After a half decade slog in the Gilman Street punk scene as The Vagrants, Brian Jay, Nick Gancheff, Craig Miller, and Dave Henwood resurfaced with a new name and a new sound. Their mid-punk crisis in full bloom, the quartet abandoned dissonant guitars and garbled glass vocals in favor of a jangly, albeit introspective mood. Neither shoegaze nor emo, and sonically exiled from their Lookout Records peers, Pot Valiant carved out their own corner of the East Bay, releasing two singles and a brilliant LP before imploding in mid-1994.
Issued in 1993 on Scott Torguson’s Sacramento-based Sunney Sindicut label, “Volar” b/w “Low Dexterity Points” is a seamless blend of loud and quiet, with a punishing wall of fuzz guitars, punchy bass, and flam-happy drums filling in every available sonic crevice. “I’d clean your closet if you’d let me,” vocalist Brian Jay sung to an audience who primarily hung their clothes up on the floor. Sold for $3 from the stage or via mail-order, Pot Valiant’s debut was an immediate curio in a sea of spiked leather jackets and circle pits.