Friday, November 30, 2007

Why don't you come on back from way out west

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Art In The Dark

By request, here's another rerun:

I’ve had these songs ready to post for about a week now. The problem is that I don’t know anything about this band. Before anybody writes to say that’s never stopped me before, let me add that I should know a little about Art In The Dark. I read every issue of Tasty World back when it was still around, I’ve read books about Athens GA music in the eighties and I still don’t know anything about the band. I think I may have even seen them in ’85.

Art In The Dark released a 4-song EP in 1983. The record was produced by Mitch Easter at his Drive-In Studios in January and September of that year. This song is pretty much a textbook example of jangle. The whole record is good, it might’ve been a paisley underground classic if the band had lived in Los Angeles instead of Athens, GA.

The band seems to have changed their name to The Icons for their LP called ART IN THE DARK. The Icons get production credit anyway. The record was recorded by John Keane. The band covered Big Star, there’s another textbook jangle song and a couple other good ones. There is also a fake live song that I won’t force on you.

I think there was another EP in there somewhere but I’ve never seen it. Sometimes, Art In The Dark reminds me of The Connells. They were fairly popular just a few years later, Art In The Dark should’ve stuck around a little longer. I don’t know when the band broke up. Or when they got together either.

So why have Art In The Dark been forgotten? Roger Lyle Brown only mentions them once in his book Party Out Of Bounds, Trouser Press doesn’t mention them at all, Allmusic does but just barely, the RockAthens page has the band member’s names and 3 pictures. There’s no websites for the band or the guys in the band. There was something here but it’s expired. Where'd they go?

Go here to find out where Art In The Dark went.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Big Dipper news

Good news for all of us Big Dipper fans! Merge Records is going to release SUPERCLUSTER on March 18, 2008. That’s the 3 disc set of Big Dipper’s Homestead albums and a third disc containing an unreleased LP from the post Epic years. Yay!

There’s no SLAM stuff included so these live b-sides from 1990 aren’t going to be available again until CBS decides to reissue SLAM with bonus tracks. Maybe they will if enough people buy a copy of SUPERCLUSTER. So get one!

The live songs are a pretty good set of cover songs taken from two different shows. A couple of standards, a song that every band had to play at least once in 1989 and a surprise choice. It's good stuff.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The bartender is just like a mother to me

and I'm his favorite child

Sunday, November 25, 2007

When you walk through the garden

you gotta watch your back

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Curtain call

By popular demand, here's a zipped file containing all of the posted Method Actors songs that were posted a couple weeks ago.

It's a big file and probably won't be available for very long so get it while you can. I will not post it again for at least six months.

Somebody really needs to release A CD of this stuff. There is a demand for it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dig This Menu Please!

grab a knife and a fork

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Carvin' The Bird

Cool Turkey

Mashed Potatoes

Pass The Peas

Green Onions


Mo' Taters

I know that this one isn't really about food at all. But see how you feel about it after 3 days trapped at your brother's house eating leftover turkey!

Monday, November 19, 2007

So let's not talk of love and flowers

And things that don't explode

Sunday, November 18, 2007

There is no east

or west

Friday, November 16, 2007


As far as I know, this single on Mint Records is Kid Champion’s only release. There may be some compilation appearances but I can’t find evidence of anything under this name. I’m not sure if any of the band did anything else, the insert only lists the band’s first names.

This is a pretty good record even though its not too original sounding. The best song sounds like Jessamine’s Dawn Smithson singing with Polvo. This one is flying saucer attack with a rhythm section. The remaining instrumental has Polvo feel to it too. I like it a lot but if you don’t like any of those bands you ain’t gonna like this either.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Re-do the method

Another repeat, this one by request:

The Method Actors are pretty much a forgotten band now. That’s kind of surprising, the duo was part of the first wave of Athens bands after The B-52’s first got the town noticed. Pylon still gets plays out and plays occasionally, R.E.M. is still R.E.M., Love Tractor got back together a few years back, and the Method Actors have just about disappeared into obscurity.

The 1979 breakup of the Tone-tones - Athen’s second band - called led to the Vic Varney and David Gamble forming a two piece band. The drummer & guitarist didn’t want the trouble of dealing with a lot of different people so they decided to stay a duo. The Method Actors may have been the first completely self contained two-piece guitar-and-drums rock band.

