We herewith induct Little Annie into the Bombast Hall of Legends! She graces the show with an interview to accompany a full-length special on her music. She's been at this for 30 years, many of which are chronicled in her book, You Can't Sing the Blues While Drinking Milk--it is true, by the way, that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame library has a copy; it's the only library in WorldCat that does. I've never spoken to anyone who had one foot in the Hall of Fame and another in the Hall of Legends, and this was a special pleasure.
I'm grateful for all site visitors, but I want to give a special welcome to first-timers, you know, those who wouldn't have found us but for Little Annie. Feel free to poke around, there's plenty of stuff that might interest you. There's some information on the Hall of Legends here, and a surprisingly current rundown of the Bombast "concept" here. My posts are mostly for me, since I don't have another blog--this will hopefully serve as a memoir, or maybe even the replacement "me" post-Singularity, but some of them might make interesting reading for someone. If that's not you, it's cool, feel free to scroll down to the bottom of this post where the audio is.
Still reading? Okay! Especially on Induction Nights, I like to let the music speak for itself, since rambling gets me into trouble. But I do have a personal story to share. It's "how I discovered Little Annie's music," so it's a story about the old days.
At KDVS all the new records we added to the collection bore a blank sticker on the front cover, so that deejays could comment on the music. Supposedly, the intent was that people would use this space to describe or classify a record's contents--just to be helpful, so that hardcore punk deejays, let's say, didn't waste a lot of time pulling and previewing records that turned out to be ambient new age, let's say. [Or vice versa!] Looking back, this wasn't such a great idea. People should have been exposed to more surprises. I know I should have been.
Anyway, every now and then the "sticker discourse" would move past the usual small talk ["metal crossover," "better than ever," "remember when this band was good?"] and take on a life of its own. Here's one of those times. In 1987, we received a white-label test pressing of this record from One Little Indian [what a VIP status we had, for a 5000-watt station 6,000 miles away!]--we weren't sure of the song titles, so we could barely label the disc, but I guess someone in the "music director" circle must have known of "Annie Anxiety" from her Crass period, so there was that.
All I remember is that song A2 ["Down by the Station," as it turns out] ignited one of the most intense "sticker debates" I witnessed in my time at KDVS. More and more stickers had to be added as the flame war continued, and if I remember correctly it carried over to the back of the generic sleeve. What was all the fuss about? The instrumental backing, "naturally." I've written previously about the arguments we used to have, which must seem silly now to everyone except those who still think that music dies a little bit whenever someone powers up a drum machine. But at our "college rock" station [at the time it could still be called that, without irony], in our sleepy little town, there were plenty of people who thought that way, and they were pissed that someone had the temerity to make a record that didn't sound to them like music. It's odd, in retrospect, that of all records it should have been this one that triggered such an outburst. Maybe Neubauten and Test Dept. skated by because they weren't "dance" music or something; it's certainly plausible.
Lost on these people was the fact that the record actually did feature live musicians with some pretty solid pedigrees [but then, without a proper sleeve, how could anyone know?]--it wouldn't surprise me if people who actually liked London Underground and African Head Charge records found themselves "asking rhetorically" if any talent or imagination had been necessary to make this thing. Also lost on the complainers was the argument that ripped jeans, a Marshall stack, and a "bad attitude" add up to a cliché of their own. There really wasn't much for us to do back then, so when we weren't partying with each other we diverted ourselves by screaming ideology at each other. God I miss that time.
I was only 19, and it was my first year at the station, so I observed this raging colloquium without participating, but I did know two things. I liked the vocal, and I had always felt [as did the singer, though I wouldn't discover this for a long time] that machines were soothing and musical. I didn't know at the time who this "Annie" person was, but I was on her side then and have been ever since. It is a good place to be.
BOMBAST playlist, 2013 August 21, 2100-2300:
format = "Song Title" [Artist, Album, Label]
- "Sit on Down" [Little Annie, Songs from the Coal Mine Canary, Durtro / Jnana]
- "Everything and More" [Little Annie, Volume 4, Volume]
- "As I Lie in Your Arms" [Annie Anxiety Bandez, As I Lie in Your Arms, One Little Indian] / "Physical Evidence"
- "Le Mangers Heureux" [Little Annie, In Dread with Little Annie, On-U Sound]
- "Gown of Tears" [Little Annie & Baby Dee, State of Grace, Tin Angel]
- "Third Gear Kills" [Annie Anxiety, Soul Possession, Southern]
- "Down by the Station" [Annie Anxiety Bandez, As I Lie in Your Arms, One Little Indian] / "Physical Evidence"
- "Smile" [Little Annie & Paul Wallfisch, Peace (for Mom), Brainwashed]
- "Thirteen Things I Did Today" [Little Annie, Interiors, Invisible]
- "Chicken Delight" [Little Annie & The Legally Jammin', Little Annie & The Legally Jammin', Italic]
- "I Think of You" [Little Annie, Short and Sweet, On-U Sound]
- "Rise" [Annie Anxiety Bandez, As I Lie in Your Arms, One Little Indian] / "Physical Evidence"
- "The Birdie Song" / "Dreams and Light" [The Wolfgang Press, Queer, 4AD]
- "Private Dancer" [Little Annie & Paul Wallfisch, When Good Things Happen to Bad Pianos, Durtro / Jnana]
- "Hello Horror" [Annie Anxiety, Barbed Wire Halo, Crass]
- "Lullaby" [Little Annie, Brain in the Wire, Brainwashed]
- "Hier Encore" [Annie Anxiety Bandez, Jackamo, Southern]
- "Bless Those (Little Annie's Prayer)" [Little Annie, Short and Sweet, On-U Sound]
next time: dare we hope for another induction?