Friday, November 18, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter D, Part 4)

As I flip through my records for this series, there are some bands that bring a different level of excitement as I see who's next. Today is one of those days, but what to play? So much to choose from. Surely, something from their salad days, but I can't ignore the fact there was a fruitful comeback this decade. OK, here goes...

The dB's are one my biggies, particularly the 'Stands for Decibels'/'Repercussion' era, but I found there was still plenty to like after Chris Stamey left the band. Peter Holsapple is a pop genius in his own right. Let's start with an A-side penned by Holsapple and released in 1981 that wasn't part of the original release of 'Stands for Decibels.' The B-side, one of Stamey's manic left turns he was known for at the time, was a deep cut on the album, but every song on the album was perfection.

"Cycles per Second"

The dB's called it a day after the 1987 album 'The Sound of Music,' but the fellas began popping up with an occasional new song and show around 2005. Rumors of a new album started surfacing around 2011, and a 7" surfaced for Record Store Day. Back then I was one of those standing in line when the doors opened, and I snagged my copy of "Picture Sleeve." We were told the A-side would not be on the new album, making it a must for die-hard fans. This has become one of my favorite songs from the band. Here are a few of the lyrics I like best. Perhaps you have felt this way a time or two yourself.

Fell in love with a girl on a picture sleeve
That I saw in an ad in the NME

Found her in the back of the indie bin
She played the drums she could make the drumsticks spin
They wrapped around her fingers as she counted it in
Sitting back with her cool sardonic grin

Put her up on the shelf next to Matchstick Men
When I walk in the room there she is again

Fell in love with a girl I couldn't deceive
Fell in love with a girl on a picture sleeve

The B-side, incorrectly stamped as the A-side on my copy, was a rare track written by drummer Will Rigby. "Write Back" would later appear on 2012 comeback album 'Falling Off the Sky.' What was supposed to be filler turned out to be my favorite song on the album. There would be a four-song EP for Record Store Day 2013, but the dB's have been quiet ever since, although Stamey continues to release stellar solo albums.

"Picture Sleeve"
"Write Back"


McPop said...

Hi Brian, I had to chime in because I'm a huge fan of the dBs who are amazing and vastly underrated. I love that Picture Sleeve 45 too! I have Big Brown Eyes and Black and White singles which are two of my favorite dBs songs. I have most of their LPs but still need to pick up Stands for Decibels on vinyl (I've had the CD for years). I also really dig Chris Stamey's discography and even have Peter Holsapple's little known solo album. These guys are musical geniuses and should be better appreciated. Take care, Matt

Brian said...

Thought I might hear from you, McPop. We have discussed the dB's before. Thinking maybe last time might have been when Stamey's Euphoria came out last year. Just about went with Black and White for this post but thought a few old timers might not have Judy. If you have Stands for Decibels on CD, you probably have it. Pretty sure the song became standard fare with the switch to that format. You have me on Holsapple's solo album. Green with envy. I also don't have the single for (I Thought) You Wanted to Know. That's high on my list of wants, but at least the song has popped up on comps I own. Happy we have these fellas in common.

kevinpat said...

The dBs, not unlike their predecessors BigStar were so innovative and inspired so many bands. The match that starts the fire. Everyone sees the fire but the match just gets burned up in it. Because I'm one of those "old timers" I probably was introduced to the dBs via Trouser Press or New York Rocker magazine. That's where I got a lot of hunt from. I was looking for something new and it all sounded fresh and amateur and cool. It was. I have the early Sneakers and dBs singles (on Car) and my dB vinyls are treasured. Of course my two favorites are Stands for Decibles & Repercussions. Great sound on those recordings. And I especially loved the quirkiness that Chris Stamey brought. I must admit I lost interest after he left. Although I like the output after those two stellar albums, they didn't stand out among what everybody else was putting out. But that's just me. But again like BigStar, the dBs are never truly appreciated for the sparks they created in music. They are our little secrets.....

Except Big Star isn't in your vinyl collection Mr LTL?? What's up with that??? For the last few years I have been writing the RockNRoll Hall of Fame to get BigStar nominated. Nothing. I gave up when they put Chicago in. Then I didn't want my beloved BigStar associated with such dribble. My 2 cents.

Also after I write this I'm adding my '(ThoughtYou)Wanted To Know" single in my will to Brian. PS. Hoboken to Athens sir. :)))

kevinpat said...

PS. Love the two tracks! I didn't know them. Thanks!

Brian said...

Kevinpat, Thanks for remembering me when you're gone. Ha! I completely understand your love for the early material, that's my favorite too, but do I think the post-Stamey years had some moments. Including the single (Thought You) Wanted to Know on your mix was genius. Before that, I had the song on the Children of Nuggets box set. Oh, and wanted to add that Big Star is, in fact, a biggie around here. Not in this series because I have the 2-fers that Stax reissued on CD back in '92. I haven't had anything on Big Star here in a while. This was the last time:

Rol said...

Another band I only own / was aware of one track by (curiously from the same power pop compilation as one of your earlier selections). Another band I clearly need to investigate in further detail.

The Swede said...

The dB's, wow. There's a band I haven't thought about for many a long year. I once owned both 'Stands for Decibels' and 'Repercussion' on LP plus one of them (can't remember which) on cassette sealed in a can! Marketing gone mad! Sadly they all left the family long ago, when money got tight one time. I'm pretty sure that I still have Holsapple & Stamey's 'Mavericks' on CD though. 'Picture Sleeve' is a gem.

Brian said...

Rol and Swede,
I think those first two albums should be in your collections... and then add from there!