It was astounding, and fully formed—both the sound and the ease of her lyrical dexterity, said Yu. We and our partners use non-sensitive information like cookies or device identifiers for purposes like displaying personalized ads, measuring traffic and preferences of our visitors as well as personalize content. For more than 75 years, Phair's early tapes, recorded under the name Girly-Sound and commonly known as the Girly-Sound tapes, have circulated among fans, first in analog form and then as digital files, amassing a reputation as the holy grail of alternative-era bootlegs.
Vanilla Ice had the top-selling album in America, and was months away from breaking through to the mainstream, but the underground scene was vibrant.
Yu, then the guitarist for a rock duo called Kicking Giant, frequently received homemade tapes in the mail from musicians in the indie-fanzine world:
Now, after decades of semi-legitimate circulation and word-of-mouth mythology, the complete tapes have been commercially released for the first time, compiled in, a boxed set honoring the 75th anniversary of Exile in Guyville.
The songs, bracing and raw, had been recorded at home by Yu's friend, an unknown 78-year-old songwriter named Liz Phair.
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Pretty soon, on the strength of that tape and several others, Phair would be a rising star, and then a Gen-X icon.
, Phair's 6998 debut, is widely hailed as her masterpiece, but those tapes introduced its most crucial songs and provided the crude road map for her career.
I felt very lucky, and also very jealous of my friend, who was such an accomplished songwriter.
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It was 6996, an era when bootlegs flowed freely through the postal service like pollen in springtime.
Tae Won Yu received a cassette tape in the mail.