Portland’s Class of ’92

While Seattle suffered in 1992 from an overload of grunge; quietly, three hours to the south, Portland Oregon was producing a fresh crop of it’s own bands. With the record labels combing the Pacific Northwest for the next Nirvana or Pearl Jam no longer would Portland based groups like Greg Sage and the Wipers, Poison Idea and Dead Moon labor in relative obscurity for years. Portland’s class of ’92 included groups like Crackerbash , Sprinkler, Heatmiser (with Elliott Smith), Hazel and Pond.

POND

Pond

Originally formed in Juneau by Charlie Campbell (guitars/vocals) and Chris Brady (bass/vocals) they move to Portland because Alaska’s liquor laws kept the underage Campbell from playing in bars. A year later they’d add drummer Dave Triebwasser and begin to polish their act. Opening for Sprinkler and recommended by them they signed with Sub Pop.

Thought Sub Pop is known as a grunge label Pond was more of a pop band. Their debut, the self titled Pond, was produced by the Posies Jonathan Auer and owes it sounds to him. Songs move easily along and “revel in a post-punk pop glory.”

Their sophomore album The Practice of Joy Before Death largely repudiates pop and moves towards emo-core of bands like Polvo and Sunny Day Real Estate.

Leaving Sub Pop for major label imprint Work (Sony Music) they release Rock Collection in 1997.

“The album both preceded emo and did it better than most of the bands that currently flail about in the tricky territory of rocking guitars and overtly twee broken hearts…

full of loud, tautly controlled melodies that lyrically escape the pat boy-loves-girl-he-can’t-quite-have theme that can make emo unbearable to those over the ago of 17.”

Considered the groups masterpiece it’s commercial failure would doom the group. Thought the group is broken up it’s members are still active musically. Charlie Campbell released the solo album Goldcard in 2003; while Chris Brady teamed up with Steven Birch of Sprinkler as Audio Learning Center and has released two albums on Vagrant Records, 2002’s Friendships Often Fade Away and 2004’s Cope Park.

Pond Discography

Wheel (12″) (Sub Pop Records,Germany) 1992
Pond (LP) (Sub Pop Records) 1993
The Practice Of Joy Before Death (LP) (Sub Pop Records) 1995
The Practice Of Joy Before Death (CD) (Sub Pop Records) 1995
Rock Collection (Work) 1997

Tracks Appear On:

“Cinders” Curtis W. Pitts: Sub Pop Employee Of The Month (CD) (Sub Pop Records) 1993
“You Pretty Thing”, “Cinders” The John Peel Sub Pop Sessions 1989-1993 (CD) (Strange Fruit) 1994
“Sundial” That Virtua Feeling – Sub Pop And Sega Get Together (CD, Promo) (Sub Pop Records) 1995

 

Pond – Pond (1993)

Playing Time: 45 minutes 14 seconds

 

Pond - S/T

 

1. Young Spender (4:46)
2. Perfect Four (3:31)
3. Gone (5:17)
4. Agatha (4:44)
5. Tree (4:33)
6. Wheel (5:04)
7. Spots (4:41)
8. Foamy (5:03)
9. Grinned (3:32)
10. Filler (4:03)

Buy Pond from Amazon.com

Buy Pond from Sub Pop Records

 

Pond – The Practice of Joy Before Death (1995)

Playing Time: 53 minutes 17 seconds

 

The Practice of Joy Before Death

 

1. Side Road (3:42)
2. Mubby’s Theme (3:31)
3. Union (3:53)
4. Magnifier (3:52)
5. Patience (1:51)
6. Ol’ Bluehair (2:12)
7. Sundial (4:21)
8. Glass Sparkles In Their Hair (3:00)
9. Van (2:58)
10. Happy Cow Farm Family (5:15)
11. Carpenter Ant (2:43)
12. Artificial Turf (3:30)
13. Rock Collection (9:44)
14. Gagged & Bound (2:45)

The Practice of Joy Before Death Part 1

The Practice of Joy Before Death Part 2

Buy The Practice of Joy Before Death from Amazon.com

Buy The Practice of Joy Before Death from Sub Pop Records

 

HEATMISER

Heatmiser was another member of Portland’s Class of ’92 and is best known for launching the career of Elliott Smith . Originally begun by Smith and Neil Gust as a duo while they attended Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts; after graduation and returning to Portland they added Brandt Peterson (bass; later to be replaced by Sam Coomes, frontman of Quasi), and Tony Lash (drums).

Heatmiser Blessed with two talented song writers in Smith and Gust; the pop-oriented songs of Smith contrasted sharply with the darker songs penned by Gust; thought for subject matter both touched on anger, alienation, loneliness and despair. The band released its debut Dead Air in 1993 and followed it up with both a five-song EP entitled Yellow No. 5 and a second album, Cop and Speeder in 1994, but by 1996 Elliott Smith had already released two critically acclaimed albums, 1994’s Roman Candle and 1995’s Elliott Smith. It was becoming apparent that Heatmiser was no longer his first priority. He would later on dismiss

the group’s music as “loud”, and his own singing on their first album as “an embarrassment”… and that being in Heatmiser changed the songs he was writing at the time into “loud rock songs with no dynamic.

Later in his career Smith would note that his blatant dismissal of the band while doing interviews for his solo albums undoubtedly hurt Neil Gust and led to discontent between them. Combined with the success of those solo records and the tensions between Gust and Smith the band would fold following the 1996 release of Mic City Sons.

