Monday, January 19, 2004

#98) Bratmobile - Pottymouth (released in 1993, purchased on vinyl at some basement store in NYC around the beginning of college)

Erin Smith’s guitar and Molly Neuman’s drums provide the surge of rock without the overbearing weight – by comparison even the B-52’s plod, while Alison Wolfe howls above it all, pushing her obsessions away and pulling them back – sometimes in the same song. If K Records hadn’t happened, Pottymouth wouldn’t have happened, but Bratmobile transcends their obvious roots with a perversely grounded yet giddy anxiety entirely their own; the youthfulness here sounds neither forced like late Jad Fair’s or coy like Calvin Johnson’s. No frustration is going to keep Wolfe from trying to be “the Joanest Jett around,” especially when Smith (who, on a personal note, helped me realize that you can do a lot with just one guitar string) has an endless supply of surf-punk riffs to bolster her confidence. It’s a shame that more bands can’t exorcise their conflicting urges with similar musical joy.

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