Words + Guitar (+ Beats + Skronk)

What mattered and what splattered in pop, 1997

9) Apples in Stereo, Tone Soul Revolution Apples frontman and Elephant 6 recording-genius-in-residence Robert Schneider takes his little band of adorable popsters where bedroom indie rockers fear to tread: the 24-track studio. The quartet emerge with an irony-free record best heard on headphones.

10) Beulah, Handsome Western States A California boy slacks through a summer in the Midwest, then comes back to San Francisco, where he meets an overtalented multi-instrumentalist in a Financial District mail room. The pair spend two years recording shitty guitars on a four-track in a tiny rehearsal space. Out pop 12 songs about thrift-store losers, being drunk, and leaving your heart in Kansas. Ooh ooh oohs? Yep. Catchy choruses? You betcha. Hooks? Galore. Don't be fooled by the lyrical non sequiturs; this is as smart as indie pop gets.

Silke Tudor's Top 10 Reasons That a Dramatic Reading of Lord Martine's Biweekly Examiner Nightlife Column Should Be Incorporated Into Life's Daily Routine

1) The Guidance "Fashion should be painful"; "Don't even think about going to a club that doesn't have a line or crowd of at least 15-20 at the door"; "There is nothing worse than a club bunny who doesn't have enough coins in her Prada pocketbook for a cocktail"; "Reserve Gap and Eddie Bauer for casual Fridays" (from the June 26 column "Tips for the Unhip From King of S.F. Nightlife"); "You can never be too rich, too thin, or too sexy"; "Consider getting a new tattoo or body piercing" (Aug. 7, "Sex Within Tantalizing Reach Once More").

2) The Poetry "Saks Fifth Avenue Men's Store/ What a bore/ Parties I adore/ This one was such a snore/ Couldn't take it any more/ Annoyed me to the core/ I dashed for the door/ Don't go if you're poor/ But if you're a fashion whore/ Visit Carter on the fifth floor" (Aug. 21, "Let Them Eat Puff-Pastry Topiaries"). "Birthday Soiree/ Turned 28 this day/ Guests danced to Chip DJ/ And ravished on Sushi Groove raw did they/ Pals Charles McAlister, Micaya, Tom Pitts, Tim Graskin, and Juan Garcia looked smashing must say/ Past 9:30, Julie Tolleson and Linda Luchetta did stay/ It's breath, my angel Janel takes away/ A safe, sweet home I've found in the bay/ Thank you my friends, much love and best wishes I send back your way" (Sept. 18, "Know Your Limits, Gather Up Your Wits").

3) The Idiom "P-Cubed": "Professional Party Person, not Premiere Party Promoter (although they're fabulous, too)"; "Club Kid": a P-Cubed in training; "Messy Bessy": an amateur (Sept. 4, "How to Be a Professional Party Person"). "Disco Nap": 30 or 40 minutes of "power shuteye" (Nov. 27, "Trannys Strut; Disco Naps; Burbs Alive"). "Double MT": making me tired; "Double MC": making me crazy (Oct. 16, "For Some of Us, It Is the Morning Paper"). "Full Feng Shui": "all things fierce," not the practice of symbiotic furniture arrangement (Dec. 11, "Festive Times for Sourest of Scrooges"). "Hair-oine": as in Ron Pernell (Nov. 13, "Be Naughty or Nutty for the Holidays"). "Club Clueless": the "nightlife impaired"; see No. 1 above (June 26).

4) The "foodies" that are "yummy for the tummy" (Sept. 4).
5) And the "classic drinkies" (Sept. 18).
6) The Insight "Like the world of fashion, the club scene has an evolutionary process. Old ideas are recycled with a new twist" (July 10, "More Nightlife Lessons for Newcomers").

7) The Heritage "My mentor, Cynthia Robins" (Oct. 16). "Barbie, pink feather boas, blond hair, flawless figure. She speaks to me" (June 26).

8) The Agenda "It's club-personalities-a-ganza when I host Anthem's Pride Weekend kick-off at 1015 Folsom" (June 26). "Official Passport Party (produced by yours truly)" (Aug. 7). "Please accept this as your personal invitation to tear it up at the official Macy's Passport Cast and Crew Party" (Aug. 21). "Passport Party '97 Update" (Sept. 4). "Come and carouse with the cast and crew of Passport '97" (Sept. 18). "Tune in to Live 105 every other Thursday, for the Lord Martine Party Report" (Oct. 16).

9) The Look "Our dress is simple, body conscious, and monochromatic, we look fresh off the catwalk"; "Bedecked in my metallic steel blue security jacket"; "a pair of baggy jeans, a tight logo T, and my sneaks" (June 12). "Giving a command performance in military chic"; "Break out the Versace swimwear" (June 26). "Feeling malformed in Mizrahi"; "Todd Oldham-dipped touche"; "my silver plastic jeans and cerulean-blue fun fur jacket!" (July 10). "Hit the Stairmaster, slip into something body conscious" (Aug. 7). "In full Tiffany-blue brocade Amadeus drag, I was living the dream" (Aug. 21). "I bedecked in a cropped black patent motorcycle jacket, fringed black stretch pants, velvet Ozbek tights, and a Billy Idol blond spiked up do" (Nov. 13).

10) And Finally, the Wisdom "It's lonely at the top, but then again, it is crowded at the bottom" (Nov. 27).

Dave Clifford's Top 10 Music Things of 1997

1) Swans, Soundtracks for the Blind Once again, and for the last time, Swans brilliantly isolate the refrain, the most limiting element of music. Over the course of 15 years, Michael Gira and an assortment of co-conspirators have taken repetition to its extreme aberration; to the point at which music ceases to represent a song and instead focuses fragments of harmony and rhythm into an entrancing infinite. Far from exhibiting the "brutal antipathy" most writers associate with their music, Swans are a celebration of life to the point of annihilation.

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