Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
This week introduces us (or me, anyway) to the Vancouver, BC band Animal Slaves and their singer/lyricist/artist (that's her artwork you're looking at right now) Elizabeth Fischer. Over the past half hour I've gone down a bit of a Fischer rabbit-hole – without having yet listened to her music – and based on what I've read, she seems like a remarkable person. A multidisciplinary artist and writer and unapologetically independent human, she inspired quite a lot of praise and admiration from those who knew her and her work. Part of the reason I was able to find such praise is that Elizabeth Fischer died in the fall of 2015, choosing to end her own life (legally) in Switzerland after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. You can read an eye-opening and candid interview with her here, and a moving and highly personal blog post and several comments on it here. (I suppose one benefit of announcing your demise ahead of time is that people get to say all the stuff they would've wished they could have said if you'd just up and died suddenly.) While she was alive, Ms. Fischer was very generous with her own music online. You can hear quite a lot of Animal Slaves' music – including this album and some unreleased tracks – at her website, which is thankfully still online as of this writing.
Most of the crew at KCMU, like those in the know in Vancouver, seems to have been quite enamored of Animal Slaves' music. I hope she would have enjoyed knowing that, but she seems like the sort of person who would probably crack a smile at the negative comments, too...
"Quirky & rhythmic. From Vancouver BC. Pretty fun."
"This band eludes superlatives altogether. I am speechless."
"This record's so good . . ."
"Yawn . . ."
"Cool, I guess!"
"(After 5 Nov 85 Local Music Showcase at Rainbow . . .) I wish I could amplify my previous sentiment. I can't. Wow. Wow . . ."
"Fun? Fun! Try wretched, that's what I did when I listened to it straight through."
"Reminds me of Pere Ubu/David Thomas. Good!"