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By Johnny Angel

Un-Hidden Agenda:
Atlantic Records' toy-of-the-moment, its homo-core division, misses the financial and queerdom marks

Just got a new disc in the mail from LA "homo-core" stalwarts Extra Fancy, and threw it on the box with much anticipation. EF are highly touted in the Southland as a vanguard act, overseen by Porno For Pyros' management, a big deal in the East of LaBrea circuit, whoop-de-do. And as an indie act, they'd traversed the unclimbable ridge and permeated the playlist of MTV's 120 Minutes. All-reet!

As this is a PISSED! column, you can expect that Mr. Angel was let down--an understatement. Over-engineered with rivers of reverb soaking the newly major-labeled act in echo, EF is yet another example of an act whose agenda--not their repertoire--was their selling point. Atlantic Records, the band's label, has proudly unveiled a "gay" division in the company, and the label swooped down on the leading exponent of the same in the company's own backyard, and why not?

Yet, homoerotic themeology aside, I don't see why this group is so attractive. The band's lead singer has trouble carrying tunes when they exist at all, and the live energy that makes them a compelling act onstage is nowhere to be found. Their pounding mania simply has disappeared. The kicker is a cover of the glam-metal Nymphs' anthem "Imitating Angels," neatly embalmed with cameos from the Nymphs former chanteuse, Inger Lorre, and X's Exene, both of whom are drowning in the delay-laden mix. Cring-y time.

Extra Fancy and their label mates Glue have a hook above and beyond music, and hence a record deal. But I gotta tell you, I'm baffled that a record label expects big sales from gay-oriented rock bands, as any stroller through the Castro, West Hollywood or UCSC campus can tell you. For the most part, high-energy dance music is the fare de la nuit in the gay community, so the market share this label courts is hardly tangible.

Nope, if it's homo-core you seek, check out Frisco's Tribe 8, a lesbian rock combo whose bark has bite, and who rock unremittingly hard. True, they lean heavily on the didactic tactic, and my testes fear for their lives every time singer Lynn Breedlove lays out her man-loathing lyrics, but good hard rock should make you a little uncomfortable at least, and there's none of that namby-pamby Olivia Records/Holly Near hateful homespun-ness anywhere near here. Tribe 8 delivers, and my only fear for them is that they are too often lumped in with these trifling lightweights on the grounds of same-gender seek, like their horrible homies, Pansy Division, quite possibly the worst band in the world.

A major label fucks up once again. Surprised?

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From the April 25-May 1, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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