WOWEE ZOWEE (9)
February 28, 2018
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the subject of our favorite albums of the Nineties (1994–2003). A new installment in this series will appear each Wednesday during 2018.
PERSONAL BEST | TEAM DRESCH | 1995
I was half-formed, still forming, I was nineteen and at the faltering end of the last straight relationship I’d have in my life, I cut my own hair and wore nothing that cost more than four dollars and I was giddy with punk, not the mohawked-and-studded-boy-pogoing kind but the kind that was scrappy, smart, and feral, like me, or like I hoped to be. Enter Team Dresch: a band I’d never heard of from Portland, who materialized like a vision of my future one night in the basement dining room of a college food co-op.
A punk rock band of four queer women! I had never seen such a thing, and the collective might of it made the universe quiver. They were ferocious and exuberant in their baggy men’s jeans, their cut-off Dickies with tube socks, their layered T-shirts and thermals, their sneakers and combat boots, their shaggy hair swinging in their faces as they jumped and thrashed. Yet they were also funny, goofy, friendly, unscary. After they left town the next morning, the strangest feeling nested in my chest: I missed them. I wanted them to stay. I wanted to follow them.
When their debut album Personal Best came out two torturous months later, I listened to it over and over, lying on my twin mattress on the floor of my room. Jody Bleyle sang in a clear howl and Kaia Wilson’s voice was like coarse sugar. She’s amazing, they sang, her words save me. The previous year for me had been soundtracked by Exile in Guyville and Rid of Me, records that burned with the frustration of heterosexual failures; Liz Phair’s plaintive, hard voice and Harvey’s taut fury had reflected my own confused disappointment. But Personal Best roiled with political rage, ecstatic love, familial worry, defiant joy, a call to arms for an army of lovers. Personal Best was a different animal. And so, I realized, was I.
WOWEE ZOWEE: Stephanie Burt on UNISEX | Anindita Basu Sempere on UNDER THE PINK | Mark Kingwell on DUMMY | Bill Nericcio on AMOR PROHIBIDO | Sherri Wasserman on HIPS AND MAKERS | Mimi Lipson on THANK YOU | John Overholt on BEN FOLDS FIVE | Jordan Ellenberg on GET LOST | Chelsey Johnson on PERSONAL BEST | Marilyn Snell on MAXINQUAYE | Dan Fox on DIFFERENT CLASS | Devin McKinney on IF YOU’RE FEELING SINISTER | Alice Boone on MTV UNPLUGGED (ALICE IN CHAINS) | Rob Wringham on SPICE | Joe Alterio on BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE | Jason Loeffler on SECOND TOUGHEST IN THE INFANTS | Rick Pinchera on EITHER/OR | Josh Glenn on THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST | Jennifer Krasinski on SUPA DUPA FLY | Sara Ryan on DIG ME OUT | Luc Sante on MEZZANINE | Molly Wright Steenson on I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE | Franklin Bruno on ENGLAND MADE ME | Michael Campochiaro on IS THIS DESIRE? | Adrienne Crew on CALIFORNICATION | Drew Daniel on I SEE A DARKNESS | Veda Hille on THE SOFT BULLETIN | Vanessa Berry on TEENAGE SNUFF FILM | Tom Kipp on GET SKINTIGHT | David Hirmes on DOPETHRONE | John Hilgart on YORK BLVD. | Deborah Wassertzug on JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT | Adam McGovern on INVINCIBLE SUMMER | Brian Berger on TIRED SOUNDS OF… | Michael Grasso on MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN | Jen Collins on HURRAH | Flourish Klink on THE TEACHES OF PEACHES | Judith Zissman on TALLAHASSEE | Lauren Oliver on SOUND-DUST | Jason Cohen on IS THIS IT | Matthew De Abaitua on THE RAINBOW CHILDREN | Jenny Davidson on TIME (THE REVELATOR) | Crystal Durant on LIVE THROUGH THIS | Gordon Dahlquist on GARBAGE | Erin M. Routson on WASHING MACHINE | Carl Wilson on TEMPTING | Jessamyn West on ALL HAIL WEST TEXAS | Kaleb Horton on STREETCORE | Tom Nealon on BAZOOKA TOOTH | Erik Davis on DOPESMOKER | David Levine on FEVER TO TELL | Deb Chachra on MASS ROMANTIC.
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