Kleenex Girl Wonder – Exotic Nitwits Keep Exotic Pets EP
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008
This is the debut EP from one of the great unsung indie pop bands of the 90s. Granted, I’m particularly partial to KGW because their 20+ song albums, lo-fi aesthetics, and complete willingness to be batshit weird gives them a Guided By Voices kid brother vibe that, naturally, I fucking love. Maybe it’s the Midwest (KGW was born in suburban Chicago, more specifically the hilariously named burb Downers Grove) that does strange things to young rock n’ roll men. Though this EP does not contain the soaring ramshackle pop gems of their 1999 masterwork Ponyoak and perhaps strays too far onto the GBV spectrum to the point where most of the slow acoustic songs make me thing the needle accidentally skipped onto Alien Lanes, I appreciate the weirdness. And besides, this album came out the same year as Alien Lanes, so it’s hard to call Exotic Nitwits derivative. Quite the contrary! I’d say KGW’s playfulness and knack for making music that is both mega-lofi and tuneful, and while this release is about as shambling as shambling gets, it’s still promising enough to forecast Kleenex Girl Wonder’s bright and wonderful future (even though they didn’t achieve much commercial exposure, Graham Smith & Co should know in their hearts that they are fucking awesome).
Fun Fact: Kleenex Girl Wonder put out a new album this year! It’s called Let it Buffer, I’m listening to it on Spotify right now and it’s great and it’s comforting to know this band is still kicking around (and churning out some pretty gnarly power pop to boot).
I couldn't find any of the tracks from this record on the webs, so here's "Five Guitars" from Ponyoak, which you should definitely track down and give a spin.