One of my favorite discoveries of 2009 is Green Monkey Records, a small local label that first started putting out rock music in Seattle when Nirvana was just a gleam in Kurt Cobain’s eye (or something like that), and managed to get out of the business just before they could have actually made any money. GMR founder Tom Dyer has resurrected the label with a vengeance, though; last year he released It Crawled from the Basement: The Green Monkey Records Anthology, a two-disc set with 47 tracks by 32 artists, covering all 44 Green Monkey releases. You might not have heard of Green Monkey before, but odds are you’ve heard of some of the pre-grunge artists on their roster: The Walkabouts and Fastbacks are probably the biggest names on there, but the discs are both chock full of treasures from the likes of Al Bloch, The Green Pajamas, Prudence Dredge, and of course Tom Dyer himself -- among many others. If you consider yourself a maven of Seattle rock history, you should absolutely get your hands on a copy of this (or if nothing else, stream it from the GMR site).
And Tom didn’t resurrect the label just to rest on his laurels, either: he recently released two solo albums: Songs from Academia Vol. 1 and Songs from Academia Vol. 2, which is currently streaming on the GMR site. Looking at the GMR blog, looks like we’ve got some new (or new-old) stuff from Al Bloch, Green Pajamas, and the Icons to look forward to in the coming months.
So, in honor of one of Seattle’s unsung (or less-sung) heroes of rock and/or roll, I thought I would dig up a couple of Green Monkey’s original releases to share with you, the Review Revue-reading masses. Let’s travel back in time and take a gander at what folks were saying about GMR in ’86 and ’87, shall we?
|Green Monkey Records 1986 Compilation|
|“A couple o’ decent tunes here, but most of it’s barfy enough to turn a monkey green.”
“Why not the Green Pajamas if ‘Seeing Eye Gods’? So they think so.” [I have no idea what that means.]
“So do I.”
“Most of this is 8 tons better than the shit on Deep Six.”
“Worth it for DangerBunny and Melting Fish anyway.”
“‘Peppermint Stick’ rules!”
|The Green Pajamas - Book of Hours|
|“One of the boys in this band has had some girl trouble in his life. Decent, respectable effort from these local folks.”
“2-1 + 26 are standouts for me. Consistent package.”
“It just sounds so much like ‘Revolver’...”
“Excuse me. It’s supposed to sound like ‘Revolver.’”
“Boring, I think.”
“I don’t much like it, persay! [sic]”
“I think this is a very commendable effort.”
“While there is nothing wrong with this record, I can do without it.”
“The Dukes of Seattlesphear.”
“A great disc by a great band. Gentle & romantic, rockin’ & psychedelic. It’s all here!”
“‘Stand in the light’ sounds like... Waterboys meets Midnight Oil. Hmm! Gut!” [I'm assuming that 'gut' is meant as the German word for 'good'?]
So there you have it: The KCMU jury was fairly split on the Green Monkey oeuvre at this juncture. Why don’t you go check it out yourself and see what you think?