Monday, June 29, 2009

Porcelain Boys - Away Awhile... (1997, PopKid) & Jettison - Search for the Gun Girl (1999, PopKid)

This is the first module in a mini-series regarding Minnesota's long-departed Porcelain Boys, who I first spoke of in last week's post of their split single with Marble. Though there are several recordings that predate these albums, I thought I'd start here and work my way backwards, if only to save the best for last.

The Delwood, MN trio known as the Porcelain Boys released two demo tapes and two singles in their first incarnation, which from my estimation spanned the mid-80s to about 1990 or '91. Many of their non-local fans became acquainted with them via their cut "Sidetrack" appearing on the Lookout Records compilation, Can of Pork. In fact, everyone I know that has an awareness of that comp were instantly converted as Porcelain Boys fans. The lineup for these early releases was: Erik Kaiser (lead vocals, percussion), Tom Spence (guitar) and Scott Cook (bass). Yes, the P/B's possessed a singing drummer in their lineup, just like Genesis and Husker Du.

The band reconvened around 1995/96, first issuing the aforementioned split 7" with Marble, and shortly thereafter there bona-fide debut full length, the aptly named Away Awhile... It featured among it's twelve selections, mostly new material, along with overhauls of "back catalog" songs like "If You Were Real," "Bedtime," and "Squeaky Clean." For Away Awhile, the roster was overhauled too , with Erik remaining as the mouthpiece but switching from drum to guitar duties, and new drummer Jason Knudson in tow. All three contribute vocals here. The retooled tracks that were initially the product of the first P/B lineup, sound slightly blunted here, but are a wholly natural progression given such a lengthy hiatus. In short, the band wasn't exactly striving for any punk-points at this point, focusing more on harmonies and the like. Not bad at all for a first album.
Jettison were essentially Porcelain Boys Mach 3, retaining Erik and Scott, with yet another new guy manning the drum kit, Nick Larsen. It's no surprise that Search For the Gun Girl is a logical extension of Away Awhile, bejeweled with a hook-savy acumen and Erik's burgeoning singer/songwriting leanings. So far as I know, this was the last word from Jettison. Scott Cook's must current project, The Giant Slide.
Away Awhile...
01. If You Were Real
02. Five Feet From My Door
03. Icewarm
04. Donuts
05. Puffed
06. Hey Melissa
07. Bedtime
08. Green Skies
09. Broke
10. Sidetrack
11. Squeaky Clean
12. …Away Awhile 
Search For the Gun Girl
01. Arrive Alive
02. Good
03. Znuthin’
04. My Machine
05. Can’t Get Anymore
06. Fiona
07. In My Head
08. Until We’re Done
09. Take It
10. Jen’s Song
11. Last 



mike said...

wow, you've got a nice knack for writing. it is kinda crazy to see 20 years summarized in 4 paragraphs. nice job. mostly accurate, there are a comp or two missing in your summary of the second go round of the pb's and an unreleased recording done at chris pierce's technical ecstacy studio (the ergs! recorded dorkrockcorkrod and jersey's best prancers there and chris has recorded many other great bands also). Scott will love hearing that he's got some credit for singing... Keep up the posting! Let me know when you've put up everything you have and i'll see what i have to add.

spavid said...

Thanks. Should have more up by this time next week.

Unknown said...

ahhh, the memories...

kudos Spavid


Alan @ Popkid

subrec said...

Linked up at

Anonymous said...

Could you possibly re-up this and other Porcelain Boys stuff? I can't believe I've never listened to these before. Thanks!!!