The Method Actors played clubs up & down the East Coast of the United States and were reportedly a powerhouse live act. Peter Dyer of Armageddon Records saw the band play a club show in Atlanta and signed them to his label. He flew the duo over to England and put them in a studio the very next day. The record came out in late 1980 and was named ‘single of the week’ by The New Musical Express. "The Method" is my favorite Method Actors song.

The next move for the band was a terrific 10” record called RHYTHMS OF YOU released on Armageddon Records and most of the same songs came out again on a dB records EP called DANCING UNDERNEATH. All of the Method Actors records have at least one song exclusive to that release. Get ‘em all! The records were critically acclaimed in England and the usual places where independent records get noticed in the U.S.

In January of 1982, The Method Actors releases a double album called LITTLE FIGURES. It’s too long. The songs are good, there’s just too many of them to listen to at one time. I usually only play a side or two at a time. There was a single LP version available in the U.S. but I’ve never seen a copy. Vic Varney started playing more bass and less guitar on this record. The duo even brought in a third musician for one song - a steel drum player! Again the record was well received in the music press and ignored everywhere else.

By this point, the Actors were getting tired of wonderful reviews and empty clubs. David Gamble left the band and joined Boat Of... and made a record with Thomas Dolby under the name Jack Heard.

Vic Varney expanded the Method Actors to five members. This lineup recorded a live LP and a second studio album (worth getting for the great cover of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”). Unfortunately, there was finally a change to the pattern, the records stopped getting favorable reviews. Varney brought the curtain down on the Method Actors in early 1983.

Vic Varney is still playing as solo act. He gets a lot of great reviews.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy birthday

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under I green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

- Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

When trials of life get you down

and you don't know what to do

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Until the end of time

There were a couple of guys named Richard that started a band. So the band was called Richard Twice. It’s a nice little chamber pop record from the time when there were lots and lots of nice little orchestral pop records. Since there were so many to choose from in 1971, this one fell through the cracks. That’s the only reason I can think of that this record wasn’t a hit. It's as good as some of the singer-songwriter that were popular back then. The record is timeless, it's could've been released anytime in the 30 years and wouldn't sound out of place.

Whoever wrote the liner notes really believed in Richard Twice. "More melodic than the early Beatles, not as obscure as Simon & Garfunkel". The unknown writer also points out that Richard Twice were not society-rejecting hippies: "They are normal in the sense that they are not square because they feel and are aware. On the other hand, they don't reject the culture... they are not angry... they see society's faults and try to understand them..."

The excellent backup band is a supergroup of musicians whose names you almost remember. Drake Levin (Paul Revere & the Raiders), Don Galluci (The Kingsmen, Don & The Goodtimes, FUN HOUSE producer), Larry Knechtel (Simon & Garfunkel, Bread), Mark Tulin (the Electric Prunes), and Rusty Young (Poco) all contribute to the record.

Those guys are still making music. I can’t find any evidence that either Richard made another record.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Playin' records, drinkin' cokes, eatin' barbecue

I’m not really sure where I got this fine 45. Maybe it was in a pile of records that I got at at a flea market or junkstore and I didn’t notice it at the time. About 5 years ago, I found the record in a box on a shelf in the record room, put it on the turntable and loved it. It’s been near the top of the stack ever since.

"At The Party" really is a great record. I don’t know why it didn’t make it onto the AT THE PARTY compilation that Candy Records put out a few years ago, it would have fit right in. If you like this record even a little bit, you need AT THE PARTY. Heck, you need that album even if you don’t like this song at all.

The doo-wop style A-side is a chance for the Lyrics to get in touch with their sensitive side. I like it (the guitar part is very good) but it didn’t stand a chance in 1964. Maybe it would’ve been a hit if the Lyrics had been on a bigger label.

Ike Perry and His Lyrics performed around Cleveland, Ohio in the early sixties. They released at least three singles. This one was released twice. The first release was on Mama Records and then again on Courier Records, a small label from Fremont, Ohio.

(Yes, this is a repeat. I'm busy this week.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

You never say the things

that you used to say to me

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Call Him up

and tell him what you want

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All going out together

While I was posting all those Halloween songs yesterday, I almost forgot a bout a comment that I got about a post from a while back.

Big Dipper is reuniting for 4 shows! It's not scheduled to happen until April '08 so go mark the dates on your calendar. There is also a 3-disc set of Big Dipper's records planned. Yay! If everybody that googles "Ron Klaus wrecked his house" buys a copy, it'll be a hit. Read more here.
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