The Paisley Underground finally goes overground in a long overdue tribute to… itself!
BY FRED MILLS (vinyl photo from the author’s collectionI)
This gem, from the estimable Yep Roc Records, whose equally estimable David Shaw spearheaded the project, is nominally titled “3 x 4,” and of course if you consider that it has American rock heroes Rain Parade, The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles, and The Three O’Clock all covering each other, three tracks apiece, the title is technically accurate.
One might alternatively propose, however, that the project is ∞ x 5 since the sonic ramifications are so much more than the sum of its parts. Let us duly note that the four bands enlisted for submissions are not only temporally, geographically, and (reasonably) stylistically linked, and therefore, we presume, more than just a little familiar with one another’s respective oeuvres; their aesthetic and philosophical roots are more than just a little in synch. These are, after all, among the rock ‘n’ roll badasses that populated the early/mid ‘80s SoCal Paisley Underground. Admittedly, in their time the Bangles took their tunefulness to the bank to a degree considerably more lucratively than the others, but if you fast-forward to 2019, everyone involved has earned a degree of musical stature and industry respect that will leave ‘em all with some terrific stories to tell the grandkids.
There is literally not a duff note heard over the course of the two platters, and if I were to single out any tracks they would be the staggering cover of DS’ “When You Smile” by Matt Piucci and his gang; the Bangles very nearly out-DS’g the DS with their throbbing “That’s What You Always Say”; and of course the Steve Wynn-helmed crew (who?) covering timeless RP gem “You Are My Friend.” Writes Wynn, of the tune, in the copious liners to this brilliant, colored vinyl, must-own David Shaw-overseen project, “This song broke my heart when it came out…”
Steve, me too. As did all of you folks in the bands every time you released a record. The paisley underground community was very much a real entity, and not just a journalistic label, that spread far and wide. Thank you forever from my pointed little head.
Rumor has it that one can acquire this on digital devices or play it on an outdated technology referred to by some as “compact disc,” but why would you? See the photo above for reference and, yes, you are welcome.
DOWNLOAD: This is the kind of release you need to grab every song and listen to them one-by-one and back-to-back. Then go track down the original versions – I’ll be glad to make a Spotify playlist for ya if you’re lazy….