The Rich Girls Are Weeping

01 February 2008

It's Friday in New York City, and last we checked, probably in the rest of the world too. And it should be snowing today, but it's not. Instead it's icky and rainy and pretty well meets the description of the kind of day that Cindy thinks is awesome for Bon Iver. Except, being Friday, more upbeat entertainment is required.

You see, Echo and the Bunnymen are Cindy's problem. I have two problems. The first is Nick Cave, in most iterations, but preferably on the 50/50 holler and croon. The second is the Judy's, the Best Ever New Wave Band Out of Pearland. Once, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (AKA I wrote a pretty fawning paragraph or two about Washarama. I also gifted a rockstar who will remain unnamed with a shiny CD copy because I thought he was special (in the head). I think I tried to intellectualize my interest in the Judy's by making some inferences about their continued value to the longevity of self-produced and self-released Texas indie rock and their status as founders of a certain variety of psycho surf new wave or some other kind of self-aggrandizing and academic-minded bullshit like that that I didn't really believe. I just wanted to sound cool; still, I can wax academic ad nauseum. This is all my women's studies degree is good for. Down with semiotics; the Judy's were fucking awesome. And I don't even know why, except that they were. I think the Judy's are what happens when you're three teenagers from the Texas coastal flats and you feel the need to rock. Or could also become Calla. But I guess there was less time to be jaded and affected in 1978, which was when Teenage Hangups was "released" to the delight of all at Pearland High. I'm sure it was completely rad, but my mental image is of David Bean sitting alone at a cafetorium table with his box of 7"s flanked by brownies and snickerdoodles belonging to the math club bakesale for which he was also managing the cash box. I so enjoy scripts! Me? I was 3 years old. Fast forward ten years to the summer of 1988 when my friend Denise and I had stupid new wave hair and were all about the Mixtape. Her sister's crummy C90s were the best. Enter Heaven 17, Soft Cell, deep catalog Depeche Mode, Danielle Dax, and the Judy's.

A vinyl pressing of Moo (1985) is one of the holy grails of Texas music. A certain ilk of independent record store is always likely to get their hands on a used copy of Washarama (1981), but somehow Moo, pasteurized and "fortified with vitamins," manages to evade captivity. I myself have seen it only once, high on the consignment wall of the late and lamented Austin location of SoundExchange Records. (Take that Baja Fresh and gentrification of the Drag! But does preferring my Guadalupe without the side of gutter punk mean that I'm part of the problem? I remember when I was 19 and still in school waiting on a light on the corner.) I vividly remember the $90 pricetag. In those days of pristine credit, anything beyond the requisite $22 import was an impossibility. Arguably, $22 should still be my limit on everything. Even though Washarama was home of "Guyana Punch" which hit Texas like Buddy Holly fronting Sparks, Moo was where the rest of the magic happened: ghosts in bikinis doing creepy watoosi, Wilma's g-string, femicidal narratives, gender reassignment, and "Teenage Millionaire," the ultimate ode to the Steff archetype, a year before James Spader put us in a preteen swoon.

At any rate, and at long last the Judy's have reissued everything. Teenage Hangups, The Wonderful World of Appliances, Washarama, Moo, David Bean's Modo Music, the Big Boys' first record, tee-shirts, vintage buttons (extant from 1981). Everything is available...except for Girl of 1000 Smells, which sold out in like 2.5 seconds. CD and vinyl. You bet I was all over that, mainly for Moo and ...Appliances, and collected in full just before Christmas, much to the "huh, what?" of friends who I texted with the news. Also, there's an awesometacular documentary at YouTube, and some kind soul took it upon himself to upload actual video from the 1981 Washarama release party at Houston's Agora Ballroom, which eliminates our need to bring you mp3s, which will probably make Jeff Walton, former Judy, very happy. Watch the videos here. Order your records directly from Wasted Talent.

The Judy's -- Guyana Punch (from Washarama)

The Judy's -- Underwater Fun
(from The Wonderful World of Appliances)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

While The Judys were amazing for their time period, my favorite Houston act from that era was Culturcide. They/he used to put on other people's songs and sing along to them with his voice running through an octive divider. It was hilarious and brilliant.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 8:31:00 PM  
Blogger McDrunk said...

I worked at Sound Exchange (92-98) and I recall an autographed Judy's album up on the wall, I wonder if that was the same one you've mentioned because $90 seems high unless it was signed...

Sunday, March 30, 2008 3:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I loved The Judy's too. Washarama and Moo were the soundtracks to late elementary school and junior high for me. I got nostalgic when I heard this story about The Judy's on KERA in Dallas yesterday and I think I've watched the clip of Guyana Punch 15 times since then.§ionID=1

Saturday, April 26, 2008 1:16:00 PM  

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