Hitsville's Chicago Alternative-Rock Tipsheet, Summer '93 Edition | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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Hitsville's Chicago Alternative-Rock Tipsheet, Summer '93 Edition


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Background: Dual-guitar, Crazy Horse-y alternative vets.

Buzz: Perhaps fading; moderate base of critical support not appreciably expanding.

Goods: Dependable guitar-meistering and evolving songwriting on third Atlantic album, El Moodio.

Sales: Sketchy; El Moodio a minor college hit but failed to chart on Billboard's Top 200.


Background: Pop-soul-rock combo fronted by difficult, visionary Jeff Lescher.

Buzz: Once very high, less so today, but group still has friends in high places; recent short musician profile.

Goods: White Soul, a 1991 indie spectacular, universally ignored; new Pop Tarts more difficult, still rewarding.

Sales: Nil.


Background: Unpleasant underground rockers descended from Scratch Acid and Rapeman; current favorite sons at deep-underground Touch and Go records.

Buzz: Moderately high in select u.g. circles, almost nonexistent beyond; band disdains major-label inquiries.

Goods: Connoisseurs dig the Lizard's groove, but harsh harsh harsh sound and lyrics may keep them an acquired taste even in post-Nevermind era.

Sales: Rumored 40,000-50,000 annually, high for ultra-indie rock.


Background: Retro power-pop trio led by unironic singer-guitarist-songwriter Jim Ellison

Buzz: Press is consistently favorable but nothing special.

Goods: Two tuneful, well-produced albums on Mercury, working on third.

Sales: International Pop Overthrow (1991): 180,000. Destination Universe (1992): 80,000; second-album single (booming "What Girls Want") failed to break nationally.


Background: Duo of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker evolved from synth-pop outfit into industrial powerhouse.

Buzz: Press positive, if slightly uncomprehending, after acclaimed wowser performances at '92 Lollapalooza.

Goods: Five scabrous albums since '86.

Sales: Awesome 600,000 copies Sold of '92's uncompromising Psalm 69.


Background: Brash, talkative Wicker Park singer-songwriter.

Buzz: Verh high; Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, Village Voice, etc all fall for volatile smarts-talent-looks triple threat.

Goods: Debut Exile in Guyville a tour-de-force song cycle on trouble with boys, sex, self.

Sales: No word.


Background: Difficult Chicago sludge rockers descended from Friends of Betty.

Buzz: Minimal but respectful. Recent signing with Sub Pop records should start some noise.

Goods: Uncompromising but textured band-funded CD got them deal.

Sales: Not applicable.


Background: Offbeat dance band based on creative guitar and horn work.

Buzz: '92's Duende had hand warmly shaken by those who heard it.

Goods: Fun-filled fourth album, Cavale, just out on respected indie Bar/None.

Sales: 5,000 for Duende. Cavale's done that already.


Background: Unapologetically psychedelic alternative rockers led by tall, ambitious Billy Corgan.

Buzz: Fairly high: 120 Minutes guests last year, "hot pick" by ultrahep manager John Silva (Sonic Youth, Nirvana) in new Rolling Stone.

Goods: New album on Virgin, Siamese Dream, consolidates their blend of swirling guitars and treated vocals.

Sales: Sold impressive 300,000 of indie album Gish.


Background: Winning cool-country quintet led by singers Diane Christiansen and Steve Dawson.

Buzz: None nationally, save for being runners-up in Musician magazine Best Unsigned Band contest.

Goods: Strong vocals, performances on locally circulated tapes; Dawson's songwriting skills could provide fluke break.

Sales: Not applicable.


Background: Well-dressed Touch and Go prodigal children turned hard-rock song masters.

Buzz: Extremely high; press barrage impending.

Goods: Ferocious major-label debut, Saturation.

Sales: Reliable, 50,000-area seller on Touch and Go; Geffen holding breath on extremely radio-friendly Saturation.

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