Wendyfix We Have The Cracks
Chicago 1993 – ask any indie music obsessive about that time and place and they might go on about Touch and Go, Drag City, Steve Albini, Tortoise, Jim O’Rourke, and many others. It was a golden age for music in Chicago.
Yet on the geographical and formal edges of this cultural maelstrom was a group of young college students taking a different approach. Fusing together indie Anglophilia (New Order, Psychedelic Furs, Swervedriver) and the sensitive-emo of loud/quiet acts like Slint and Bedhead, Wendyfix was a blacksheep tilting at windmills in the chicago indie music zeitgeist.
Formed by a trio of college radio DJs from Northwestern University, the band played numerous house parties in Evanston and around Chicago before going on to play the usual haunts like the Lounge Ax, the Metro, and the brand new Empty Bottle.
Things seemed to be on the up and up but then the band members graduated college and things fell apart. All that was left was two recording sessions at King Size Studios in Chicago, and two one-off recordings for compilations. A seven inch with two songs was released at the time, but until now most of the music has been unavailable.
So for the first time, Carpark Records brings you the entire oeuvre of Wendyfix. The songs have been digitally transferred from the original half-inch tapes, remixed by Pat Jones (Toro y Moi and Washed Out), and remasterd by Joe Lambert.
-Todd Hyman, the drummer for Wendyfix, went on to start Carpark Records, who has produced this release.
-Original bassist Jon Solomon currently runs Comedy Minus One Records and has DJed at WPRB in Princeton for almost 30 years.
-Ted Pauly, bassist/guitarist and one of the songwriters, would go on to play in the east coast indie band Haywood
-Brian McGrath, bassist/guitarist and one of the songwriters, would go on to play in Mantissa.
In the early to mid 90s I was attending university in Chicago and consuming music voraciously. My friends and I all djed at our college’s (Northwestern) radio station WNUR. My freshman year I was doing a jazz, rock and freeform show. I remember one day a week worked out where I was doing shows from 5am to 10am, and then again from 1-4pm and then 7-10pm! Not sure how I did it.
By sophomore year I wanted to contribute more. My two flatmates and I decided to form a band. It was named wendyfix after a local high school tennis star. I played drums….with the children’s drum kit I got when I was around 10 years old. I had started taking drum lessons when I was 8 after banging on the couch one too many times listening to my brother’s lp copy of Rush “Permanent Waves”.
Wendyfix existed for about 3 years until graduation. My junior year I also started playing drums in a band called Remy with two other WNUR music obsessives. And by my senior year I was also drumming in a band with my girlfriend at the time called Not Without My Daughter. Busy times!
After graduation I wandered around trying to figure out what to do. I lived in New York and Chicago each for a year. I worked in record shops (Reckless in Chicago, Kim’s West in New York). I PA’ed on TV commercials. I obtained a post graduate degree studying popular music with Simon Frith in Glasgow in the late 90s.
The idea of starting a record label periodically would enter my mind. But I kept telling myself that my tastes were always changing too fast to do that. I thought record labels had to have a “sound”. And I didn’t want my brain to feel stuck in a certain genre.
That changed when I moved back to New York from Glasgow in late 1998 though. I was working at the now defunct shop Etherea in the East Village. A bunch of us who worked there created an experimental electronic night at Brownies called Invisible Cities. We had Wednesday nights from 11-4am.
At first we thought we’d just be djing, but there were so many folks looking to play that couldn’t find a spot, we eventually started having a “live” laptop set every week. This was at a time when performing with a laptop computer was becoming possible for the first time.
I met so many interesting musicians through this experience that I decided that it was finally a good time to start a record label. And Carpark was born!
Experimental electronic music seems a far cry from the introspective indie rock of Wendyfix and Remy but it all made sense to me. Anyway one of the things I learned running Carpark was that I didn’t have to stick with a certain sound. So after doing the electronic thing with Carpark for a few years I started branching out and now just put out whatever I think sounds good/interesting etc.
A year or two ago I thought it would be a good idea to dust off the half inch tapes and make this music available again. Hope you enjoy!
• Publicity by Brixton Agency
• College Radio promotion by Terrorbird
• Probably the only band of its time that had more music videos than official releases (3 vs. 1)
2. Microphones + Megaphones
3. From the Balcony
4. Post Office
5. Blue Coal
9. Re-Grand Opening
11. Crayon Portraits
12. Trained to Lose
13. Swinging Softly
15. Knife’s Throw