Various Artists – A Few Uneven Rhymes, a Tribute to Winter Hours

January 01, 1970

(Main
Man/Unka Jeff)

www.mainmanrecords.com

Even
a tentative exploration of this bountiful 28-track, double-CD compilation might
leave you with the unsettling feeling that you’ve just awakened from a fitful
night’s sleep as the principal character in an old episode of The X-Files. You’re moving from room to
room in an abandoned house with hauntingly familiar music playing in the
background. But how could these excellent sounds, honoring a band you don’t
recognize, be coming from so many artists that just don’t ring a bell? With the
notable exception of former Violent Femmes frontman Gordon Gano, of course,
paired here with the Ryan Brothers. If I could only ask Gordon Gano what’s
happened to me, maybe I could shake this disorienting feeling that I’m caught
in a parallel universe!

BLURT’s
advice is to take a deep breath, dry those sweaty palms and get that heart rate
back down to something closer to normal.

Winter
Hours was a New Jersey-based college-rock band whose 1985-90 heyday coincided
with like-minded, (in some cases only slightly) better-known jangling outfits
who were the musical peers of the mighty R.E.M.: the Bongos, the Connells, Dreams
So Real, Game Theory, Let’s Active, Miracle Legion, True West and Zeitgeist. As
BLURT’s Fred Mills astutely points out in the liner notes to this thoroughly
enjoyable tribute, the college-rock scene was built one brick at a time, in a
day when the internet, faxes and phone messages simply didn’t exist-let alone
such new millennium conveniences as Facebook, iPods and MySpace. Playing a loosely knit circuit of
clubs spread throughout the land, tiny joints that included among many others,
Maxwell’s in Hoboken, Athens’ 40-Watt Club, Los Angeles’ Club Lingerie and the
I-Beam in San Francisco, these bands, including Winter Hours, survived longer
than common sense would have predicted.

It
was a wonderful era, full of weekly surprises, that won’t come again. Here’s a
chance to get a real taste of those halcyon days, maybe for the last time.

Standout Tracks: “One Small
Achievement” (Matthew Caws); “Ten Minutes” (The Parkway Charlies) JUD COST

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