An excerpt from my diary, circa seventh grade: “Listening to Tribe makes me feel like I’m drinking wine at a party with my parents, wearing a velvet dress.” Ah, the purple prose of preadolescence. Scratch the surface of my attempts at poetic music criticism, though, and you’ll find a grain of truth.
During their decade-long tenure, the Boston quintet created music that was both festive and formal. Their first local hit, the provocatively-titled “Abort,” was propelled by a galloping rhythm and built to an irresistibly shuddering crescendo that would be welcome at any house party. Their debut LP Here at the Home sounded like a treasure chest of lush melodies, gilded with sepulchral organ parts and choirs of background vocals. The band’s tight arrangements and singer Janet Lavalley’s wine-dark croon sounded heady and intoxicating, but the traditional song structures and melodies had a sense of sonic safety for a young listener. My tastes might never mature enough for more discordant sounds of the avant-garde, but at that time, Tribe was almost more subversive. Like the truths you’d heard at a party when you were up past your bedtime.
By Emily Carney
Indie rock was pure, escapist fun in the early- to mid-1990s. I lived in a fairly chaotic household in South Florida and would often lock myself in my room to enjoy whatever Pavement and Sebadoh had to offer. While I didn’t idolize the bands’ personnel (I don’t think anyone should be idolized, because it undermines his or her cultural legacy), records like Slanted and Enchanted and III definitely made the time more than bearable. The music still leaves deep personal resonances for me. Yes, I had the iconic Pavement “Sunny Side Up!” T-shirt. Through Pavement, I discovered Silver Jews around 1993.
By Paul Casey
The Crystal Maze was a game show which aired on British television in the 1990s; for four of its six series it was presented by Richard O’Brien, who as you may know, wrote that grand love letter to Sci-Fi and B-movies, The Rocky Horror Show, as well as its film adaptation.
As host Reckless Rick, O’Brien guided a group of frustrated working stiffs through themed “zones”; the goal was to capture the titular crystals in order to win a trip to a B&B 30 minutes up the road (or something equally miserable). Each zone came with its share of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges. Reckless Rick ain’t here, I’m afraid, so I’m your guide. And if you’re smart, or very, very lucky, you will discover wonderful televisual prizes. GOGOGO!
By Chelsea Spear
Watching Twin Peaks from a remove of over twenty years conjures a rush of emotions: The tragedy of an innocent’s brutal murder, the suspense of unraveling the mystery, the fear of the uncanny, and the occasional revulsion at the wardrobe. Holy angora, viewers may think. Did people actually dress like that in the early ’90s?
By Jesse Roth
The conclusion of Oprah‘s 25-year run on daytime television was heralded as the end of an era in several respects. Never again are we likely to see a media figure with as much power and widespread appeal as the mighty O. She was the figurehead of a special daytime ruling class, one that was seemingly overthrown by changing tastes long before she was willing to abdicate the throne. Despite her attempts to distance herself from her early years, enough people remember Oprah as a proud member (along with the likes of Geraldo Rivera and Morton Downey, Jr.) of the inaugural class of daytime sleaze, perverting a genre once owned by the legendary Phil Donahue. Though the daytime talk show genre is still kicking around the airwaves, its power and impact has been greatly reduced, crushed by the one-two punch of reality television and social media.
By Kai Shuart
At first blush, television seems a grossly distorted lens through which to examine philosophical questions. Every television show that comes through our tablets, computers, and (decreasingly) television sets is so overblown, and, well, downright Hollywood, how can it be the catalyst for examining the deeper questions of life? It’s entertainment; it’s only supposed to hang around between the time the opening credits start and the closing credits end.
By Emily Carney
Starting in the late 1980s, Frank Tovey (also known as Fad Gadget, whose music and general adventures were chronicled in a past Popshifter article) departed from avant-garde synth-pop, and started making Irish folk records.
By Emily Carney
The Ritz, Ybor City (Tampa) FL
September 29, 2009
When I discovered that the Happy Mondays were coming to town (shortly after the Gogol Bordello War of 2009), I was beyond psyched. I was a massive fan of this band in the early 1990s. While my fellow middle-school-aged peers in Florida were jamming along to the sounds of Stevie B. and Taylor Dayne, my musical world was fully entrenched in “Madchester”—with bands like the Stone Roses, the Inspiral Carpets, and of course, the Mondays. So one can imagine my excitement as I commuted an hour away from my apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida, to see the band; I even momentarily forgot that the Psychedelic Furs were also on the bill that evening.
By Jemiah Jefferson
Originally this was going to be a gushing review of a very beautiful, very sexy vampire film that I remember loving the hell out of, but hadn’t seen in a very long time—ten years or so. Within 30 minutes of rewatching, though, this became much more of an exercise in “the golden glow of memory masking the flaws of fact.” Filmmaking, vampire movies, and I were all in somewhat different eras in 1999; we’ve all come a long way, and The Wisdom Of Crocodiles hasn’t really kept up. Unjustly obscure, the film also suffers from having been titled Immortality for its US release, and the shitty production values used when slapping its American title on the screen makes it look like it’s just a very expensive episode of the new Outer Limits.
By Less Lee Moore
[This piece was originally published in Smack Dab Fanzine #4, September 1995. With the exception of typos I may have corrected, all of the original text and formatting remain the same. I have also scanned the original artwork.—Ed.]
Everyone whether they like it or not, remembers Rick Springfield. After all, he was a teen idol: musician, soap opera heartthrob and movie star.