Monday, January 31, 2005

True West and The Dream Syndicate

Out of the ashes of the Suspects, which consisted of Russ Tolman, Gavin Blair, Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith came two notable bands. Tolman and Blair formed True West while Wynn and Smith formed the Dream Syndicate. Both bands played driving, feedback-laden, psychedelic, guitar-drenched rock and were lumped into what was dubbed the "Paisley Underground" and "Big Guitar Band" movements.

True West debuted with the single "Lucifer Sam" which was a cover of an early Pink Floyd song. The b-side was the record played backwards and called "Mas Reficul". Steve Wynn helped produce. While True West conjured up Syd Barret, Wynn's Dream Syndicate were being called the new Velvet Underground. They debuted with the EP "Down There" which contained the VU influenced "Sure Thing". Both bands released several EP's and LPs throughout the 80's with the Dream Syndicate garnering the most attention.

The bands had many line-ups that went on to play in many other bands so rather than list them all I'll just stick with the original Suspects. Steve Wynn went on to a solo career as did Kendra Smith who also played with Opal. Gavin Blair played with the Fool Killers and Russ Tolman continues to record.

Buy True West CD's here and Dream Syndicate CD's here

Go to the download page to get True West - "Lucifer Sam" here

Go to the download page to get the Dream Syndicate - "Sure Thing" here

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Feelies - "Dancing Barefoot"

New Jersey's the Feelies were once dubbed "The Best Underground Band in New York." by the Village Voice. Named after Aldous Huxley's "Feelies" (virtual reality movies with a sense of touch as well as sight and hearing), from his book "Brave New World", the Feelies released their first record, "Crazy Rhythms" on the legendary Stiff records label in 1980. After splitting up and working on other projects like the Willies and the Trypes, they regrouped and recorded "The Good Earth" (Coyote) in 1986 with Peter Buck of Soon they appeared in the high school reunion scene in Jonathan Demme's film "Something Wild". A&M released the follow-up, "Only Life" in 1988, followed by "Time for a Witness" in 1991, but on July 5 of that year the Feelies played their final show at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ.

Their excellent cover of Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot" appeared on various promotional singles and as a Flexi disc given away with BOB magazine. Thanks to Bud Verge for the Flexi and the song.

The Feelies were initially high school buddies Bill Million - guitar, vocals and Glenn Mercer - guitar, vocal, along with John J. - bass and Dave Weckerman - bass, percussion. Later Keith Clayton - bass and Vinny Denunzio - drums and later still Anton Fier - drums, Brenda Sauter - bass and Stan Demeski - drums. Almost everybody continued to record with various bands.

For more Feelies details visit this excellent Feelies site.

Buy Feelies CD's here.

Go to the download page to get The Feelies - "Dancing Barefoot"

Monday, January 17, 2005

Boys Brigade - "Melody"

Toronto Canada's Boys Brigade formed in 1981 playing speakeasies and underground clubs before performing on Queen Street. Their debut 1983 album was produced by Rush's Geddy Lee after their manager, who was Rush's lighting designer, introduced them. The album contained two minor hit singles, "Melody" and "The Passion Of Love". The band that featured three percussionists and even more conflicting personalities broke up shortly after. They toured as opening act for Gang Of Four, The Romantics and The Stray Cats. Boys Brigade is a British version of the Boy Scouts. Lead vocalist Malcom Burn went on to a solo career as well as becoming a successful engineer/producer along with his brother in-law Daniel Lanois.

Go to the download page to get Boys Brigade - "Melody"

Monday, January 10, 2005

Dirty Looks - "They Got Me Covered"

Staten Island, NY's Dirty Looks deserved so much more than they got. After releasing an inspired power pop/rock album on the infamous Stiff Records, a second release was lost to too much interference from the U.S. label. The label know-it-alls at Epic wanted a more "mainstream" sound and secretivly remixed the album much to the bands dismay. The record only came out in the U.K and the band left the label. After Island Record's Chris Blackwell told the band they should release an album of instrumentals because he didn't like lead singer Patrick Barnes' voice, the band split up. You have to wonder if the same label bozos are working on the latest Fiona Apple record.

Dirty Looks were Patrick Barnes - vocals, guitar, Peter Parker- drums, Marco Sin - bass. Sadly Marco passed away from a heart failure due to a problem with narcotics in 1995.

You can read the whole Dirty Looks story here.

A CD of both Dirty Looks records plus unreleased demos and rare tracks is sometimes available here.

Go to the download page to get Dirty Looks - "They Got Me Covered"

Monday, January 03, 2005

Polyrock! Polyrock! Give us Polyrock!

Late last year E.J. at Scenestars posted twice about Polyrock as a call for release of this incredible, influential band on CD. I am adding another voice to that plea. If you took one of Polyrock's records today, released it under another name and didn't tell anybody the music was almost 25 years old, you'd think it was a new band. That's how far ahead of time the band's music was. "Love Song" is from their second album "Changing Hearts"(RCA/Victor) which once again was produced by Philip Glass who contributes additional keyboards.

Find Scenestar's posts about Polyrock here and here.

Go to the download page to get Polyrock -"Love Song"