Saturday, March 28, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 12 - Tugboat Annie/milf (1993, Cash Cow)

Not counting the Goo Goo Dolls (and god forbid Green Jelly) Tugboat Annie and milf comprised the creme de la creme of Buffalo's '90s alt-rock scene, but unlike the aforementioned, their collective quest for the brass ring, or for that matter anything resembling national notoriety, was woefully out of reach. A downright shame if you ask me or anyone else who was remotely aware of them at the time. That makes this 7" pairing all them more symbolic, and furthermore, appropriate.


Helmed by the raspy throated Mike Bethmann, Tugboat Annie's earliest endeavors were wonderfully, melodic examples of the Pixies (and perhaps more significantly, Nirvana) soft verse/loud chorus formula, employed flawlessly on their opening cut "Nine More." It will no doubt bring warm and fuzzy memories of the band's shows held in their homey Main Stream loft in downtown Buffalo. Tugboat eventually emigrated to Boston, MA, but ironically, as the old adage of "absence makes the heart grown fonder" goes, the band's Buffalo fanbase grew exponentially after their departure. A trio of releases on Big Top Records, found them evening out their trademark dynamics with ever-improving songwriting that was just wrought enough to move the quartet to the outskirts of the neo-emo movement, at least for certain backpack toting listeners. Check out the Myspace link above for album tracks and links to downloadable demos and live shows. BTW, a Tugboat Annie songs (I believe, "More" from The Space Around You), was featured on a Monster.com commercial. Ah, those were the days.

Got milf? Buffalo sure did, at least throughout a good swath of the early-to-mid '90s (before most of us actually knew what the now infamous acronym meant). One record scribe likened the trio music to a Husker Du 45 played at 33. Though not the most spot-on description of their sound, milf dispelled a sinewy, distorto guitar sprawl with jawdroppingly tuneful sensibilities bands from the Queen City have experienced before or since. Numerous short form recordings (tapes and 7"s) came and went, but their flooring debut album ha ha bus! on Big Deal Records found them at their creative apex, with the commendable antidope to folllow shortly thereafter. Represented here are two exemplary cuts from the ha ha bus ! ra. More milf to follow on Wilfully Obscure. Original copies of this single may be available by going here.
Tugboat Annie
01. Nine More
02. Try
milf
01. in the behind
02. ceases to beav
http://www72.zippyshare.com/v/96182539/file.html

6 comments:

Margaret said...

thanks a lot for this post, i miss these two bands

Dave Hogan said...

Wow, that takes me back.

I recorded some of the live shows floating around out there. They were on the cusp of becoming a national act, but I don't think that was what they wanted.

The Professor said...

Has anyone heard what became of Mike Bethmann after Tugboat Annie folded up shop? Such a quality songwriter, yet it seemed like he willfully up and disappeared following their split. I heard follow-ups on the whereabouts of Jon Sulkow and Jay Celeste (the lead guitarist who came aboard down the road after this single was released). But Bethmann became a kind of phantom. Sad.

The Professor said...

Has anyone heard what became of Mike Bethmann after Tugboat Annie folded up shop? Such a quality songwriter, yet it seemed like he willfully up and disappeared following their split. I heard follow-ups on the whereabouts of Jon Sulkow and Jay Celeste (the lead guitarist who came aboard down the road after this single was released). But Bethmann became a kind of phantom. Sad.

Elmer said...

I'm enjoying the WNY music posts. There was so much great music coming out here around that time.

For what it's worth, check out https://www.facebook.com/wnyfm. We're putting up a WNY video a day. There's also a twitter feed if you want to access it that way.

Another FB page is at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bflo-Pnk-10-The-Buffalo-Punk-Documentary-Project/366856159657. It's oriented a little older.

The trailer, btw, is at http://youtu.be/3cyJXQ-ujj8.

So, hope you don't mind the self-promotion here. I suspect you'll enjoy the content, though!

EP

CashCow said...

Hello, there are 18 copies left of the original split 7" on green vinyl. These are the last known copies, and they can be found here: https://cashcow.bandcamp.com/album/tugboat-annie-milf-split-7