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Smell the magic


L7 was not for the faint of heart. A female four-piece from Los Angeles that was swept up in the grunge frenzy of the early '90s, L7 pounded ears with a bludgeoning, heavy mix of metal and attack-dog punk that culminated with 1992's Butch Vig-produced Bricks Are Heavy and the MTV hit "Let's Pretend We're Dead." And if I'm not mistaken, there may have been an onstage incident with a tampon.


One of the founding members, Donita Sparks, is back in the news these days, teaming up with indie pixie Kristin Hersh in a project called CASH Music ( It's an experiment that aims to change music licensing for the better. Sparks is getting the ball rolling by offering profit participation on the sync licensing for her hot-shit single "He's Got The Honey," from Sparks' new solo album, Transmiticate.

Sparks explains the philosophy behind CASH Music. "We're just going to go for it along with the public," she says. "You see, one of the things that a traditional record label does is invest in the artist by putting up money on the front end for recording, promotion, etc. in the hopes of making it all back (and then some) on the back end. Well, there is nothing traditional about me or CASH Music, but we do know that music licensing is one of the remaining lucrative aspects of the music business for artists (and stakeholders). I'm curious to see how this will pan out ... "

Okay, so the details are a little vague on how this is going to work. Suffice it to say, it's all about making a buck for musicians and trying to pay the bills. But, the real news out of all this is Sparks' solo record, said to dabble in the dark arts of dance-rock and the blackest shades of pop music. A little bit of reverb here, some dense guitar riffs, avant-garde punk sensibilities, girl-group harmonies and slick synths make up the chemical compound known as Transmiticate. Sparks also has a backing band these days called The Stellar Moments and they all toured with The Donnas last fall.