Excellent

LITTLE ORPHAN ANI

TYLENOL TALENT

STUPID BLOODY STUPID!

Interview

All the News That Didn't Fit

On the Record

The Olympia Connection, Or Lack Thereof

Excellent

The Numbness Is Just a Bonus

Hiphop City

WEEN ARE THE WORLD

Soul by the Pound

EXCELLENT REAL ROCK QUOTES

Incest is Best

The Rise and Fall of the N-Word

DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Tell the Truth Anyway

You Don't Own Me

Summer Lovin'

Stagger Lee

Music to Lose Your Job By

Boy, You Sure Can Take the Fun Out of Music

CINEMATIC CLICHE

Stuart Braithwaite From Mogwai

Going to New York City?

THE CHURCH OF COLTRANE

A Whole N'other Level

Who Says Morrissey Fans Don't Get Laid?

ISSA ROCKA ROLL

Not Modest Enough

Girl Rock, Girl Rock. Blah, blah, blah. Bikini Kill, X-Ray Spex, The Breeders. Right, right. If you ask me, the Dolly Mixture blows them all sideways. Yeah, I know--who?

The Dolly Mixture was a British trio that formed in 1979, put out a handful of brilliant singles and one of the most obscure and collectible records of the punk era. The Dolly Mixture Demonstration Tapes is a double album of the band's entire output from 1979 to 1983, and has punk toughness, girl-group vocal harmonies, and the perfect pop structures of the Brill Building songwriters. The Dolly Mixture was like the Shangri-La's minus the gum-cracking Queens accent. Or the Go-Go's if they had any class. Or the Raincoats without the weirdness and electric violins.

Purportedly the girlfriends of the Damned, the Dolly Mixture never took on the studied attitude of the U.K. punk scene. They depicted themselves in cartoons knitting and bike riding--hardly activities any self-respecting punk would be caught dead at. With zest and finesse instead of bray and holler, they resisted the three-chord bash of their contemporaries. They were musically adept and unafraid to haul out the occasional piano or cello accompaniment. They sang about independence long before it was an acknowledged practice. The full-on sass of "How Come You're Such a Hit with the Boys, Jane?" pre-dated riot grrl by a decade.

I first heard the Demonstration Tapes on a fourth-generation cassette that sounded like someone had pressed "Play" and "Record" on a different continent from where the record was spinning. But even through the hiss and din, I knew I was hearing something solid and perfect. I spent four years searching for the album. (And by the way--if you and your boyfriend are looking for a rare record at the same time and he finds it first and won't give it to you, break up with him on the spot.) One day I got a message from a friend who had sighted it in a Portland record shop: "I left it in the Space Rock section so no one else would find it." It was the first and last time that I trembled when buying a record. It was $6.99.

Luckily for us, Bob Stanley of St. Etienne put together a re-issue CD of The Dolly Mixture Demonstration Tapes on Royal Mint Records a couple of years ago. So there's no need for you to miss out on the most charming record ever made. You can just hop down to the record shop and buy it. You don't even have to break up with anybody.