This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Only the Soft Boys remain

Oh my god. I think I'm developing The Sleep Madness, the condition that derives from a combination of not sleeping enough and sleeping in places not designed for sleeping, such as the bathroom floor or in the basement on a stack of Rubbermaid crates. Combine this with the fact that I have to get up at 6 to be on time for my gumint (guvmant?) job, and, well, Sleep Madness.

Maybe this is why the Soft Boys are sounding radder than ever lately (even though they always sound killer). The Soft Boys were ostensibly a punk band, but they really just got lumped in with the rest of the "weirdo" music because they came up at the time of New Wave. Leader Robyn Hitchcock (who went on to pen and perform many solo albums, some excellent and some not) was more akin to a hipster Syd Barrett, but minus all the obnoxious hippe O'Leary shit.

1979's Can of Bees is a weird, humorous take on punk and Britrock, featuring many left-field twists and turns that would later reappear in more than a few post-punk records. It's no wonder a young Stephen Malkmus took a listen to this and ran with it.

1980's Underwater Moonlight is generally considered to be their classic release. Any album with "I Wanna Destroy You," simultaneously a yelp of rage and a sardonic piss-take of more serious peers declaring themselves Antichrists and bemoaning career opportunities, is gonna be killer. It's a weird, funny record, full of bizarre non-sequiters and sharp-shifting guitar lines.

Unfortunately, if was their last for a while. The group disbanded, and Hitchcock went off to do solo records and act in mediocre movies. They reunited for 2002's pretty good Nextdoorland, but they broke up again that year, and it doesn't look like they're going to join the plethora of overlooked-in-their-own-time indie rock godfathers in the cash-in reunion craze.

I'd write more, but my bed is calling. Or some shit.


Blogger AmyMeacham said...

I saw the 2002 reunion and it was one of the best shows of that year. I recently saw him with his latest lineup including Pete Buck, and it was also amazing. I stood right under Robin!

2:20 PM

Blogger Matt Ramone said...

It only seems fair, since Buck's playing in REM was heavily influenced by the weird melodic left turns that characterized most of the Soft Boys records. Plus, yanno, he slays, and it'd be rad to see him play in a smaller venue than the typical REM concert.

Did Robyn play "Goodnight I Say"? That song is about ten kinds of awesome.

2:24 PM

Blogger AmyMeacham said...

I'm not sure, Steve has the setlist somewhere. (I never remember the names or words to anything, which my blogging has helped me with.)

Robyn had a touch of laryngitis, so they had to tone down the volume so you could hear his voice. This worked very well with Buck's guitar sound, which reminded me of jangly early REM. If I member correctly, I think they covered "Eight Miles High," a tongue in cheek homage to McGuinn, with whom Buck is often compared.

5:22 PM


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