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Blonde Redhead: Masculin Feminin *

Track List

>I Don't Want U
>Sciuri Sciura
>Astro Boy
>Without Feathers
>Snippet
>Mama Cita
>Swing Pool
>Girl Boy
>Amescream
>Big Song
>Inside You
>Vague
>Jet Star
>This Is the Number of Times I Said I Will But Didn't - (previously unreleased)
>Instrumental [Live at Snacktime] - (previously unreleased)
>Slogan Attempt
>Swing Pool Instrumental [Instrumental] - (previously unreleased)
>Woody - (previously unreleased)
>(I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get Rocks Off
>Violent Life
>U.F.O.
>I Am There While You Choke on Me
>Harmony
>Down Under
>Bean
>Young Neil
>10 Feet High
>Jewel
>Flying Douglas
>Harmony [7" Version]
>10 Feet High
>Valentine
>Not Too Late
>(I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get Rocks Off [KCRW Session]
>Pier Paolo
>Country Song - (previously unreleased)
>It Was All So Sudden - (previously unreleased)

Album Notes

Liner Note Authors: Arto Lindsay; Kazu Makino.

Recording information: Brooklyn, NY (03/1994); Brussels, Belguim (03/1994); Hoboken, NJ (03/1994); Manhattan, NY (03/1994); New York, NY (03/1994); Random Falls, New York, NY (03/1994); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (03/1994); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (03/1994); Brooklyn, NY (03/1996); Brussels, Belguim (03/1996); Hoboken, NJ (03/1996); Manhattan, NY (03/1996); New York, NY (03/1996); Random Falls, New York, NY (03/1996); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (03/1996); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (03/1996); Brooklyn, NY (04/04/1993); Brussels, Belguim (04/04/1993); Hoboken, NJ (04/04/1993); Manhattan, NY (04/04/1993); New York, NY (04/04/1993); Random Falls, New York, NY (04/04/1993); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (04/04/1993); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (04/04/1993); Brooklyn, NY (05/1994); Brussels, Belguim (05/1994); Hoboken, NJ (05/1994); Manhattan, NY (05/1994); New York, NY (05/1994); Random Falls, New York, NY (05/1994); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (05/1994); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (05/1994); Brooklyn, NY (06/1995); Brussels, Belguim (06/1995); Hoboken, NJ (06/1995); Manhattan, NY (06/1995); New York, NY (06/1995); Random Falls, New York, NY (06/1995); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (06/1995); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (06/1995); Brooklyn, NY (09/1993); Brussels, Belguim (09/1993); Hoboken, NJ (09/1993); Manhattan, NY (09/1993); New York, NY (09/1993); Random Falls, New York, NY (09/1993); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (09/1993); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (09/1993); Brooklyn, NY (1994); Brussels, Belguim (1994); Hoboken, NJ (1994); Manhattan, NY (1994); New York, NY (1994); Random Falls, New York, NY (1994); Rivington Street, Newyork, NY (1994); The Magic Shop, Newyork, NY (1994).

Before they made intricate, transporting pop for labels like 4AD, Blonde Redhead took inspiration from '70s no wave and released singles and albums on Smells Like Records, the label of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. This connection between the bands led some to call Blonde Redhead derivative, but in hindsight -- and especially on this collection -- the elements that endured in their music and made it special are what stand out. Another installment in Numero Group's 200 Line reissue series, Masculin Feminin gathers the band's first two albums, Blonde Redhead and La Mia Vita Violenta, which arrived in a prolific burst of creativity in 1995, as well as a generous amount of singles, rarities, and radio performances. The set presents this bonus material alongside each album instead of isolating it, giving a more organic picture of the band's music during this era. Their first single, "Amescream," introduces the churning rock they'd perfect on their albums, while its B-side, "Big Song," bears traces of other early-'90s trends like grunge and shoegaze. The leap between these tracks and their Smells Like debut "Vague" shows just how quickly Blonde Redhead's range was growing; later, the soulful "Flying Douglas" 's most vital tracks. Meanwhile, demos such as "This Is the Number of Times I Said I Will But Didn't" have an exhilarating rawness that also surfaces in the band's albums. Blonde Redhead is perhaps the most straightforward album they ever made, with songs like "Astro Boy," "Mama Cita," and "Swing Pool" making the Sonic Youth comparisons understandable. Yet the way "I Don't Want U" shifts from its jazzy intro to explosive rock and primal scream vocals is still striking, as is the cinematic delicacy of "Girl Boy." Here and throughout Masculin Feminin, Blonde Redhead's sense of melody and drama sets them apart, especially on La Mia Vita Violenta. While it's not as consistent as Blonde Redhead, the band's range is still admirable as they span the hypnotic jam "U.F.O." and the sitar-laden "Harmony," as well as the desperately romantic "Young Neil," "Jewel," and "(I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get Rocks Off." More proof that the beginnings of the sound they'd pursue over the coming decades appears in a live performance of "Pier Paolo," which ended up on Fake Can Be Just as Good, and "Woody (4 Track Demo)," where the dreamy atmosphere and mechanical drums sound more akin to 23 than any of their '90s releases. Fascinating connections like these make Masculin Feminin a treat for anyone wanting to acquaint -- or reacquaint -- themselves with Blonde Redhead's formative days. ~ Heather Phares



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