Just about any term I think of will not adequately describe this... garage in that this is fairly lo-fi and relies on an abundance of open chords; pop, but it ain't the Beatles and there ain't no harmonies... all that's important is that this is good-- no machismo, but it has balls and smokes." --Seven 'zine, 1991
Sometimes even the most shlubby of bands rises to the occasion and manages to capture lightning in a bottle... this recording sounds simultaneously tossed off yet full-on. Wonderfully trashy in all aspects, the clanging bass, the fuzz vibrato guitar, the mid-lo-fi production, the line "I’m so damn impatient/why the fuck didn’t you call". A bit Embarrassment, a bit Volcano Suns, with a great power chord hook and that flying-off-the-handle vibe. Their second single didn’t come close. --Little Hits blog, five years ago
This isn't even a record that I own, much less having ever seen a copy; a long time ago I used to have "Monkey 101" written down on a list I kept in my pocket whenever I'd go to a record store, based upon the review I read in Seven, but after a while I forgot about it. The only reason I ended up hearing this single at all was because both the a-side and b-side were included on the "Tard & Further'd" compilation of early Siltbreeze tracks-- one of the few bands to have two tracks on the CD-- which is where the mp3s that I'm posting came from. Not the usual way I like to do things, of course, but it's hard not to be drawn to a record that quietly disappears into obscurity upon its first release, only to begin to gain some notice decade or two later. For that reason I figured I'd throw this thing out there anyway, even if I don't actually own the vinyl. (In a bit of irony, supposedly some of the tracks on the Siltbreeze CD are from the records themselves, and not the original tapes.)
This record popped back into my head again when few months ago on some crappy web site, Bob Nastanovich of Pavement posted a "Top 11" list of his all-time favorite 7"-ers, and nestled amongst the likes of Mudhoney and Minutemen and New Order and so forth was the Monkey 101 single. I thought, "wait a minute, I know that record", and so I pulled out my copy of "Tard & Further'd" and tried to imagine for a bit how Monkey 101 must've sounded to people back when every other band was a Blood Circus or a God Bullies. It's even funny now how "French Feelings" and "Now That You Have Left Me" stick out like a sore thumb on the CD, in between the Gibson Brothers and Jim Shepard's V3. A quick google search turned up an article from a bunch of years ago, telling the story about how-- a dozen or so years after this single was first pressed-- Paul Kowalchuk entered a Matador Records contest to meet Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices, and upon winning the contest was surprised to find out that Bob Pollard knew about this single and was aware of who he was. I'm not sure if that's an odd story or an endearing one, but these two songs are still quality a full two decades after they were first recorded.
"Now That You Have Left Me"