Real Gone Music Re-issues L7’s Hungry For Stink on vinyl
In 1994, people were wafting on the effects of bands like The Breeders and Luscious Jackson. Kim Gordon was giving the ‘90s power stance on “Bull In the Heather,” while Kathleen Hannah propelled a riot grrl revolution with Pussy Whipped. Lollapalooza was in full swing and before L7 was to join the line-up, they released their follow-up to Bricks Are Heavy.
Years ago, Real Gone Music reissued Bricks Are Heavy on vinyl and now Hungry For Stink is getting the vinyl reissue treatment. A facsimile of the original release, the limited edition platter is colored blood red for effect.
L7 bridged that gap between trash punk and grunge. Hungry For Stink follows up on the brilliance of Bricks Are Heavy but builds a personal paranoia from the band downplayed by the abrasiveness of the past. A post-Rodney King-era Los Angeles, there was a darkness to the city that bled over to the album. Sparks was enacting on a personal mentality that could not be sheltered. “Switch to paranoid from having fun,” she sings on “Can I Run.” “Will he use his hands, knife, or a gun.” As brazen as that is, it did not stop the band from also having fun as with the opener, “Andres.”
L7 – Andres
L7 also had to deal with a new level of fame going from small clubs to the big stage. As The Breeders angularly posterized on “Cannonball,” L7 added their snarky interludes that became passe-chic.”Down in North Hollywood,” Sparks sings as if saying blah, blah, blah. “There’s a guy with long hair. He’s really, really nice. But we had a problem.” Who could get away with writing something like that today? We ate songs like that up in 1994. Even today, the goofiness still becomes contagious, planting a seed in your cranium.
Hungry For Stink is a personal album. “Baggage” feels like pieces of Sparks’ shredded larynx is shooting out of her mouth when she yells the chorus. The sheer force of her vocals while turning melodic on the drop of a dime is what has always made her an amazing vocalist. “Question My Sanity” may not be a stand out song, but it is blatant about the psychological pull these times had on the band.
The music is at the forefront of this album. The psychedelic edge of “Riding With A Movie Star” that pulls us into the second side. The hot-rod guitars in “Shirley” build up to being one of the most powerful songs on the album about the first lady of drag racing. The pop-esque re-working of Cosmic Psychos’ “Lost Cause” into “Fuel My Fire,” was then covered by Prodigy. It’s “Wargasm” revisited.
L7 – Stuck Here Again and Andres on The Jon Stewart Show, 1994
You cannot deny Hungry For Stink’s musical power tropes. Even on the songs that don’t seem to matter as much, there is an abrasiveness not to be discounted. “Stuck Here Again” is a mid-range song that balances out the She Devils on Wheels-like power rockers. You can even see the performance difference between the band playing this song versus “Andres” on the Jon Stewart Show.
With the band back in the limelight from their recently released documentary, tour, and new album, Real Gone has done us a gracious service to bring this album back into the public eye.