felser

The Dream Syndicate and the Paisley Underground

44 posts in this topic

So I risked $10 on the 2CD set "The Complete Live at Raji's" by The Dream Syndicate, and am just absolutely blown away by it.  Wow, love the guitar roar and the whole vibe.  Never knew Steve Wynn had that bandleading in him, had been unimpressed by the little bit of his solo stuff I had hear.  I know I need to get "Days of Wine and Roses" by them, what else by them?  Interested in experiencing Karl Precota's guitar playing, and more of Paul Cutler's playing.  Not interested in production with 80's synths and gloss.  As far as the rest of the Paisley Underground scene, I have the CD with the Rain Parade's first LP and EP, and have the Bangles stuff, and the one big album by the Plimsouls.  Not into country rock, so don't need to experience the Gram Parsons-inspired branch (sounds like the Long Ryders and I guess Green on Red fit that description).  What else?  Anyone familiar with a group called True West, or one called The Steppes?   Some interesting-looking stuff available by them.  Any guidance greatly appreciated.  This seems to be one of the last unexplored frontiers of interest for me in pop music (along with some fairly obscuro 70's/80's R&B and freestyle stuff).  Thanks.

Edited by felser

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Days of Wine and Roses is great. Medicine Show and Out of the Grey are pretty solid too, but the first record is just killer.

I like True West a lot, especially the first EP, but Drifters is also really strong (if a bit less raw). Haven't investigated much of their stuff after Drifters, since the lineup changed significantly after that with Russ Tolman's departure.

I could never get into Green on Red beyond the first record, and barely that one... never heard the Steppes. Opal is a bit heavier and weirder, but they rule and were part of that scene as well.

Actually, re: True West, just buy this CD. It contains all the early stuff and has good notes.

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Thin White Rope came a bit later out of Davis and aren't quite as garage-y or hazy as those first gen bands, but their entire discography will probably be of interest to you.

This is also a nice keepsake from that era.


1486586.jpg

http://rarebird9.net/rainyday.html

PS: Karl Precoda isn't really active in music anymore, but some of his post-DS work can be found under the moniker Last Days of May.

Edited by Joe

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I'm a HUUUUGE Dream Syndicate/Steve Wynn fan. I like just about everything, and like you said Complete Live at Raji's is a KILLER live album - start to finish! I don't think you can go wrong with any of their albums, but Days of Wine and Roses is definitely one of the classic albums of the 80's. I think Ghost Stories is a really strong album, too.

As far as Steve's solo albums, you could start with Melting in the Dark, ...Tick...Tick...Tick, and Northern Aggression. He was also a member of an Indie LA 'supergroup' called Gutterball who put out a few albums in the 90's - the self-titled first one is probably the best.

If you don't have the Plimsouls live album Beach Town Confidential, get it.

I think Opal only put out one album and maybe an EP, but the bass player was Kendra Smith who played bass on Days of Wine and Roses, so there's a connection there. Not sure of the availability of those. Mazzy Star is co-led by Opal's guitar player David Roback. I think their first album was pretty good but they've gotten progressively more quiet and introspective.

I'm sure I'll think of some more ...

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You might want to look into Yo La Tengo - especially their early stuff like New Wave Hot Dogs and President Yo La Tengo (which were re-packaged into a single CD at one point). There's a nice compilation that came out in 2005 called "Prisoners of Love", too. Their more recent albums have been a little inconsistent, energy-wise IMO.

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Memory lane time (not the name of a band). This scene hit London as a package it seemed at the time (and oddly connected in my memory to REM but that's probably memory tricks). Contrary to felser I fell big time for Green On Red and The Long Ryders and saw them many times live so they must've been over here a lot. I'm not too sure how their music would stand up to my tastes nowadays.

I owned the first Dream Syndicate album and the early Rain Parades but sold them on since

Another Mazzy Star fan here and would recommend all their albums and what Hope Sandoval has gone on to do since. In fact, they/she's one of the few rock bands that still get a good listen amongst all the Jazz/improv

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Memory lane time (not the name of a band). This scene hit London as a package it seemed at the time (and oddly connected in my memory to REM but that's probably memory tricks). Contrary to felser I fell big time for Green On Red and The Long Ryders and saw them many times live so they must've been over here a lot. I'm not too sure how their music would stand up to my tastes nowadays.

I owned the first Dream Syndicate album and the early Rain Parades but sold them on since

Another Mazzy Star fan here and would recommend all their albums and what Hope Sandoval has gone on to do since. In fact, they/she's one of the few rock bands that still get a good listen amongst all the Jazz/improv

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Kendra Smith's solo work is not easy to find but worth tracking down. A unique voice in a "movement" that could err towards the derivative (e.g., The Three O'Clock, whose music has never really connected with me).

The original Deep Ellum scene of the mid-80s here in Dallas was unmistakably indebted to the Paisley Underground. Bands like Shallow Reign, Three On A Hill, The Buck Pets and Lithium Xmas all combined punk and psychedelia with some success.

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You might want to look into Yo La Tengo - especially their early stuff like New Wave Hot Dogs and President Yo La Tengo (which were re-packaged into a single CD at one point). There's a nice compilation that came out in 2005 called "Prisoners of Love", too. Their more recent albums have been a little inconsistent, energy-wise IMO.

agree that the more recent Yo La Tengo recordings are missing the spark and the magic that makes their older music so special

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Memory lane time (not the name of a band). This scene hit London as a package it seemed at the time (and oddly connected in my memory to REM but that's probably memory tricks).

True West toured with REM around the time of Drifters, and perhaps afterwards too.

