Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter A, Part 10)

Here is another album that I hadn't played for many years, but I did dust it off last fall for a listen when I saw that Omnivore Recordings had put together a really nice CD+DVD reissue package with lots of new extras. I remember 'Athens, Ga. - Inside/Out' being a pretty big deal in 1987, mostly due to the appearance of the ever-popular R.E.M., but also because the label had such a fantastic avenue to tout it. "I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge" was must-see TV during its four-year run on MTV, and the show was winding down as the documentary was coming out, but not before showing many clips from the film. MTV's "120 Minutes" took over from there, playing R.E.M's cover of the Everly Brothers' "(All I've Got to Do Is) Dream" with regularity, and I seem to recall the show even sponsoring a "Win a Weekend in Athens" contest.

The B-52's and R.E.M. are probably the first two bands you think of, and rightly so, but Athens has continued to be a hotbed of activity ever since those halcyon days. Let's not forget the Elephant 6 Collective and the roster of Kindercore Records all the way through HHBTM Records, one of the most enjoyable indies out there today. I enjoyed every band on 'Athens, Ga. - Inside/Out,' and there were some minor successes, such as Dreams So Real getting signed by Arista in 1988 and Kilkenny Cats being a part of Twin/Tone (hey, if it was good enough for the Replacements!), but most of these groups never quite made the big time. Well, Love Tractor was on Big Time Records, so I stand corrected.

Probably my all-time favorite Athens band is Pylon, and they were on this soundtrack, but I think I'll wait until we get to the letter P to showcase them. Let's try a couple of bands that barely made it beyond this album. The Squalls were a nice bit of jangle while they lasted, and their final recording was the album 'No Time' in 1988. "Na, Na, Na, Na" was recorded on Feb. 3, 1986 at the legendary 40 Watt Club. Bar-B-Q Killers were one of the harder and sloppier bands on the scene, and I mean that as a compliment. "His and Hearse" comes from their show at Uptown Lounge on Feb. 4, 1986.

The Squalls - "Na, Na, Na, Na"
Bar-B-Q Killers - "His and Hearse"


TheRobster said...

A great soundtrack, an even better film. Some dead good tracks on this, but funnily enough the two you've picked also appear on one of my in-car compilations. Aside from R.E.M. and Pylon, they're probably my two fave tracks.

Can't wait for you to get to P now. 'Chomp' simply must feature...

Echorich said...

After The B-52's, Pylon was always my favorite Athens band. R.E.M. moved on and away much faster in my mind. Sure The B-52's became a downtown NYC band pretty early on, but they always referenced their Athens roots. Pylon were early purveyors of "jangle" pop and I remember seeing them open for Gang Of Four as far back as 1980 and possibly U2.

charity chic said...

Have I blinked and missed Bryan Adams?

Brian said...

Your comment Cuts Like a Knife, CC. Don't make me Run to You and... and... damn, I'm out of awful titles. Wait, don't make me Run to You and knock you back to the Summer of '69. I'm out.

B-52's are coming up, Echorich. Apologies in advance to the Robster but by the time this film came out I was more or less done with R.E.M. Murmur is in my top 10 of the decade though and I was loyal through Life's Rich Pageant. Have everything from the I.R.S. years but not a single song after that. Indie snobbery part but not all of the problem, I'm sure.

Robster, Ignore that message to Echorich. I recall a heartfelt post or two from you on the fellas from Athens. I'll redeem myself when I get to Chomp and Gyrate. Glad you like the film and soundtrack. Listened to the whole thing during the digital conversion this week. Not a bad song on either side.

kevinpat said...

I loved this sound. Still do. Already a fan of the dBs, on a whim I bought through mail order the original Hibtone "Radio Free Europe" by REM and I was hooked. My bud and I saw them in a very small club in Poughkeepsie (yes, there really is…), had a beer at the bar along Stipe, and we was sold, man. B52s, Let's Active, Love Tractor, Oh Ok, Method Actors, Buzz of Delight (w/Matthew Sweet) and of course the wonderful Pylon. There was a parallel scene going on in Hoboken with great bands like The Bongos, The Individuals, The Cucumbers, The Fleshtones, The Feelies and a particular favorite of mine, The Cyclones. If I could figure out how to zip file it I would share the 4 volume set I compiled I called "Hoboken To Athens". (If anyone would like I am willing to send hard copies your way….really.) It's fun and chronicles a great but way-underappreciated sound in American rock, altho Lexus ( Ithink…??) is using Pylon's "Cool" in their ads these days. Ha! I love this stuff.

And I get the loss of love for REM after their popularity built although that didn't happen for me. Automatic for The People is a very favorite of mine and I went with the band until the end. There are some great tracks hidden in all that stuff.

And yes this album is a great sampler for a sound that those of us in the know can appreciate. Thanks, Brian! Everything is cool.

McPop said...

I'm also a fan of the film and soundtrack (bought the cassette back when it came out but still need to pick up the Omnivore reissue).

kevinpat, I'd love to hear the 4-volume "Hoboken to Athens" set.

Brian said...

I'm with McPop.

kevinpat said...

Sure! Tell me how to send and give me a week to burn & copy.

Brian said...

Kevinpat, I'm going to write you in a bit.

McPop, not sure how you want to handle it, but you can send me your info to my email
address if you want and I can send it on.

The Swede said...

I've got (or had) records by several of the artists mentioned in dispatches throughout this post and the comments thereafter, but never owned 'Inside/Out' for some reason. The Squalls' tune is particularly cool.
kevinpat's compilation sounds a bit mouthwatering.