[TypicalGirls] meltdown

Todd P tnyclists at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 8 09:45:02 EDT 2004

Meltdown was awesome and legendary - as was Amy Suzanne's later band in
Portland (when she was going to Reed College), Emergency. Emergency I
know had a few singles, I'm sure none of which are still in print. I
think one came out on Archigramiphone, and at least a split or two on
some fly by night labels from the Northwest. Emergency played a lot in
Portland back in the (late nineties) day.

The Fugazi / Discord bands used to *open* for Meltdown, that's how
popular they were in DC, so the legend goes. 

Amy Suzanne lives in Geneva, Switzerland these days. I think she still
makes music, but not totally sure. I think she goes to Med School?
Something similarly heady at least.


--- Dina Hornreich <dinahornreich at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Sharon was kind enough to point in the direction of this article. I
> think it's worth posting to the group as well as linking (for
> meltdown) to on my page:
> I'm wondering if "The Map" is still in print (this article is 3 years
> old)...
> ======================================
> http://www.portlandmercury.com/2001-03-15/music.html
> "1--2--MELTDOWN!"
> by Julianne Shepherd
> What were you doing in high school? I was making a horrible
> cut-and-paste skateboarding zine and smoking a truly embarrassing
> amount of dope. You know, a "creative underachiever"-- smart and
> pissed off, but too solipsistic to know what to do about it. I think
> a lot of alienated youths are like that, especially if they're from
> small towns--feeling disenfranchised early on, but not coming into
> their own until much, much later. 
> Which explains one reason I admire Meltdown. They were not only
> politically aware in their teen years, but were unafraid to push
> their talent to its most hair-raising limits. They were Washington,
> D.C. high-schoolers in 1995 and 1996, when Fugazi's Guy Picciotto and
> Brendan Canty asked if they could record their album. And yeah, while
> those punk rock heroes making such a request is pretty fucking cool,
> when you examine Meltdown's music, it's really just an aside. A spot
> of trivia. Some people's names in the liner notes. 
> That's because this high school band, Meltdown, made some of the most
> imperative and incendiary punk rock that has ever come out of D.C.
> Sonia Brenner, Fiona Griffin, Amy Heneveld, Raquel Vogl--four
> crash-boom ladies armed with three guitars and a drum kit. Meltdown
> first released a now out-of-print 7" record in 1997 on Slowdime. The
> Map is a recent vinyl-only re-release of 13 live tracks (recorded by
> Picciotto and Canty at the Pirate House and D.C.'s famed club, The
> Black Cat) on Portland-based label Archigramophone (also the home of
> Heneveld's current band, Emergency). 
> The Map opens with Meltdown's theme song, "Introduction," featuring
> Heneveld screeching gutturally and unintelligibly like a crazed
> bird--"oh-ah-yuh-uh-uh-yeah-oh-ah"--and a malignant symphony of
> trapezoidally clacking guitars. Gradually, as the whole group
> screams, "1-2-MELTDOWN," every rule (both musical and otherwise) is
> blown away, stomped on, stretched, salted, and strung up. Listening
> to it gives you the type of adrenaline rush that occurs when you're
> doing something subversive and important--positive action in place of
> negative reaction. 
> Every song on The Map unfolds like that. Heneveld is a dangerous
> fawn--her voice is tender and she's obviously very young, yet she
> uses it to taunt and yelp so urgently, you feel like she could crush
> you underneath its weight. On "El Gato Blanco," she sings in Spanish
> to the tune of "Ring Around the Rosy," eventually erupting into a
> powerful "Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nah-NAH!" On "Alien Autopsy" and
> "Postman," Heneveld trades vocal duties with Fiona Griffin, who
> evokes a desperately punk rock abandon similar to Tobi Vail-sung
> Bikini Kill songs. I hesitate to make that comparison, however,
> because Meltdown should not be categorized as R.G., or anything else
> for that matter. Because, aside from the stirring dichotomy
> (impetuous yet sweet-faced youths) and ecstasy (like in "Night Bird
> Nightmare," where the whole band growls and chants like witches) they
> invoke, Meltdown was an astonishingly technical band. They came up
> with connected yet warring riffs that have hardly been duplicated or
> even alluded to since. And, if I may remind you again, they were 17. 
> Meltdown's very existence was important. They were an all-girl high
> school band supported by their surroundings, and not exploited for
> their youth or beauty like many teenage "punk rock" bands these days.
> They were women driven by their own will, talent, intelligence, and
> irreverence. I, for one, am totally inspired. 
> You can purchase The Map at local independent record stores or at
> www. archigramophone.com. If you want to tell me what you were/are
> doing in high school, email julianne at portlandmercury.com. 
> -Dina

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