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The Hissyfits
Letters From Frank
Top Quality Rock and Roll


I'm not sure what type of statement the Moldy Peaches are trying to illustrate with the whole "New York City's like a graveyard" sentiment, but if the city is indeed a cemetery, the ghosts of NYC's rock and roll past are working their way into the souls of oblivious youths with maybe only a passive interest in guitar music. Hey kids, listen up: vintage is in. If you thought those self-consciously nerdy, Rivers Cuomo-bred hipsters in '97 with their Lucky Charms ringer t-shirts and tight brown corduroy trousers was retro enough, I dare you to take a walk down the Village, or even 'the new Village', and not spot ridiculously expensive vintage re-sale clothing shops on every block crawling with hopeless, skinny, post-Limp Bizkit indie kids carrying a small plastic bag full of Suicide vinyls they bought from the record store next door.

And as phony and pretentious as the whole scene is, I'd kill for it to happen here in Chicago. No, I'm not interested in the trendiness of it all. Really, I'm not. I just genuinely like bell bottoms, platform shoes, spiky hair dyed crazy colors, liberally conservative piercings (trust me...), and god damnit if I don't like some good retro rock and roll that comes with it all.

The Hissyfits, for example, are a product of their environment. I have no idea how they dress, or where they shop, or what combination of chicken, broccoli, mushroom, and pineapple on their thin-crust, folded-over New York pizza they like. But their songs--not that there's anything ancient about them--scream retro. And they're quite fashionable, really.

All-grrl punky-type bands seem to be all the rage right about now, and that's kind of cool. But the Hissyfits succeed where Fabulous Disaster falls short and Betty Blowtorch (gag) miserably fails. Whereas the latter look to Axl Rose's decent-sized cock for inspiration, the Hissyfits look back a little further and get off on a suspiciously tight hybrid of the Go-Go's and Mission Of Burma. And more importantly, they actually know how to craft a melody. The songs on Letters From Frank are sharp, dressed to kill, and begging for snotty hipsters to listen to them.

Of course, the record is destined to go unnoticed. I adore it, but I'm sorry--can anyone tell me whatever happened to Tuscadero? Or Cub? Or my personal favorite, Splendora? Oh dear god, remember Splendora? I didn't think so. But if commercial relevance is what we looked for in bands, we'd never listen to our beloved Apples In Stereos or Cibo Mattos, now would we? After all, social relevance is much more important than commercial relevance can ever be. Cool will always be relevant, and the Hissyfits are absolutely happening. Let's just put it this way--if the Hissyfits were pants, they'd make my ass look real nice.

A.R. Roy

Track Listing:

  1. Something Wrong
  2. Baby
  3. Superstar
  4. Tired
  5. 911
  6. Doin' Fine
  7. So Sweet
  8. BloodSugarSister
  9. Gold
  10. Giant Ants
  11. Lock N' Load
  12. Today Is The Day

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Mike Doughty



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