Donut Age: America's Donut Magazine

Jennifer, O Jenny

I discovered the website of Jenny Toomey -- another of my personal heroes -- this weekend. Tonight, I'll be going to see her open for some bands I've never heard of in Lexington (at The Dame). Those two events feel a little like tracking down an old school friend or long-lost relative.

Jenny (I feel somewhat entitled to use the first name) was half -- along with Kristin Thompson -- of the super-independent Simple Machines record label, whose 8-year run (1990-98) was an inspiration to indies everywhere. And in her many musical guises (Choke, Geek, My New Boyfriend, Tsunami, Grenadine, Liquorice and probably a few others I never heard of), Jenny made songs that ranged from good to great, consistently exploring new avenues and expressions. I used to be a devoted fan and customer of Tsunami and SMR, but when the label closed shop in 1998, I lost track of what they were doing. I did run into Kristin once at the Khyber Pass in Philly. After an evening of agonizing over how to approach her without seeming like a creepy groupie, I finally did talk to her for a little bit at the end of the show, discussing the injustice of the lack of recognition given bands like Scrawl and Slint and engaging in a little web-design shop-talk. It was through Kristin that I heard that Jenny had started a solo career, but it wasn't until last March that I finally found her Antidote double CD (Misra Records, 2001) during a record-buying binge in Columbus (at the quaintly-named Magnolia Thunderpussy). Living in the middle of nowhere (well, maybe not the middle, but at least the periphery of nowhere), it's pretty hard to keep track of the indie scene, so today's discovery and tomorrow's show are especially satisfying.