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.
Uncle Bonsai, where have you been all my life? Or really, where where you when I was a Doctor Demento-listening and Weird Al-devouring kid who would have flipped for another band of highly-skilled musicians and singers slinging hilarious hooks left and right. (Although, frankly, this particular album cover would've turned my face bright red and I wouldn't have even been able to flip slowly past it at the record store, never mind buy it and bring it home.) But alas, I am somehow first learning about Uncle Bonsai 38 years into their career. Fortunately, it's not too late! They have a pretty recent album, punchily titled The Family Feast: The Study of the Human Condition, First World Problems, and the Lasting Physiological and Psychological Effects of Eating Our Young, which they released in 2017. And they're recording a new live album (checks calendar) NEXT WEEKEND at the Good Shepherd Center! I should go. You should definitely go. Hey, maybe some of the KCMU crew circa 1986 will be there! (Hopefully they won't yell "Where is 'Take an 'E' Chord"???)
"These folks are really very fun. Guitar and vocals only. Each song has a different feel so you should be able to fit this in between almost anything. LOOK OUT THE WINDOW AND YOU CAN GUESS WHERE THEY ARE FROM!"
"Well, not technically, but close enough . . ."
"Live at Backstage" [Hmm, date or anything? No? Or maybe at the time they lived at Backstage?]
"Do see em live."
"I'm looking out the window and there's a label over the Space Needle. Are you trying to confuse us? . . ."
"I won't deny wit, great pipes, general listenability. But some o' those harmonies are mighty C.S.N.ish." [Uhhhh, that's a "but"? Not in my book!]
"KEZX City!" [A brief bit of research suggests KEZX was a mellow, breezy pop station in Seattle in the '80s and this is meant to be a negative remark. But something tells me KEZX didn't play any songs with the word "sex" in the title.]
[Most of this label is ripped off, leaving us with just] "my ____ time through. And where is 'Take an 'E' Chord.' [Apparently it was titled 'Folk Song' and ended up on the band's next album, Myn Ynd Wymyn.] I'm very disappointed (and overly harsh?)"