There are a bevy of albums from my first semester or so in college radio that I think of as wondrous gifts. Those aren’t necessarily the best albums from that time, the ones that I will quickly hold up as exemplars of the college rock sounds in its waning years, before the tsunami of grunge buffeted it away. Instead, they’re the albums that I hold dear, but I’m not confident I would have found my way to if they hadn’t sat in the new music rotation during those early days when I was eager to learn. I had my preconception and my biases, but I was also suddenly open, ready to enjoy anything that was striking and new. And, for me, almost all of it was striking and new.
I’m quite sure my limited perception of college rock before I crossed that threshold meant I believed I would be playing an exclusive sonic diet of aggravated punk, gloomy goth, and jangly rock. Buoyant, fierce, feminist pop wasn’t on my cheat sheet. But there was Let It Bee, the debut album from Voice of the Beehive. The band, led by Californian sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland, surely got signed because there was a hint of the Bangles in the back of the songs, but there was a whole different verve, a directness, an uncompromising stridency of personality.
Playing anything off of Let It Bee, especially the singles off the album, was amazingly liberating and a deliriously catchy refutation of the notion that music the settled on the left end of the dial was dour and unbearably glum. I was at the radio station for more than five years, and I never stopped circling back to those songs. If I were off to do a shift tonight, I’d still be sorely tempted to play “I Say Nothing.” Yes, there’s nostalgia to it. The song stirs up happy memories. Aside from that, it’s a damn great song.
Listen or download –> Voice of the Beehive, “I Say Nothing”
(Disclaimer: I believe Let It Bee, as well as the other Voice of the Beehive albums, to be out of print as a physical item that can purchased from a record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said shop and the original artist. If I believed that digital purchases would actually get a proper amount of money to the artist instead of filling the coffers of all the intermediaries, I’d urgently send you that way. Hell, the first two albums are good enough that it’s probably worth doing that anyway. So used the online music seller of your choice. Though I feel it completely fair for me to place this digital file here, I do know the rules. Therefore, I will gladly and promptly remove it from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)