Every town, big or small, has pockets of creativity congregating together. Sometimes those pockets bloom and their talent halfway immortalizes them. Other times, they're mostly overlooked or short-lived (bet you're tired of hearing me say those words, huh) and leave only vague traces of their existence. Here tonight is such case, specifically one from Toronto that I was lucky to find even one webpage on. Granted, it was their label Wavelength's website, but sometimes not even that pops up... Venus Cures All formed after the break-up of another Toronto band called Chicken Milk. The bio I found made references to Drive Like Jehu as far as similar sound goes, and actually that's pretty dead on. It's funny, I got this home, started playing it at 45 rather than 33, and instantly heard unabashed late 90s emo vibes flowing through the room. "Wow," I thought, "quick, melodic bursts, super catchy, this is great." Then the chipmunk vocals came in and I was admittedly disappointed, turned down the speed. But not to worry, the record was made in such a way that it's worthwhile at both speeds. Definite Jehu, alt. rock and emo vibes all strewn together beautifully. I'll break it down how I see it: Jehu in instrumentation, alt in vocals, emo in... phew, all that melancholy attitude. At least that's how it is on the first 7". Once you get to the second, it's a little more complicated. On the first side, the songwriting becomes a lot more elongated with lengthy verses and an emphasis on a heavy tone, but the second second side first has a dissonant, Unwound or EVOL-era Sonic Youth feel with a pop leaning, and then a return to the themes found on the first record. Yeah... all over the place, just like my perspective.
Man, I should also say that this record is really falling apart. The sleeve is beautiful - fancy parchment with brilliant golden silk screening, or maybe something even fancier - but it's threadbare as they come. The sleeve just barely hanging on to each side by the corner... In any case, I saw it and thought "looks pretty emo."
Like I said, information was scarce. This band seemed to be deeply involved in the Toronto punk scene during the late 90's, and they apparently broke up around 1997. They have this double 7", a CD and possibly a compilation track to show for themselves. The band covers Mission of Burma's "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" if you're into that. This was a split release between Wavelength and Aural Borealis. After a little more digging around, I saw that they opened for Seam once; all the more reason to enjoy them if you ask me. In the liner notes, the band politely suggests that you crank the treble to 10 prior to putting this on... It's out of my hands.
On a surprisingly vital side note, the title of this release proved difficult to pin down. One spyware-ridden page claimed "Paradise by the Highway," but another said "L.B.S.," which makes more sense considering that's on the back sleeve. After an eeny, meeny, miny, moe session with myself, I chose the latter. Incidentally, check out this radio station's playlist for June of '95 in which this record was featured. Just about encapsulates this sound and era, I'd say.
P.S.: Shortly after finishing this entry, I went to slip the record back into its plastic sleeve only to have that last corner piece I mentioned earlier rip... Rest in two pieces.
Venus Cures All - S/T 2x7" MediaFire