Glass Eye was so perfect by the time 1989 came around, it's actually pretty scary how good this album was/is. They were back in their true form, with drummer Scott Marcus and keyboardist Stella Weir back in the fold. I'm not sure that I ever knew why they weren't in the band, and pretty sure I never asked either of them. I do know that the in-between period was when Scott, Stella and Kathy McCarty all "acted" in Linklater's 'Slacker' movie. They didn't do too much musically (that I can recall), and whatever broke the band apart had been healed by early 1989. Just in time for the making of the second Glass Eye record for Bar None records (which, at this point, was being distributed by Restless Records). It was, perhaps, their most evenly distributed work, as far as getting input from all four members. There are even credits for the songs that were started with the interim line-up (Dave Cameron and Sheri Lane) and finished by the re-united original. Most impressively, there's a Scott Marcus song, with vocals, called "White Walls" that's one of their best tunes, and certainly as impressive as anything either of the two main songwriters (Kathy McCarty and Brian Beattie) had ever done. Stella's own contribution is "Get Lost," a weirdly sad non-love song. There's also an incredible instrumental at the end of side one called "Calm Song" (named as such by Dave Cameron's young son Dylan) that is surprising dark, murky, almost avant-classical in nature (perhaps a nod to the fact that they were consistently voted "best Avant Garde/Other" band year after year in the Chronicle poll even though they thought they were a regular pop band!). The majority of the songs still swing between Beattie and McCarthy, however. The group had really developed a harder edge for this album. They had evolved into a much louder and heavier band, thanks, perhaps in part, to their alter-ego Glam/Metal band Monniker. They were playing more shows with the likes of Ed Hall and the Pocket Fishrmen, and larger shows by the Jesus Lizard and the Butthole Surfers. They would become a bit harder sounding yet, for their last record (which was started in 1992 and finally finished in 2006...and is another story in itself!). Released in the early fall of 1989, it was one of those defining Austin albums released just before my trip to Berlin and, weeks after I came back, the fall of the Wall. They did an "in-store" acoustically playing in front of Sound Exchange on a sunny September afternoon, with a small crowd gathered around Guadalupe and 21st. Street. I thought it was great that they asked to do the appearance, even if it was outside the store, because Sound Exchange was usually passed over in favor of Waterloo, and Glass Eye was considered a Waterloo band. Top rung! That was something I'd work on more with the next spring's SXSW, getting more prominent in-stores. At this point this cassette was in my car's tape player a lot. It was released during the period when promos were mostly issued on cassette, with vinyl going to radio, and CDs still too expensive )or labels still too cheap!) to give away. My vinyl copy was recently obtained at a garage sale and has a college radio station's call letters scrawled across the front. It appears to be unplayed. Figures!
[NOTE:: In researching parts of this post, on the Glass Eye website and elsewhere, I saw the name Dave Cameron replaced with Lisa Cameron. At first I thought a mistake had been made. I knew Dave casually, and played shows with his bands, but I would be wrong in saying I knew him (or, really, most of the fellow scenesters I knew back then!) really well. Even still, it's surprising to learn that he has gone through a transition from Dave Cameron to Lisa Cameron. Read Kathy McCarty's excellent interview for the Austin Chronicle here:]