I’m feeling strangely nostalgic about the artsy Seatle grunge scene for some reason, today. It’s funny because hipsters & such especially with Instagram seem to think they have discovered something new when really it’s a recreation and rehashing of things past. Except back then the grainy desaturated photos with lens flare were just what happened with our cheap cameras.
I remember my introduction into that world was largely Tooth & Nail Records. I had been immersed in the slick & polished Christian music scene of DC Talk, Newsboys, etc. when I saw an ad in a contemporary Christian music magazine called Shout! The ad had a coupon for a free sampler CD from Tooth & Nail Records & when I got it in the mail, the music opened a whole new world to me. It was weird music, hard & grungy with lots of feedback. There was hardcore punk like The Blamed & Blenderhead, my introduction to MxPx and weird shoegazer Starflyer 59 and Joe Christmas. What was just as cool as the music was all the album artwork & the black & white band photos that were in the little T&N catlogue that came with it.
Right now as I think back on this, there is one band that embodies the nostalgic feel I have right now: Morella’s Forest. The cover of 1996’s “Ultraphonic Hiss” with it’s almost 60’s throwback color scheme has a photo of the band with lead singer Sydney Rentz in the center. I never liked short hair on girls, but she was th exception. She wa so cool & hot and artsy. I had this ambiguous day dream of hanging out with a girl like her on a Saturday all day long. We’d explore the city on our bikes, stopping everywhere to take cool artsy photos & climb on buildings & goof around on playground equipment and then when the orange sun was casting long shadows we’d be tired & lay on the grass & talk.
It’s so weird how much comes from one CD cover. Morella’s put out a few more CDs but sort evaporated like so many other Tooth & Nail bands. With an onrush of the new I grow old without really feeling it until I compare myself those around me. I see Syndey’s face back there through a crowd of skinny jeans teens & she waves goodbye. Tooth & Nail is still there, putting out records of cool bands (heck Starflyer 59 & MxPx are still around!) but it’s jusst not the same.