Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
The Violent Femmes self-titled debut is part of a small club of albums that helped define the “alternative” rock genre. They brought a unique sound and angsty lyrics that was accessible and relatable. Focusing on an acoustic-oriented setup (with occasional electric guitar and in one memorable case, xylophone) which stemmed from their days busking on the streets of Milwaukee, the three-piece band played their music as loud as those instruments could handle. Brian Ritchie’s pounding acoustic bass and Gordan Gano’s chunky guitar combine with Victor DiLorenzo’s ramshackle drums to create a fat and gritty sound that was practically unheard of at the time. Couple that with Gordan’s unique nasally voice and lyrics chock full of with horny teen anxiety and you have a recipe for an album that shouldn’t work, but very much does to the point that it’s practically generation-defining.
The Violent Femmes’ first album is another one of those that I’ve purchased multiple times over the years. First a ratty used CD copy, then the deluxe edition a few years later, then a vinyl copy. It’s responsible for my love of chunky acoustic guitar sounds and has really inspired me to do more with less. You don’t need all the fancy instruments and production. As long as your heart is in it and you give it all you got, it’ll sound good. I mean really, Victor’s drum setup included a literal bucket and it slaps! It’s an album I come back to again and again and seemingly can’t get enough of. There’s so much to love here beyond the hit singles and if you somehow HAVEN’T heard it, go now and give it a spin. You will NOT be disappointed.