Saturday, August 24, 2019

Summer of Subway: The Groove Farm

I'm an idiot. As much as I loved the Subway Organization, I didn't really get into the Groove Farm back in the day. I think it was because I hated their name. I associated it with hippies when I was all about the jangle. I did realize my mistaken assumption and came around, however, and I know what did it. For those uninitiated, just give their 1987 single "Surfin' Into Your Heart" (SUBWAY 15T) a listen. It'll change your life. Well, maybe not, but after that two-minute indie-pop anthem you will want everything the Bristol band ever made. I have all of their Subway stuff now, but I still need a couple of things from their own Raving Pop Blast! label. I'll get there. Turns out their moniker was apropos because once they get that groove going you'll have goosebumps. Try the instrumental "Expanding Rendeer" and you'll hear what I mean.

From everything I have ever read, I got the impression the lads weren't all that happy with how things went while on Subway. It seems it had to do with differences in recording styles and all of the little details Martin Whitehead would sweat over when the band was all about recording quickly, cheaply and completely DIY. Perhaps the Groove Farm were more laid back. In other words, they were made for self releases, and the band went back to their Raving Pop Blast! label after one long player and a few singles/EPs. They called it quits in 1990, but they reunited for an album earlier this year that has been very well received. Give it a listen.

Like so many of my favorite bands from this time period, the Groove Farm was obsessed with '60s music, particularly garage, surf and psychedelia but coupled with poppy-punk influences such as Buzzcocks. These days, my favorite Subway release by them is the four-song "Driving In Your New Car" 10" (SUBWAY 22N, 1988). The original version of "Driving In Your New Car" can be found on the 'Alvin Is King' album. This sounds like something straight from the Pebbles series. It's the organ that really grabs me. That last song is a cover penned by Donovan.

Driving In Your New Car (Mini Mix)
Expanding Reindeer
I Can't Dance With You
Epistle To Dippy

So far in the Summer of Subway series:
Pop Will Eat Itself
Cowboy and Spin Girl
Choo Choo Train
Sex Clark Five
The Charlottes
Bubblegum Splash
Shop Assistants
The Soup Dragons
Rodney Allen
The Rosehips
Korova Milk Bar
The Clouds

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