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Everybody's heard that our own Crain has signed to Restless Records on the West Coast, but soon the actual shiny little discs will be ready for our greedy little hands. The actual release party/show was not confirmed at press time, but will most likely occur the weekend of Feb. 19. Feb. 14 is the set release date. Appropriately, Heater is the name of the album. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the earthquake(s) in L.A. that shook the Restless offices will not cause any delays.
Touring bands resume schedules this month, after holing up in their native towns until the holiday season blew over (and colleges resumed regular sessions). Weather permitting, there are at least a couple of shows every week worth checking out. Transportation now becomes the problem, because they're strewn all over town. Louisville sure isn't one of those towns that has one club where everybody plays ... .
Scrawl has played Louisville at least a dozen times in their 8-ish years of existence, but they've rarely dropped by in recent years. Since the last time here with the Meat Puppets (March 1992), they've played several Lollapalooza dates, toured England, recorded a Peel session, played a few Midwest shows with PJ Harvey, played a few more with Fugazi, re-released one of their first four albums, and released a brand new one on Simple Machines records out of DC (which was produced by Steve Albini). Also, about a year ago, the band recruited Dana Marshall (that's a boy) to play drums. That's the only lineup change ever in this once all-female rock band; Sue Harshe and Marcy Hays are going stronger than ever.
Scrawl will headline the Roof Garden at Phoenix Hill Tavern on Friday, Feb. 18. Hula Hoop will open the show, and someone else will be added to the bill to open for Hula Hoop. By the way, Scrawl's new release is called Velvet Hammer, and the one that was re-released is Bloodsuckers. Both can be had through ear X-tacy (if only by special order) via Simple Machines Records. The latter and two more were originally released on Rough Trade records, which suffered from having taste too cool for its time and went out of business circa 1990.
I've already gone through the long list of bands with "hammer" in their name in some earlier column, and the thing to be remembered from all that is that HAMMERHEAD from Minneapolis on Amphetamine-Reptile Records is the COOL one. They are an absolute blast live ... loud, fast, and sometimes even better than the Cows. This is all being brought up again because they're coming back! Last time it was at the Machine, this time it's FREE at Butchertown Pub on Tuesday, Feb. 15 (21+). Two local groups of great importance will perform brief opening sets — LG&E and Telephone Man. Telephone Man should begin at about 9:45 p.m. Hammerhead has a new release out, and if the local postal service hadn't shut down for four whole days, I could write about that too. But, the CD will probably arrive the day after deadline, so just go ahead and see them live.
On Tuesday, the 1st, a new band from Boston called Bob Evans shares the bill with Oval at Butchertown Pub (free). Bob Evans has an indie release entitled Jersey Barrier out on Skene Records from Seattle. Soundwise, this trio would make a good bill with Mule from Detroit, and, in fact, they have played together a time or two while out on tour.
At Phoenix Hill, Spotlight Productions brings us (again) Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit on Wednesday. On the weekend, two cool bands from Detroit will open for Smokehouse (local labelmates with Henry Rollins) at Phoenix Hill in the Roof Garden. Friday, the 4th, it's the dark and heavy Wig, who since their show last year at the Machine has signed with Polydor. Saturday, Cathouse makes it a house party ... . You may remember Elizabeth (the chanteuse) and crew from earlier captivating performances at Tewligans and Uncle Pleasant's.
Save some money for Sunday, because the Bad Brains (sans H.R.) will do an 18+ show at the Toy Tiger with Groovezilla. The word for this idea is "brave" on all sides... .
Start Tuesday at Butchertown for a free show by Dolomite and the Mocking Birds. Dolomite is from New York and is working on a release for Thrill Jockey Records, the same label as Freakwater. Dolomite sounds nothing at all like Freakwater. This is an indie rock band through and through. If they lived here, they'd play in some capacity with Rocket House residents.
If anyone is up for traveling on the 10th, Alias Records' Archers of Loaf headline at Sudsy Malone's in Cincinnati. In New York City, Tara Key (with band) will perform material from the brilliant new Homestead release at CBGB's. Saturday, the 12th, should rock just fine locally ... Cracker and Counting Crows are in concert at the Thunderdome (a.k.a the Brewery).
Most of this has already been discussed, but note that Dread Zeppelin, a college favorite, is playing Phoenix Hill on Thursday, the 17th, and the original Elvis singer is back.
Pure Jesus, the acoustic O'Bannon conglomerate, will headline the free Tuesday on Feb. 22. Spanish Fly recording artists Queer share the stage with Black Train Jack at Sudsy's in Cincy on Wednesday. Locally, Groovezilla headlines the weekend in the Roof Garden at Phoenix Hill.