Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Vinyl District's Money Back Guarantee #1

So there it was. That old feeling unfelt for some time now. A slight chill, hair standing up on the arms. An honest-to-goodness, unheard NEW song revealing itself right there in the room. Boom. Played it again. Same thing. "OK, well - this was the live version...maybe the studio track's not that good," I thought. Needle down...nope, uh - same energy. Same intensity, hurt, CONFESSIONAL. Amazing.

As I blathered about in the ground rules to this thing...EXCITEMENT.

Only the song wasn't new. In fact it's 22 years old but still was fresh as the wax spinning right there at 33rpm. The band? THE SOUND. The track? Total Recall.

Trace back the seconds
Recall the detail
From someone will, to someone does
To someone did, you know I did

Back in the 80's when I roomed with my pal Shark, he had an awesome vinyl collection. Well, I think NOW. Our tastes were a bit different then...he liked gritty, noisy intensity. I liked a melody. Oh, sure - they swim in the same pool, but admittedly he was in the deeper end and I was just keeping afloat toward the shallower side. Or so I thought over the years. And when I think back, Shark's is the vinyl collection I covet these many years on and my buying habits often reflect what I recall his collection contained.

Which brings me to The Sound. He had their one seminal LP in his stack "From the Lion's Mouth." Killer, intense stuff...great vocals, grit, intensity, atmosphere -- even melody. I was hooked. But as all roommates do, we went our separate ways and The Sound remained in the back of my head all these years..."Yea, gotta look for that one on ebay," I'd think. Then I did. It was as good -- no, BETTER then I recalled.

Oh there must be a hole in your memory
But I can see
I can see a distant victory
A time when you will be with me

Michael Keefe wrote last year at Popmatters, " It's difficult to imagine in today's environment of light speed information dissemination, but there was once a band whose debut album received five-star reviews from both New Musical Express and Melody Maker, and yet that group never gained anywhere near the level of popularity they deserved. In 2006, such an act would have 100,000 friends on MySpace, and music critics all across the globe would be falling all over themselves to offer their own opinions on the relative merits of this highly touted act. In 1980, however, news was still passed along by means of town criers and the newly invented telegraph system. Or so it must have seemed to The Sound, one of the very finest bands of the post-punk era. Like many great artists, they toiled in obscurity during their period of peak activity. Unlike most of these great artists, however, they still haven't caught on. To the few of us who have found our way to music of The Sound, their obscurity is simply unacceptable.

And he's 100% right. It's The Vinyl District's Money Back Guarantee #1.

Read his full history of the band here and dammit, buy the CDs here. And as I mentioned, the vinyl's available here.

Oh, and grab Total Recall here.