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C.A.T: Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (1983)
I was just thinking about V.F. recently–No, not Seattle auto insurance company, Vern Fonk–Wisconsin’s favorite acoustic folk/punk trio Violent Femmes. Gaining a cult following around college campuses in the early 80s, the Femmes utilized a unique style of teen angst to propel this underground favorite, going on to inspire many.

Formed by Vocalist/Guitarist Gordon Gano, Bassist/Backup Vocalist Brian Ritchie and Percussionist/Backup Vocalist Victor DeLorenzo. Violent Femmes were discovered playing on a street corner by James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders. Honeyman-Scott asked if they wanted to open for them and so it began.

Signed to Slash Records, the Femmes recorded their debut album in 1982. Filled with primarily acoustic numbers about feelings of awkward love and anger, the debut would prove to be the band’s defining album. Notable for popular radio staples such as; “Add it Up,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” and the group’s most memorable tune “Blister in the Sun,” the album was cheap and sloppy but instantly infectious.

Gano pens all the songs here but as talented as a songwriter as he is, he isn’t much of a singer or guitarist (again, part of his charm) and DeLorenzo’s percussion (which is mostly snare drum) is basic, but Brian Ritchie’s bass work is excellent. I’ve never heard such intricate acoustic bass and the way he plays it is more reminiscent of lead guitar. The bass really ties the music together.

Though they never achieved significant mainstream success, aside from the occasional song in a commercial or appearance on TV’s Sabrina, the group still plays from time to time to a loving cult audience. Founding drummer Victor DeLorenzo left in 1993, but Gano and Ritchie still play together and the album will live on forever.

Favorite Tracks: “Blister in the Sun,” “Please Do Not Go,” “Prove My Love”