Reviews

Autoclave Autoclave LP

The first thing I heard about AUTOCLAVE as a teen in the early ’90s was that they were an “emo” band, whatever that means! I mean I guess all music can be considered emotional? This is not paper-bag fall-on-the-floor flail, however! Featuring the otherworldly voice of Christina Billotte (SLANT 6, QUIX*O*TIC, CASUAL DOTS, etc.) and the wild guitar styles of Mary Timony (HELIUM, WILD FLAG, EX HEX, etc.) this is a DC supergroup in my mind, but this was their high school band I think!?? It definitely has a sincere seeking feeling, some sort of post-Revolution Summer dream haze, maybe that’s why the mailorder lumped it in with the early ’90s emo scene but I would place it in the realms of post-punk explorations if you must genre-ize every sound. For fans of ONE LAST WISH and WIRE?! Christina’s voice is truly beautiful, the lyrics are so perceptive and thoughtful and her basslines remind me of WIRE songs and Nikki’s and Mary’s chopped up guitars over it are a textural dream. They are able to create this urgent yet dreamlike quality that is quite a feat. This is a vinyl version of a CD that came out a few years ago that compiles the 10″ and 7″ with a couple unreleased songs, including a super sick cover of the Nintendo classic “Paper Boy!” This is truly the sound of my youth, a mixtape in my walkman skating round town, reading about the wild DC punk scene in Erin Smith’s Teenage Gang Debs and Tobi Vail’s Jigsasw fanzines and wanting to telepathically transmit myself to a zone where teenage girls knew about DEAD MOON and the WIPERS.