search by
artist  album title  keyword
trouser press
What's New
Trouser Press Magazine
Message Board
Contact Us

FITZ OF DEPRESSION (Buy CDs by this artist)
Fitz of Depression EP (Mumble Something) 1989
Fitz of Depression (Meat) 1993
Let's Give It a Twist (K) 1994
Pigs Are People Too (Negative Feedback) 1994
Swing (K) 1996

Combining the construction-zone screech-metal sound favored by the more caffeinated members of Olympia, Washington's underground community with the deconstructionist philosophy of hired assassins on the trail of rock cliché, this trio resounds with a mightily unsettling force. Not quite as single-minded as, say, the Melvins or Karp, Fitz of Depression surrounds listeners with similar endurance-test parameters — with the additional dimension of a perplexing allegiance to new wave singer/songwriter pop.

The band's early singles (including an eight-song 7-inch debut) gave rise to a lot of knowing looks, given the Fitz's propensity for covering songs like Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny" and Elvis Costello's "Red Shoes" — in layers of feedback, that is. But even amid the radical revisions, there was precious little animosity in these outings. As evinced by 1993's all-original Fitz of Depression (another eight songs, this time on a 10-inch), any hatred inherent is probably self-directed. Singer/guitarist Mikey Dees (Mike Nelson) — who possesses the most potent mumble/roar combination since Blue Cheer packed it in — propels misanthropic screeds like "H" and "Raw Sewage" into the midst of a boggling bass/drums tangle. Sometimes, he can't be bothered to do even that, so a fair number of the songs turn out to be instrumental — most notably the mocking "Think of Words." Unremittingly ugly — and that's high praise indeed!

On Let's Give It a Twist, Nelson wipes some of the sludge from the crevices of the Fitzmobile, enabling a faster zero-to-sixty acceleration, but tempering some of the neck-snapping lurches in the process. New bassist Brian Sparhawk (who replaced the more monolithic Justin Warren) is a catalyst in moving things along, particularly on heads-down Britpunk smashers like "Sitting in a Room" and "Power Shack." Not quite as forbidding as its predecessor, but magnetic nonetheless. The non-stop fusillade of singles that followed exposed Nelson's skinny-tie fetish to the hilt: not only did Fitz release versions of two different Costello tunes ("Miracle Man" and "Welcome to the Working Week"), the band went so far as to B-side the latter on a cover of Joe Jackson's "I'm the Man," wrapped in a copycat picture sleeve. As usual, the band puts on a more surly face for the larger-scale Pigs Are People Too, which reprises the metal-punk sound of Let's Give It a Twist, but with enough nihil-delic heft to resurrect remembrances of Poison Idea past. Husky as they wanna be.

Swing shifts a dozen new songs, including "No Movie Tonight," "Shimmy" and "Connect the Dot."

[David Sprague]