A Season of Songs, day 29: Panik

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

Alright!  Today’s song is “Panik” by Bratmobile off their 1993 “Pottymouth” debut LP.

She’s the straightest girl in town
the one who makes me run
she’ll tell me all about her boy
then let me chew her gum

Back in the early 90’s as I was getting into punk rock, it was also the height of Riot Grrl.  I really got into Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, Team Dresch and other Riot Grrl type bands, but Bratmobile never really crossed my path.  Not sure why.

Then after moving to Pittsburgh I had the opportunity to catch The Cold Cold Hearts (at Luciano’s, I believe).  Cold Cold Hearts featured Allison Wolfe and Erin Smith from Bratmobile.  They put on a good, high energy show.  Allison was a huge ball of energy, jumping around and doing her cheerleader style acrobatics.  Picked up the “Yer So Sweet (Baby Donut)” 7″ – three songs that were pretty decent but had some lo-fi recording that didn’t do the songs any favors.  Many years down the road I would find a copy of their LP at Double Decker while He Taught Me Lies was on tour and I would pick it up.  Better recording, a little more energy makes for a much more killer record.

In the meantime when I first started dating Emma, it was shortly after Bratmobile reformed and put out “Ladies, Women and Girls”, which Emma had a copy of.  Plus she had some other random mp3’s. She put “Polaroid Baby” on one of the early mixtapes she made for me.  Nothing says love like – “Burn to the fuckin’ ground LA. Whitey’s gonna pay.  Whitey’s gonna pay.”  Then after reading Sara Marcus’ “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrl Revolution” I got interested in checking out Bratmobile a bit deeper and hunted down the full “Pottymouth” LP.

Bratmobile was a really interesting amalgamation of the scenes that they were coming out of.  They carry out the old “you don’t need to be good at your music” ideal of punk rock, but instead of the overblown noise of much hardcore/punk, they went along the stripped down route of other K/Kill Rock Stars/Pacific Northwest bands and then strangely they adopted that surf guitar which largely defines their sound.  Lyrics and attitude were similar to other Riot Grrl bands but delivered with a bit of sweetness.

Overall “Pottymouth” is a bit uneven as a record – but there are definitely some good songs on.  “Panik” makes the cut, along with “Fuck Yr Fans”, “Polaroid Baby”, “Cool Schmool”, “Kiss & Ride” and their cover of the Runaways “Cherry Bomb”.  Probably some others on there too.  Even though Bratmobile is the better known band, I think I would actually recommend the The Cold Cold Hearts LP over “Pottymouth”, but that’s not to say that “Pottymouth” isn’t worth a listen.

“We’re so cool yeah, yeah / Yeah we’re so cool, cool / We’re so cool yeah, yeah Fuck you too, cool schmool”


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