Haven't gotten as into Wynn's solo career but probably should revisit some of it. I was always more into the heavy stuff (surprise, surprise) so Dream Syndicate and their scruffy allies were more my speed. I respect Yo La Tengo but most of their output is not for me, save anything that is clearly informed by a Flying Nun obsession (the label, not the TV show).

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There's an LA band called Eleventh Dream Day that falls into this category. They've had an on-and-off career but have continued to put out albums on a fairly regular basis since 1988.

Here they are at SXSW in 2011

DSCN3094.JPG

BTW, here's the Baseball Project (Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon [Steve's wife] and Peter Buck) at the same event.

DSCN3126.JPG

Edited by BFrank

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On 8/29/2015 at 2:32 PM, BFrank said:

There's an LA band called Eleventh Dream Day that falls into this category. They've had an on-and-off career but have continued to put out albums on a fairly regular basis since 1988.

Here they are at SXSW in 2011

DSCN3094.JPG

BTW, here's the Baseball Project (Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon [Steve's wife] and Peter Buck) at the same event.

DSCN3126.JPG

AFAIK Eleventh Dream Day is a Chicago outfit. Caught them at SXSW for that show, quite fun. McNew was subbing for Doug McCombs.

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1 hour ago, clifford_thornton said:

AFAIK Eleventh Dream Day is a Chicago outfit. Caught them at SXSW for that show, quite fun. McNew was subbing for Doug McCombs.

You're right about Chicago. For some reason I always thought they were from LA. The Dream Syndicate is doing some shows with them this year, too.

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Man, how did I miss this thread the first time around?  Huge fan of the Paisley Underground... and not aware of that live Dream Syndicate release.  (Iirc they put out a live EP back in the mid-80s, but I never got around to picking it up.)  Rain Parade occasionally plays reunion shows.  

Hmmm, then there's this:

3 X 4

Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, Bangles and the Three O'Clock all covering one another's songs in 2018.  Interesting concept.  

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10 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Man, how did I miss this thread the first time around?  Huge fan of the Paisley Underground... and not aware of that live Dream Syndicate release.  (Iirc they put out a live EP back in the mid-80s, but I never got around to picking it up.)  Rain Parade occasionally plays reunion shows.  

Hmmm, then there's this:

3 X 4

Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, Bangles and the Three O'Clock all covering one another's songs in 2018.  Interesting concept.  

3x4 sounds fun to me,  

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nice! I would see a Dream Syndicate/Eleventh Dream Day bill in a heartbeat.

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6 hours ago, EKE BBB said:

Long Ryders - Psychedelic Country Soul

My favourite Paisly Underground band, the Long Ryders, has publised a new album after 30+ years... and it is damned good!!!

 

Not surprised it's good.  I have a DVD by them called "State of Our Reunion" which is pretty fabulous.

Image result for long ryders state of our reunion

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Long Ryders were regular visitors to London, saw them a few times around the release of their first couple of albums. Always good value. Sid Griffin lived here, maybe still does.

Green On Red, now there was a great live band. Not sure they were Paisley Underground but were contemporaneous, in my head at least. I daren't check to see how wrong my memory is...

 

edit to add: just read back through the thread and I was saying much the same 4 years ago. Consistent or boring? hmm

Edited by mjazzg

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1 hour ago, mjazzg said:

Long Ryders were regular visitors to London, saw them a few times around the release of their first couple of albums. Always good value. Sid Griffin lived here, maybe still does.

Green On Red, now there was a great live band. Not sure they were Paisley Underground but were contemporaneous, in my head at least. I daren't check to see how wrong my memory is...

 

edit to add: just read back through the thread and I was saying much the same 4 years ago. Consistent or boring? hmm

Green on Red was definitely considered Paisley Underground in their early stages.  Sorry their early music is so unavailable (keep thinking/dreaming that Cherry Red will do a box, like they did with the Long Ryders, or that Omnivore will do something, like they did with the Dream Syndicate and Game Theory), and I've never heard the later stuff, as Chris Cacavas's organ was so much of what I liked about them..  I also have a good live DVD reunion by them.  I have always found "Cheap Wine" very moving.  The line   "I'm just a man who doesn't know right from wrong, who can tell?"  often runs through my head in difficult situations.

Image result for green on red dvd

Edited by felser

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First couple-few Green On Red albums are swell.

I tried with the Long Ryders but felt that a good band was marred by overstuffed production and slickness.

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11 hours ago, felser said:

Not surprised it's good.  I have a DVD by them called "State of Our Reunion" which is pretty fabulous.

Image result for long ryders state of our reunion

They played in Madrid back in 2016, IIRC, and I stupidly missed that gig!

From my point of view, the list of groups belonging to Paisley Underground (or New American Rock, as it was mostly known here in Spain), connected or influenced by this musical development, could include:

Green on Red,

Dream Syndicate,

Long Ryders,

Three O'Clock,

Bangles,

Rain Parade,

True West,

Game Theory,

Wednesday Week,

Los Lobos,

Let's Active,

R.E.M. (early stuff),

Guadalcanal Diary,

Jason & The Scorchers, 

Violent Femmes,

Rank & File,

Smithereens, 

Naked Prey,

Lone Justice,

Del-Fuegos,

Del-Lords...

 

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Nice list!

BTW, Chris Cacavas sat in with one of the Dream Syndicate shows I saw last year. Really added a lot to their sound!

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We also had our own "Paisley Underground" scene down here in Australia through the 80s

some great bands like "Hoodoo Gurus", "Lime Spiders", "Scientists", "Wet Taxis", "Triffids" (early), "Church" (early), "Ups & Downs", "Stems" plus New Zealand had the amazing "Chills"

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