Have you ever been paid for a show with a bag of oranges? Dealt with a dude who says he's on the list when only 10 people are going to show up anyway? Waddled through a maze of zine tables? Then you probably went to an indie-rock show in the '90s... or been to an indie-rock show recently, for that matter. Richmond's Positive No parodies Jeff Krulik and John Heyn's cult documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot with its own indie-rock version in a video for "Pedal Through."
What sets Positive No's painfully true and hilarious parody apart from a needless exercise in nostalgic irony is how charmingly personal it is. In fact, many of the artifacts in the video come from the band's own collections, including bassist Sadie Powers' homemade Smashing Pumpkins board game from middle school (!) and a prop from the Sonic Youth "Dirty Boots" video. Its members were also deeply entrenched in the scene: In the early '90s, Tracy Wilson was the vocalist for Dahlia Seed, a heavy and angular emo band that split the difference between Drive Like Jehu and Sunny Day Real Estate during a time when both were still figuring out their own sounds.
After a couple singles and an EP, Positive No's debut album, Glossa, undeniably comes from the '90s, with an ear for counter-intuitive melodies that pop in unexpected places. "Pedal Through," in particular, has all the beefy weirdness of Polvo — but is, in the end, a winsome pop song that gets stuck in your head for days.
Glossa comes out Sept. 18 on Negative Fun.