Hey, with Bitch Magnet, Temporary Residence has already reissued one of Sooyoung Park’s bands’ bodies of work. And Seam are a fantastically underrated band — over the course of three albums for Touch & Go, they did the anguished loud/quiet/loud thing better than almost anyone. But there’s also a host of music from them that’s now out of print: from their debut album Headsparks to their final single “Sukiyaki,” also featuring a fine cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.”
Periodically, Norman Brannon will post a song of theirs to serve as a high-profile reminder of just how good this group was. He’s in a good position to know: his old band Texas Is The Reason occupied one side of a split seven inch with them. Led by vocalist Vanessa Downing, Samuel roared through blistering punk rock with abundant attitude and spot-on instincts as to when a bit of dissonance would come in handy. They released a handful of EPs during their time as a band, but those EPs contain music that’s aged impressively well.
Red Stars Theory
This Seattle group, led by singer/guitarist James Bertram (previously of Lync), boast a short discography that nonetheless encompasses a number of equally striking sounds, from the taut postpunk of their debut But Sleep Came Slowly to the expansiveness of 2000’s Life In a Bubble Can Be Beautiful. There’s also a John Coltrane cover in there somewhere.
Because their “Hate The Christian Right” was one of the best political punk songs of the 90s, and because they combined righteously angry punk rock with jarring moments of melody. 1994’s Personal Best remains a high point for musical vitality and intensity; the group’s entire discography, though, reminds us of the context in which these songs were made and the ways in which they remain deeply relevant today.
In the past year, Lookout! Records ceased all operations. One assumes that Lookout! releases by still-active artists (Ted Leo comes to mind) will make their way back into print (and whatever the digital-format equivalent is), but one also hopes that Lookout!’s efforts to document their local scene’s history — including the work of Crimpshrine, featuring Aaron Cometbus on drums. Melodic and off-kilter and catchy, they’re the kind of band whose influence still pops up in unexpected places.