Music Reviews


lowFLOWs: The Columbia Anthology (‘91-‘93)

Columbia Records

If pioneering punk act Black Flag was the middle finger of the early ’80s, then Minutemen (and Damn-the-Man bassist mike watt – yes, his name is supposed to be lower-case) was the middle finger on the other hand of anarchists everywhere. The Minutemen lasted until 1986 when lead singer d. boon died in a car crash. Watt gave up music after that, but was awakened from his musical coma by then Black Flag bassist (and soon-to-be spouse) Kira Roessler for the short-lived bass duo dos, later forming the name-challenged band fIREHOSE. Twenty years later, Columbia Records has re-packaged and re-released basically everything fIREHOSE ever wrote while with Columbia. lowFLOWs: The Columbia Anthology (‘91-‘93) is an expansive 45-track, two-disc set that is loaded with extras and is a must for anyone who is tired of hearing that the Gin Blossoms is an “alternative” band.

Tracks like the energy-infused “Blaze” (and instrumental version of “Blaze”), the aptly-titled instrumental “More Famous Quotes,” and brooding “Witness” showcase the expansive talent and true “alternative” nature of the early ’90s. The tracks aren’t neatly polished; the vocals are spoken/sung and the live bonus tracks are fuzzy and sound completely made up. Somehow, it also sounds completely cohesive. It’s like an audio Jackson Pollack painting. It’s a mess, but there’s a reason for it. That’s what made fIREHOSE so good and why this is one of the most overlooked and underrated bands from the early ’90s. It embodied the “alternative” culture that was popularized by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and 500,000 knockoff bands.

fIREHOSE is one of those groups that once you hear them, you’ll ask yourself how you ever could’ve missed them. Now is your chance to get connected with one of the great alternative bands of the 90s. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

mike watt:

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