1995 Alt/Noise/Indie Semi-megapost – Laughing Hyenas, Smile, Tar, Bivouac

Posted: November 21, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,


Laughing Hyenas were a Michigan blues/punk/noise band which featured ex Negative Approach vocalist John Brannon and former Necros members Todd Swalla and Kevin Ries. The band released all 3 of their LPs and both of their EPs on Touch and Go Records during the span of their decade long existence (1985-1995). John Brannon currently sings for Easy Action.

LAUGHING HYENAS –  Hard Times (Touch and Go 1995) 



Though exhibiting a strong leaning to the grunge sound of its contemporaries , Orange County trio Smile also incorporated pointed senses of melody and psychedelia into their powerful sound. The band released three LPs during their 1992 – 2003 tenure, all of which on the Headhunter/Cargo label. Smile was briefly signed to Atlantic Records, but the label released the band from their contract during the recording of their second album, Maquee. Recorded in the summer of 1994, the album was eventually released the following June by Headhunter.

SMILE – Maquee (Headhunter/Cargo 1995)



Another staple of the late 80’s/early 90’s noise rock scene was Chicago band Tar. Tar formed in 1988 out the ashes of Illinois punk band Blatant Dissent, of which vocalist/guitarist John Mohr and drummer Mike Greenlees were members. In addition to releasing three singles and three LPs on the Amphetamine Reptile label between 1988 and 1991, Tar logged extensive tour miles with the likes of The Jesus Lizard, Jawbox, and Arcwelder. The band jumped ship to Touch and Go for their 1993 EP, “Clincher” and their follow up LP from that same year, “Toast”. Although 1994 saw Tar calling it quits, in 1995 Touch and Go released a collection of songs recorded throughout the previous year and a half by Steve Albini . Appropriately titled “Over and Out”, the album marked the band’s final release.

TAR – Over and Out (Touch and Go 1995)

Over and Out.zip


Meanwhile , across the pond, the industry big wigs were in a scramble to find the English counterpart to America’s Nirvana. Discovered during this quest were a trio from Derby called Bivouac. Forming in 1990, the band released a handful of singles and one LP on U.K. indie label Elemental before being signed to Geffen in 1994. After recording two singles for Geffen and playing supporting slots for Fugazi and The Jesus Lizard, Bivouac released their major label debut, “Full Size Boy” . The album hit the streets in June of 1995 to a chorus of critical praise but an indifferent public. As with countless other talented bands of that era with, Bivouac’s fate was sealed shortly after when Geffen dropped the band from its roster. With no label and minimal following, the band broke up early in 1996.

BIVOUAC – Full Size Boy (Geffen 1995)

full size boy.zip

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