New Wave Guys and a Punk Rock Girl Go Out and Get Down


Lately I find myself seriously moved by Mike Lupica’s radio show on WFMU. Lupica plays a lot of the same records I did when I was a college radio DJ—indie rock of 1987 plus antecedents, progeny, and free associations—but it’s not nostalgia for the music that’s got me. It’s his mic breaks: He speaks with that same mix of confidence (from knowing you’ve stumbled onto the secrets of the universe), humility (from recognizing their power and breadth), and sarcastic wit (from disrespecting the Man) we had in the days before Nirvana.

Poster Children got together in Champaign-Urbana in 1987, but it took them until now to make a record I would have loved then. On their ninth LP, they’ve finally mastered what Lupica calls that “big guitar/huge drum sound,” clean and wise and without any bombast, that we were so into. No More Songs About Sleep and Fire could pass for a comp of outtakes from 4AD, SST, or Homestead—labels from which I liked everything I got in the mail for free. “Flag,” “Shy,” and “The Floor” sound like the Pixies covering the Minutemen. The best cut, “The Bottle,” is a chant-along with chiming guitars over a hurtling backbeat; it’s almost as good as my favorite Sorry song. If it had come into the station 17 years ago, it would have ruled our New Emph bin.