`Juned' Marries Styles For Successful Sound
Juned, record release party, with 30.06, Hush Harbor, and Butterfly Train, tomorrow night, at the Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave.; 441-5611. $6 -----------------------------------------------------------------
A few years ago, it would have been hard to think of Kill Sybil and My Diva as having much in common. Although both bands lasted about three years and had women playing and singing in them, they were about as different as bands could be.
Kill Sybil was a punk band with a bubblegum-angst approach, while My Diva was an art band with a slowly-spinning, ethereal sound. Kill Sybil's songs were four-minute blasts, while some of My Diva's numbers drifted into the 10 or 12-minute range.
But a new band formed out of the wreckage of those now defunct groups marries those two styles, and the members of Juned insist it's a natural fit.
"We didn't really have to decide on a sound, because it just happened," said Juned singer/guitarist Dale Balenseifen. Balenseifen and bassist Leslie Hardy had planned on forming a band after Kill Sybil broke up last year, and a friend introduced them to ex-My Diva guitarist Claudia Groom.
"The first day we played together, we knew it was right," Hardy said.
"It's a good combination," added Groom. "I think I'm doing a lot of what I did in My Diva. Dale's guitar is heavier and edgy while mine is higher and warmer."
The difference, however, lies in a pop sensibility that
neither of their former bands really ever had. Their debut single, to be unveiled at a Crocodile Cafe record release party tomorrow night, uses simple, refined structures and is careful to work layers of sound within those boundaries.
"So White" starts hypnotically with a rhythmic bassline and a high, warbly guitar gently arcing over it. "Dislike" is the more immediate of the two songs, relying on driving guitar and drums and angry lyrics sung in soothing, measured tones.
"I generally write lyrics about people I don't like," Balenseifen said.
"It's easier to work with what's wrong with people," Hardy observed, "because you can focus on so many things."
"And I don't scream the lyrics," Balenseifen added, "so you can't really tell what they're about unless you really listen to the lyrics."
Although Juned can be angry, they can also be funny. One new song the band recorded last weekend, called "Elvis," corkscrews through several styles before settling on a '60s surf riff, complete with cheesy organ parts played by new drummer Lenny Rennalls. "It's how I used to make my living," she said of her organ playing.
The song was originally conceived as an instrumental, but in the recorded version, to appear on a C/Z compilation later this year, Balenseifen rambles over it in psychotic cocktail patter, including an explanation of why all women should carry handguns.
Despite being together for only six months and playing live for only four, things are accelerating quickly for the band.
They are about to do a 10-day tour down the West Coast, and plan to record a full-length album for the emerging local label Up early this summer. Part of that is possible right now because of name recognition from their earlier bands, including Hardy's several month long stint in Hole. They are planning a larger, national tour for when the album comes out.
They all feel that the band is going to be together for a while. "A friend of mine said that we'll be together until I die of lung cancer," Hardy said, dragging on a cigarette. "Which means about five years."
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