Feature: The Return of Fig Dish!

In the second wave of label signings as the music industry descended on Chicago in the mid-'90s, Fig Dish stood out as particularly resistant to playing the major label game. Despite their ability to write catchy tunes that could be bona fide hits, and keeping the variety of their music fresh as it filtered through the two primary songwriters Rick Ness and Blake Smith, the band's Midwestern attitude meant that they were capable of willfully tanking when playing in front of the tastemakers and industry bigwigs at the time. But when they wanted to be, Fig Dish was one of the best bands in the land.

Fig Dish released two albums on A&M, That's What Love Songs Often Do in 1995, and 1997's When Shove Goes Back To Push, as well as an independent release in 1991 I shall not name for fear of unleashing the band's fury. But by the end of the '90s, Fig Dish was over, with Ness going on to create solo albums under his own name before heading off to the land of academia, and Smith went on to create Caviar with Fig Dish bassist Mike Willison, then teamed up with Scott Lucas for the Prairie Cartel dance-rock project, and last we heard he was playing with Forgotten Species.

As the years passed after their breakup, Fig Dish became more popular as their albums aged well and their live shows grew into legend. The band seemed to have settled into the ol' "we'll play a show or two every ten years or so" cadence and seemed content with that. But the die-hard fans never stopped clamoring for more music from the band, especially since there was known to be a treasure trove of unreleased tracks sitting in the group's vaults. There have been a few collections not fully sanctioned by the band that circulated over the years, but they were all unmastered and closer to demo quality, so there was always a hope some of that might get pushed to the next level and released.

And whaddya know, they finally did!

Feels Like the Very First Two Times is the band's forthcoming collection of the creme de la creme of those unreleased tracks; and yes, they have taken all of them to the next level. Tracks like the opener "Burn Bright Now" or the later "Cellophane and Suffer" are a stomping return to the hook-filled terrain the band was known for, and songs like the obvious Triple Fast Action nod/tribute/satire(?) "Karoline Waits" reminds me just how closely-knit and fun that portion of the music scene was in the late '90s.

Feels Like the Very First Two Times is available for pre-order today on the Forge Again Records Bandcamp page.

And speaking of that closely-knit '90s scene, Fig Dish will be playing a show to celebrate the album's release on September 6 at Gman Tavern with their equally awesome compatriots Menthol!*

*Menthol is another band I could easily write nigh endlessly about. So c'mon Balti and crew, release some more new music so I can do so!

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Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Tankboy resides in the body of Jim Kopeny and lives in Mayfair with Pickle the Kitten and a beagle named Betty (RIP) who may actually be slightly more famous than most of the musicians slogging through the local scene. He's written about music for much longer than most bands you hear on the radio have even existed.