Babes in Toyland

The BBC John Peel Sessions, 1990-1992

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What you read on the sleeve is what you get with this comp: 16 tracks recorded by the band for the BBC in the early '90s, unsurprisingly leaning heavily on tracks found on their early releases. Twelve of the numbers were done in 1990-1991 with the lineup of Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero, and Michelle Leon; the final four were done in 1992, when Maureen Herman had replaced Leon. None of the songs are only found on this release, though some (like "Dirty") are obscure enough that you probably won't have all of them unless you have everything, or virtually everything, the band released. Perhaps this doesn't matter so much with a band like Babes in Toyland, but the sound isn't optimal, the bottom-heavy rumbling murk and scrabbly guitars often obscuring the vocals. Taken together it's the sound of the early riot grrrl era, with occasional riffs and vocal hooks pushing through the assaultive post-punk noise, an approach heard by far more people when Hole cleaned up their sound and wrote easier-to-assimilate songs.

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