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PUSSY GALORE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Feel Good About Your Body EP (Shove) 1985
1 Yr. Live [tape] (no label) 1986
Exiles on Main Street [tape] (no label) 1986
Groovy Hate Fuck (Shove) 1986
Groovy Hate Fuck (UK Vinyl Drip) 1987
Pussy Gold 5000 EP (Buy Our) 1987
Right Now! (Caroline) 1987
Sugarshit Sharp EP (Caroline) 1988
Dial M for Motherfucker (Caroline) 1989
Historia de la Musica Rock (Caroline) 1990
Corpse Love (Hut/Caroline) 1992

The aesthetic dilemma presented by intentionally offensive and/or consciously anti-musical groups is probably best settled by a critical rumble in the alley. There's certainly no rational way to discuss the potential merits of a record like this Washington, DC aim-to-offend quartet's four-song 7-inch debut (Feel Good About Your Body) or the eight-song 12-inch Groovy Hate Fuck, a raucous one-take no-rehearsal guitar-army tossoff. Setting the question of their atrocious non-musicianship aside, self-consciously puerile compositions like "Teen Pussy Power," "Cunt Tease" and "Dead Meat" are nothing more than smears of self-satisfied juvenilia. You're supposed to be repulsed by Pussy Galore, but that certainly doesn't make this pathetic effluvia worth hearing. Cheap thrills for vulgar sissies.

Relocating to New York and adding a fifth member, Jon Spencer and his crew issued two limited-edition cassettes at the end of 1986: an infamous home-brew version of Exile on Main St (in its entirety) and a live set called 1 Yr. Live.

With ex-Sonic Youth drummer-turned-metal-pounder Bob Bert in the lineup along with stalwarts Julia Cafritz (guitar, vocals), Neil Hagerty (guitar, vocals, organ) and Cristina (Martinez; guitar, organ), the five-song Pussy Gold 5000 12-inch displays improved — not good, but better — playing and sound. On the studio tracks, that is. The live "No Count" is as wretched as ever. It's still trash, but not quite as rank as before.

Following further personnel changes (Cristina defected to the Honeymoon Killers), Pussy Galore wound up a quartet: three guitarists (they've never had a bassist) and Bert. The full-length Right Now! album, co-produced (without credit) by the group, Steve Albini and Kramer, contains 19 songs of almost interesting garage raunch. The LP brings Pussy Galore into the realm of artistic consideration but reveals them as a fairly bad noise band. (The CD adds six previously released tracks.) The 1987 Groovy Hate Fuck album — released on the Membranes' Vinyl Drip label — is a compilation of the first three records.

Sugarshit Sharp continues Pussy Galore's journey further into the realm of Art; the A-side is a lengthy, sample-ridden cover of Einstürzende Neubaten's "Yu Gung," the most entertaining portions of which are the repeated interpolations of Public Enemy's Flavor Flav saying "Don't believe the hype." Indeed. Side Two contains five grunge tunes of a somewhat higher grade than usual.

The cover art of Dial M for Motherfucker looks like it comes straight from a '70s exploitation flick (an idea that would find its ultimate realization with the Velvet Monkeys' Rake, which features Cafritz); the album's sound is more flagrantly pretentious noise than fake garage. As the product of honest bourgeois artistry rather than arch posturing, it's the band's best album. Standouts include the lurching "Understand Me" and the one- joke "Dick Johnson." The CD includes the five songs from the B-side of Sugarshit Sharp.

On the other hand, cover art triumphs over content in Historia de la Musica Rock, an album done up to look precisely like one of those ultra-cheap Spanish "classic rock" compilations. (The cover photo is atrocious; the liner notes are all in Spanish; the list of other artists in "the series" includes the Rolling Stones, Blodwyn Pig, Murphy's Law and the Cro-Mags.) The record itself — more under-rehearsed ersatz grunge played by a trio of Spencer, Hagerty and Bert — is only intermittently entertaining.

[Ira Robbins / Glenn Kenny]
   See also Boss Hog, Honeymoon Killers, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Velvet Monkeys