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Thursday, August 10, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Juned: A Talented Band Of Refugees

Like "shined" or "dissed," the term "juned" is skateboarding slang. It means used, abused and then discarded. So it comes as no suprise that Juned deals in songs with titles such as "Leeches" and "Shallow."

The quartet's identity resides with style and pedigree. And pedigree came first: They arose from the late groups Kill Sybil and My Diva. Punk-pop Kill Sybil housed both lead vocalist-guitarist Dale Balenseifen and bassist Leslie Hardy (who also played with Hole). Vocalist-guitarist Claudia Groom came from My Diva, whose turf was lengthy songs and gothic soundscapes. These three refugees started Juned in '93, with the drummer Nalini Cheriel.

Within a short time, Juned started playing live. And gig No. 1 earned a recording offer. It came from Up Records' rep Chris Takino (who, as a friend, had a weather eye on the group). The result was a single, "So White", and an album contract. Then came a new drummer, named Lenny Rennalls. Rennalls had trained in the army - as a medic.

Juned mixes Dear Diary lyrics with slick guitar. Hardy's basslines serve as the band's anchor, offsetting Grooms' slide guitar and some opaque vocals. Both live and on CD ("Juned" by Juned on Up), Juned uses voices just like instruments.

Punctuating pure sound with a snatch of lyric - "She's got a hole where her heart used to be" - their songs often deal with censure and regret. Their sound may be dreamy and melodic, but it takes aim at emotional bondage.

Juned holds echoes of groups from The Cure to Belly. Yet they already boast a national cadre of fans; notably Dinosaur Jr. bassist Mike Johnson. Johnson played on and co-produced the band's debut. Now, with another single ("Dig") out next month, Juned is poised to record another album.

Meanwhile, this band has become a veteran opening act, playing with Sebadoh, J Mascis, Tsunami, Throwing Muses and The Posies. Make sure you take time to evaluate them; Juned is playful yet sonically enticing.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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