Review Revue: Babes in Toyland – Spanking Machine

I will be honest: I never really got into most of the more aggressive, female-led bands of the late ’80s and early-to-mid ’90s (whether Riot Grrl bands or those who, like Babes in Toyland, inspired them). As a young male in his teens, I probably just found them too intimidating, if not downright terrifying, which I’m sure is my loss. It’s interesting to see the DJ responses to this first LP from a band that became so influential to so many. I’m sure Kat Bjelland and the gang would be glad to see the positive comments, although they’d probably have some opinions on the idea of a couple of male DJs summing up the world of “girl grunge” and Babes in Toyland’s place in that world. I’m sure they’d have been amused by the 1993 opening of the woman-owned store Toys in Babeland (now just Babeland) that, if spanking machines exist, probably sells them.

BiT singer Kat Bjelland is currently, I think, in a band called Katastrophy Wife, though their Facebook page is pretty quiet. Wikipedia says their “third album was due for release in 2008, but, as of 2011, has yet to surface.”

“In the ever expanding world of ‘girl grunge,’ L7 is tops, Dickless is bottoms, Frightwig is now not that much better than Dickless, and Babes in Toyland is considerably better than the current Frightwig, but not as good as L7. Got it? They shriek, they rock. Not much variety, but the drums are cool. Mish.”

“Hey Robert, what about the Lunachicks?”

“Yeah, Lunachicks are very swell!”

“I’d much rather hear Dickless or L-7. M is generous.”

“Try 1-1, 1-4. 2-1 (red dot) is the best here. 2-3, 2-4.”

“Robert sums this band/LP up well. I agree. I didn’t like 1-3, but agree that 2-4 (their ‘hit’ single’) is swell. Great cover, too! Produced by the ubiquitous Jack Endino.”

“I’d rather have Dickless on bottom.”

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