Review Revue: Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

Review Revue
01/18/2018
Levi Fuller

Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.


I always love discovering obscure and forgotten musical gems through this series, but every once in a while it's fun to find an honest-to-goodness classic, an album that you have a hard time imagining hearing for the first time (even though I must have heard it, once, for the first time, several years after it was released), a game-changing, idiosyncratic, utterly unforgettable and, at this point, probably wildly overplayed album that you still have etched on your heart for all time. Yes, it was 2004, and a little band from Montreal called The Arcade Fire had just -- wait, no! Sorry, got my wires crossed.

But something about the utter joy with which seemingly the entire DJ staff at KCMU received this record -- and the lengthy tenure in Heavy rotation implied by several of the comments -- called to mind that "instant classic" of our own millennium as a point of comparison (which I'm pretty sure was still in rotation when I started volunteering at KEXP a year after its release). And while the commentary on the cover of Funeral is likely limited to a glowing review by our own Don Yates and maybe a couple little chimes of appreciation, here in the debut album by Wisconsin's own Violent Femmes we can really just immerse ourselves in the delight of discovery and a new favorite thing.

By the way, Violent Femmes are totally still a band! They released a new studio album in 2016 (it probably rules), and were live in the KEXP Gathering Space last summer (watch that performance here).

"Wow! Very fresh sounding. Poppish in an early Elvis Costello sort of way."

"No: 14" [This probably means 'do not play side 1 track 4,' which was probably a good idea.]

"I like this and I hate everything! -SC"

"This should be in heavy!"

"SC hates me (and everything else), but I agree with her anyway."

"It's an instant classic! No synths . . . what's wrong? Couldn't afford one? Everyone else seems to be able to! This is fresh, clean, quirky pop/rock/folk, with excellent instrumentation! The best in a long time!"

"This is great rock + roll! Try 'Prove My Love'"

"Kiss off!"

"Yeah!!!"

"Bongos? Who're they? (Just joking boys . . .)"

"Kiss off! Is a big yes!!!"

"What's this big fascination with the phrase: 'Kiss Off'? Try the song . . ."

"Gone daddy gone - oh yes!"

"Yes! A touch laid back, but still hot."

"'Prove My Love' sounds a lot like 'Good Girls Don't' by the Knack."

"This gets better + better!!"

"Actually, I'm starting to dislike it more and more . . ."

"If this goes out of H I'm going on a Homicidal rampage - I can see it now - the 'Dark Side of the Moon' of KCMU H!"

"Dare I say best debut of '83? Best LP?"

"I dare you . . ."

"DEJA VU . . ."

"I like this record a whole lot."

"Almost time for this to go back to H!"

"Vocals reminiscent of Lou Reed - sounds overall kinda like Velvet Underground but with more raw energy ."

"Don't say that to Gordon Gano!"

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