Lolita Nation
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Performer Notes
  • 2 LPs on 1 CD.
  • Personnel: Donnette Thayer, Scott Miller (vocals, guitar); Gil Ray (guitar, drums, background vocals); Shelley LaFreniere (synthesizer, background vocals); Guillaume Gassuan (background vocals).
  • Liner Note Authors: Dan Vallor; Will Sheff.
  • Recording information: CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (01/27/1988); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (01/27/1988); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (01/27/1988); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (01/27/1988); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (01/27/1988); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (01/27/1988); The I-Beam, San Francisco (01/27/1988); The Rat, Boston, MA (01/27/1988); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (03/24/1988); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (03/24/1988); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (03/24/1988); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (03/24/1988); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (03/24/1988); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (03/24/1988); The I-Beam, San Francisco (03/24/1988); The Rat, Boston, MA (03/24/1988); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (08/22/1987); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (08/22/1987); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (08/22/1987); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (08/22/1987); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (08/22/1987); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (08/22/1987); The I-Beam, San Francisco (08/22/1987); The Rat, Boston, MA (08/22/1987); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (10/02/1986); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (10/02/1986); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (10/02/1986); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (10/02/1986); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (10/02/1986); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (10/02/1986); The I-Beam, San Francisco (10/02/1986); The Rat, Boston, MA (10/02/1986); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (10/07/1988); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (10/07/1988); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (10/07/1988); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (10/07/1988); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (10/07/1988); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (10/07/1988); The I-Beam, San Francisco (10/07/1988); The Rat, Boston, MA (10/07/1988); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (12/14/1987); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (12/14/1987); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (12/14/1987); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (12/14/1987); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (12/14/1987); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (12/14/1987); The I-Beam, San Francisco (12/14/1987); The Rat, Boston, MA (12/14/1987); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (12/21/1985); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (12/21/1985); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (12/21/1985); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (12/21/1985); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (12/21/1985); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (12/21/1985); The I-Beam, San Francisco (12/21/1985); The Rat, Boston, MA (12/21/1985); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (1986); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (1986); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (1986); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (1986); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (1986); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (1986); The I-Beam, San Francisco (1986); The Rat, Boston, MA (1986); CD Studios, San Francisco, CA (1987); Los Medanos College Studio, Pittsburg, CA (1987); Rehearsal, San Francisco, CA (1987); Satnford University, Palo Alto, CA (1987); Studio B, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (1987); The Berkeley Square, Berkeley, CA (1987); The I-Beam, San Francisco (1987); The Rat, Boston, MA (1987).
  • Photographer: Robert Toren.
  • Game Theory leader Scott Miller has never made much of a secret of his fondness for Big Star, but while Real Nighttime favored the sound of #1 Record and The Big Shot Chronicles suggested the harder-edged tone of Radio City, Lolita Nation sounded like Game Theory's variation on the themes of Big Star's masterfully damaged swan song, Third/Sister Lovers. Certainly Game Theory's most ambitious album, Lolita Nation was a two-LP set that combined some of Miller's most user-friendly power pop with dark, moody ruminations on betrayal, failed love, and mortality, bursts of avant-garde noise, and fragments of unclassifiable studio doodling, all thrown into a sonic Cuisinart through Miller's aggressive use of aural montage. Lolita Nation is more than a bit disorienting on first listen, though it finds the band playing at the top of their form on challenging material (new guitarist Donnete Thayer makes an impressive debut), and there are more than a few flat-out brilliant tracks (such as "Chardonnay," "The Waist and the Knees," and "The Real Shelia") alongside such head-scratchers as "Turn Me on Dead Man," "Watch Who You're Calling Space Garbage Meteor Mouth," and the 22nd track (which stubbornly defies titling). Taken as a whole and given time to fully absorb, Lolita Nation is probably Game Theory's finest and most impressive album, though it's also the worst place for a beginner to start examining their work. ~ Mark Deming
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