Agony Shorthand

Monday, March 31, 2003
NUMBERS vs. THE ROGERS SISTERS….You may have noticed that I’ve been discussing new as in from the last year or so! – releases this past week. This might not appear significant, but I have really been mostly ignoring the current rock underground in favor of reissues and non-rock genres for – oh, I don’t know – 4 or 5 years now. Hey, did I miss anything? One band I certainly did not miss are NUMBERS – one of my favorite bands going, San Francisco’s #1 synth-driven no-wave robotcore dance band. Their searing, 20-minute, 10-song “Numbers Life” CD was my favorite record last year, reissues or new stuff. Buy it!! So why does this brand new 6-track CD-EP “Ee-Uh!” give me significant pause? Well, I was afraid that with a little recognition this band might start to milk it, and damn it, folks – I think they’re starting to milk it. First, their whole post-punk robotic thing is very cool sounding, but with singer Indra Dunnis doing her I-am-a-computer voice again and again and again, song after song, you begin to wonder if the rock and roll law of diminishing returns is already kicking in (and at such a young age, too!). Let’s mix it up a little next time, OK? Second, talk about lack of value for money – for my $9.98, I got three so-so studio tracks and three walkman-recorded live tracks, all of which have already been released as studio numbers. Plus some irrelevant, repurposed liner notes obviously not written for this release. 11 minutes of music, tops. I hope this is an aberration or I’m gonna start boycotting all new bands again. Or maybe all bands, period.

Yet on a more hopeful note, and from the same label (Troubleman Unlimited), there’s the debut CD “Purely Evil” from NYC’s ROGERS SISTERS. No, this isn’t perfect either, but these spazzy dancefloor mommas and papa are also throttling a similar bass-heavy, early 80s New York City territory that mined punk rock and avant-disco (a la LIQUID LIQUID, ESG, BUSH TETRAS) in equal measure. Don’t worry rockers, they’re leaning to the former, and it works. These 11 tracks vary in quality, as records often do, but I’ll put the thumping “Black Anniversary”, “I Dig A Hole” and the ass-shaking title track up against any comers in the fiscal 2002-03 ass-shaking awards. Of course I heard this CD for the first time only moments after they’d rocked my town – and you know this would likely be a slamming live experience if they can pull it off the way they do here. I read that they’re taking the noise to Europe as we speak – the British are absolutely going to drop a load over this stuff! Check your NME cover next week, and then the backlash a year from now.