bloody Valentine. miller's basement and four track that was. And me pretending I had the slightest clue what I was doing.

JasonD

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I remember wanting to be accepted by the pop scene but not really doing anything to further that goal. I guess I just thought that we were pop enough as-is & why the hell, when everybody & their sister had a 7" label, didn't anyone seem to have any interest in us. Not even shitty Lookout.

The version of that song you have (Grey Sky) is from the Tony Cale sessions. We demo-ed the whole lost album with him. He claims to still have the tapes but I can never seem to get him past the "yeah, we should get those out & mix them" stage. I have been bugging him more lately though. But y'know, things move at a different pace over at Stoney Ridge.

miller

James Dozenbeer said...

at any rate, I'm sure it was more fun to play the way we did at the time than if we'd been more strictly pop. come on stoney, shit.
hey miller, maybe we should ski instruct once or twice before I have to start trying to get a job.
JasonD

beckler said...

hey i know, why don't you guys turn this into your own personal messageboard? get a room (a chat room that is)

Anonymous said...

Oh, wait, I thought this was the Heckasac that busted your balls for not commenting, not the Heckasac that's all "stop commenting!". My mistake.

miller

James Dozenbeer said...

Dang!
This blog is hecka clique-y and exclusive-y

Anonymous said...

I was just reading something about Bill Waterson & this line from the article reminded me that tis is where Tiger Trap got their name.

"But Universal liked "Calvin and Hobbes" and launched its run November 18, 1985, in 35 newspapers. Calvin caught Hobbes in a tiger trap with a tuna sandwich in the first strip."

I imagine some people assume they got their name from the Beat Happening song title - but Calvin actually named the song after them. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything out yet so of course it seemed like they named themselves after the BH song. I recall Rose not knowing whether to be annoyed or flattered.

miller

werenotdeep said...

Bill Watterson is the best comic strip writer to have come since Charles Schultz. It's an off-topic seguey, but I like to talk.

Also, the anti-comment bot code I have to type to post this is like 16 charachters long, what the hell is that?