Friday, October 24, 2008

Hace Frio - The College Years (1995-1996)

Say hello again to Hace Frio, your indie pop rock friends. Hace Frio was Dave McM., James J., Vinny C., and Rose S. (though I don't believe Rose is featured on this cassette). Let's hear what a couple of these guys had to say about the band:
"Hace Frio was a band for the fun of it. None of us could play instruments except Vinny on drums, but we had loads of fun making up little pop songs. We actually played a load of shows from Michigan to Chicago, and did a mini-tour with emiLy, which was a highlight of our life as a band in the summer of '96. Over time we got a little tighter, wrote better songs, and rocked Nazz into oblivion. Our best show was playing with Chisel in the basement at 702 W. Angela Blvd, or perhaps playing University of Chicago with an audience of about 60-70.

The College Years was the first recording, with loads of songs. We were inspired by the general output of bands like Guided by Voices, although we fell short in the lyrics and music departments. What was great about Hace Frio was that even though we were short on instruments and green behind the ears, we got to listen to far superior bands like emiLy and learned to appreciate Joe's masterful guitar playing, and the general elan of the band. Plus Vinny covered up any musical lapses we had." -- Dave

"When we started, Dave and I seriously had no idea how to play. Our first show was quite awful, but we all loved music, had an idea and went with it.

So many good times! Early on we hijacked the WVFI van for a weekend, it was 107+ degrees outside and we headed to Chicago to record our first demo songs in Sweep the Leg Johnny's basement. Quite an insane experience, we probably shouldn't have made it there and back, but we survived. We had a mission, what that was is anyone's guess. Vinny's awesome drumming, and Rose's sweet violin sounds, along with sheer determination, led to much better song writing and towards the end some really amazing shows." -- James
This cassette features a diverse selection of sounds and directions, from indierock and punk to instrumental noise and poetry. Who could forget "Anne" -- a poppy toe-tapper that is sure to stick in your head all day once you give it a spin. You've gotta also love "Dyngus Day" -- an homage to the Bend and it's most beloved local holiday. And "Center Aisle" brings the rock with it's full-on Dead Kennedys-style choruses.

The College Years was recorded in 1995, and released on the eSTaTe record label (what is it with capital letters in the middle of words with this crowd?). We'll leave you with a little something from an unlisted cut at the end of the tape:
"Ahh the College Years... when old Smitty said, 'Kick back, look at the spectacle of life kid, absorb all the wonderful French minds and let it all slide down your throat like a Werther's Original,' he had it right! And this, this is our gift to you: The College Years by Hace Frio 1995-1996. Yes... and then I'm going to kill you and eat you. But that's alright. People will call me a cold-hearted fiend, but enjoy the recording."


see also:
Hace Frio on MySpace

Monday, October 20, 2008

July - April Twentieth

Who better to speak on behalf of July than Ms. Kate B.:

Most teenage girls today wouldn't think it, but in the pre-Alanis days of the early 90s, when a strong woman in music meant Janet Jackson or Madonna, or maybe Pat Benatar (which was on occasion mistaken for Kate's vocals?) a band with a woman singing about taking charge of her life and wreaking havoc on those who wronged her was, apparently, a revolutionary thing for some of the female audiences who heard us -- or at least that's what I heard at shows, especially the few times we played away from the band's house. The sad fact was that very few bands in the Notre Dame family had female singers at all, and those who did generally opted for a sweet and gentle delivery. So when July appeared on the scene, we turned some heads if only for the sheer novelty of it. And personally, I think the time was ripe for women to be getting up and demanding attention, on stage and in general, which is something that happened a lot in the early and mid 90s, especially in the punk and indie scene. Still, I don't see July as a chick rock band, even though I tried to sing it that way. I was amazingly lucky to start off playing with a group of amazingly tight and talented musicians who could craft powerful and catchy tunes that could stand up to my novice singing and songwriting. What I lacked in stage presence, those guys made up for in strength and ability, and if I had it to do again, I would have just done more of it.

Here is the official story: Prior to coming together as July, Ernie C. (bass), Ted K. (drums) and Justin M. (guitar) had played with another singer as Grope for Luna. Two weeks after starting to practice with Kate B. on vocals, we played our first show at the "Farewell to Bush Bash" at Stonehenge on the ND campus, which consisted of four songs. Not so great with names, we played our second show as Freezehead, and Kate also vetoed Sweep the Leg Johnny as a potential name (we'll let the history books weigh in on that choice) before we settled on July as a name.

In practices, Ted's drums were so loud that the other instruments had to be turned up to match, so the boys usually never heard the vocals until it came time to play live with a proper PA. I think the balancing act between an art-rock guitarist, a jazz drummer, a riot-grrl singer, and a Fugazi-loving bassist produced something really special and unique, if very much of its time. Or, to quote Joe C. from our entry in Maximum RocknRoll's Book Yr Own Fucking Life, "A great great grindy power pop punk kinda sorta thing with PJ Harvey-esque vocals."

April Twentieth was recorded live at Dalloway's Coffeehouse on, natch, April 20th, I think 1994. Rommell DD is taken from a Richard Brautigan poem. The cassette was released on the Rent To Own label as RTO5.


see also:
July on MySpace