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The Odd Couple
Although Black Fag -- a punky, jazzy outfit featuring L.A. drag queen Vaginal Davis and Beck's mom -- was featured in SPIN last year, the group disbanded before it ever recorded (and some skeptics claim it never really existed). Still, in addition to her active film career (ATA will screen three of her shorts on Friday, Nov. 24), Ms. Davis has her hands full musically. Leader of Cholita, the Female Menudo, she's also the vocalist for Pedro, Muriel, and Esther, a drag speed-metal trio which, in its newest incarnation, consists of irate white militia men with ZZ Top beards. The threesome recently recorded their debut LP in Chicago with a different breed of angry white man: indie rocker Steve Albini. Via phone, Ms. Davis reports that Albini -- who once made a joke out of "big black tools" -- fills his own tight jeans quite nicely; she also notes that Albini is a sweet gentleman (even brewing hot lemon tea for her) and sings the praises of his numerous "humpy, cornfed Midwestern" boy interns. The fruits of the Davis/Albini tryst -- titled The White to Be Angry -- includes songs like "Closet Case" ("Blow-dried hair and a lot of cologne/ He calls his own condo on the cellular phone"), "Rich Jewish Husband," and the deeply touching Danzig tribute "Mushroom Head." Expect it sometime early next year.

Insurgent Country
Named after a Carter Family song from the 1930s (and the title of Uncle Tupelo's debut), the new "alternative country quarterly" No Depression is one of the finest zines we've seen in a long time, an informative look at the "Americana" or "twangcore" movement (or whatever it's being called this week). Last summer, editors Peter Blackstock (a senior editor at The Rocket) and Grant Alden (of L.A.'s Huh) decided to complement the popular "No Depression" music message board on America Online with a magazine. "We were working almost backwards," Blackstock says. "Most things are moving the other way technologically these days, but there's a sense of historical documentation when you have something in print, and that exemplified the seriousness with which we hold this music." The result is a well-written 34-page magazine with a cover story on the phenomenal Son Volt, concert reviews (Merle Haggard, Steve Earle, Shane MacGowan??!!), "regional features" (including a profile of San Francisco's own Steve Owen from Bottomless Joe), and record reviews aplenty, including reissues by important old-timers like Buck Owens. The second issue will hit your local independent record store in late December. For a one-year (four issues) subscription, send $12 to PO Box 31332, Seattle, WA 98103, or e-mail NoDepress@aol.com.

By Johnny Ray Huston, Sia Michel

 
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