Since the groups demise in the fall of 1996 Gust has gone on to play in the band No. 2; while Coomes has carried on as half of Quasi with his ex-wife, Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, and has also appeared as a guest musician with both Built to Spill and Sleater-Kinney. Lash has produced albums for groups like Death Cab for Cutie, the Dandy Warhols, and the Minders; while Peterson has gone on to teach anthropology at Michigan State University.

Cop and Speeder unlike Yellow No. 5 EP and 1993’s Dead Air begins to move the group away from indie rock conventions and instead moves them more towards blues- and soul-based material.

Heatmiser Discography

The Music of Heatmiser [tape] (no label) 1992
Stray+2 (7″) (Cavity Search), 1993
“Sleeping Pill”/”Temper” (7″) (Cavity Search), 1993
Dead Air (Frontier) 1993
Yellow No. 5 EP (Frontier) 1994
Cop and Speeder (Frontier) 1994
Mic City Sons (Caroline) 1996
“Everybody Has It”/”Dirty Dream” (7″) (Cavity Search), 1996

Tracks Appear On:

“Rest My Head Against the Wall” Zero Effect: Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony) 1998
“Mightier Than You” [Demo] Puddlestomp
“Mightier Than You” [Live] 25 Years On the Edge: A Benefit For Outside In
“Bottle Rocket” [Live] Live at the X-Ray
“Junior Mint” Pet Sounds, Volume 1
“Stray” Kamikaze: Music to Push You Over the Edge

Heatmiser – Cop and Speeder (1994)

Playing Time: 43 minutes 52 seconds

 

Heatmiser - Cop and Speeder

 

1. Disappearing Ink (2:27)
2. Bastard John (2:57)
3. Flame! (2:47)
4. Temper (3:33)
5. Why Did I Decide To Stay? (3:01)
6. Collect To NYC (2:55)
7. Hitting On The Waiter (1:56)
8. Busted Lip (3:52)
9. Antonio Carlos Jobim (3:10)
10. It’s Not A Prop (3:37)
11. Something To Lose (4:10)
12. Sleeping Pill (3:08)
13. Trapdoor (3:23)
14. Nightcap (2:56)

Buy Cop and Speeder from Amazon.com

Buy Cop and Speeder from Frontier Records

 

HAZEL

Hazel

“From the first, Hazel was a bit of an oddity, a trio of young musicians accompanied by a much older dancer, Fred Nemo, whose role is roughly comparable to that of Bez in Happy Mondays.”

Besides Nemo the band consists of Peter Krebs (guitar, vocals), Brady Smith (bass) and Jody Bleyle (drums and backing vocals).

1993’s Toreador of Love features a handful of bouncing songs, notably “She’s Supersonic” and “Everybody’s Best Friend” but overall the album exhibits a penchant for starting and stopping chaotically.

1995’s Are You Going to Eat That? finds the groups future clouded. Jody Bleyle is now also drumming with Team Dresch (Donna Dresch co-produced the album and is also co-owner of the Candy-Ass label) while Krebs has begun to play the occasional solo show. While the band’s sound on the album is fuller, and Bleyle’s vocals are more prominent the band’s pop sensibilities has been de-emphasized in favor of indie rock while

“the album’s most striking songs “Crowned” and “Ringing in My Ears” are all but acoustic.”

Hazel Discography

A Blank Florida 7″ (Pacific Wonderland Records)
Heida 7″ (Candyass)
J. Hell 7″ (Cavity Search)
Jilted” 7″ (Sub Pop Records, Germany), 1993
Day Glo / Constipation 2 Track Promo (Sub Pop)
Toreador of Love (Sub Pop) 1993 + 1995
Are You Going To Eat That? (LP, Album) (Sub Pop Records) 1995
Airiana EP (CandyAss/Caroline) 1997

Tracks Appear On:

“Shag Rug” Tarantistic Seed Plot Of A World To Come (7″) (Road Cone) 1992
“Truly” Curtis W. Pitts: Sub Pop Employee Of The Month (CD) (Sub Pop Records) 1993
“Tragedy” Fourteen Songs For Greg Sage And The Wipers (CD) (Tim/Kerr Records) 1993
“Storm In My House” Our Band Could Be Your Life – A Tribute To D Boon And The Minutemen (CD, Album) (Little Brother Records) 1994
“Mr. Magazine Man” Drinking From Puddles: A Radio History (CD) (Kill Rock Stars) 1999
“Mr. Magazine Man” Drinking From Puddles: A Radio History (2xLP, Album) (Kill Rock Stars) 1999

 

Hazel – Are You Going to Eat That? (1995)

Playing Time: 36 minutes 30 seconds

 

Hazel - Are You Going to Eat That?

 

1. Lazy H. (1:52)
2. Green Eyes (2:36)
3. King Twist (2:45)
4. Ascension (2:51)
5. Quick Jerk (3:05)
6. Sparkle Finish (2:41)
7. Blank Florida (2:51)
8. A Perfect Pot (4:08)
9. Chasing After James (2:18)
10. Crowned (3:02)
11. I’m Shattered Again (2:14)
12. Calliope (2:56)
13. Ringing in My Ears (3:11)

Buy Are You Going to Eat That? from Amazon.com

Buy Are You Going to Eat That? from Sub Pop Records

 

 

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3 responses to “Portland’s Class of ’92

  1. Post your Updates @ Totally Fuzzy

    Hi,

    If you would like to publish your updates on the Totally Fuzzy blog, you can do so yourself now by posting the updates as a comment on this page.

    Just letting you know ;)

    Cheers

    =M=

  2. Pond is playing a show to pay homage to iconic Portland, Oregon club Satyricon on October 23, 2010. Tell your friends.

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