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Test Anxiety EP Toenut, Mute Records 1997
1.Test Anxiety
2.The Song We Wrote Yesterday (Edit)
3.Information/ 32nd Theme Song
4.Opus
5.Le Pepper
6.The Whistler
7.Test Anxiety (Area 39's Optical Remix)

You've never heard of them, but Toenut made some great tunes during their very short career. With connections to Man or Astro-Man and Tyro, it seemed there was a lot of talent to go around, and after the band broke up after the unfortunate death of one of its members, that's just what happened. Before then, there were two full-length releases as well as this EP, entitled Test Anxiety EP. (There was also a CD single with one track, but that's not worth mentioning.) The album has no barcode and appears to have been created as a promotional release. Four of the tracks appeared on their full releases, and three of the tracks are exclusive to this release. As this album is super-cheap used, it's a good way to see if you like this band if you're the type to check out bargain bins.

The band has a female vocalist in front of a cluster of noisy indie rock, just the way you like it. The words can be hard to understand at times, but are usually quite esoteric and as such, worth paying attention to. The album bounces around and has a genuinely ethereal vibe to it, which makes for a fairly fun release. If you need something to listen to in the rock channel and want something thank makes you think you haven't heard anything like it, that's probably exactly what this is.

The final three tracks are exclusive to this release. The remix of Test Anxiety sounds significantly different than the album's regular release, and as such, is a great bonus track. The Whistler and Le Pepper are both great tracks, with the former allowing Katie Hartley to sing her heart out and the latter allowing one (or many, it's hard to tell) of the guys on the group to provide a fairly uncommon vocal performance. Since these are as good as or better than the tracks that appear on the albums, it's a bit of a shame these had to be relocated to the ghetto that is a promotional disc.

This is basically what a "Greatest Hits" album for the band would sound like, as they had relatively little recorded output, plus it also has some rare material. Your only chances for finding this are used record bins and the secondary market, or perhaps a really good indie record store. It can be had for a few bucks, and if you can get it for about $5 or so, it's well worth snagging. Or downloading, but only if you track down the artists and send them each a buck or something. They've earned it.

--Adam Pawlus
January 12, 2004

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