'90s songs. I had hatched a recent plan to have them come up on Memorial Day so I could feature the song "Make It Through the Summer" and ask you for your go-to summer songs. As I was ripping vinyl and reading up on the Chamber Strings last night, something unexpected hit me over the head like a hammer.
Frontman Kevin Junior died earlier this year at the age of 46.
His passing was just days after the death of David Bowie. Missing this news makes his demise seem worse somehow. There was a four-sentence blurb in Billboard, and that was about it. He deserved more attention. When I reluctantly moved back to Chicago from Washington, D.C., in 2000, the one saving grace was returning to a vibrant music scene, and the Chamber Strings were the first new band I really got into during that era. Although there would only be two albums, 'Gospel Morning' and 'Month of Sundays,' both are exceptional examples of lush pop inspired by the likes of Big Star, the Faces and T.Rex, and I'll be forever thankful to Junior for producing them.
There were many lost years after 'Month of Sundays,' but the classic lineup of the Chamber Strings did reunite for a while in the latter part of the '00s. They produced one limited-run 7"... just enough to get the handful of us who cared excited again. It looks as though there may still be a few left. Here is the A-side of that single from 2009.
"I Come Apart (A Tragic Comedy)"
If you only have a few minutes, though, I implore you to go straight to this one. Don't expect the summer feel of a "Fun, Fun, Fun." It's more like the melancholy "Surf's Up." I'm having trouble finding the words to convey how much I love this song. Just listen.
"Make It Through the Summer"
OK, now let me know some of your favorite summer songs, and let's hope this summer is better than the winter and spring has been.
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