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.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Southern power-pop explosion

Holy dogballs am I exhausted. Had an excellent weekend in Baltimore with the usual suspects (and some new ones), despite the parade being rained out. The day turned sour, however, on the drive home. Construction narrowed 495 down to one lane, and a drive that normally takes 80 minutes took almost three and a half HOURS. All I'm going to say that I hope the people in the two left lanes get face herpes and that Andrea's idea of a superhero whose power was visiting karma on people never sounded better to me.

Rather than rage full on due to dumbass suburban warriors in Chevy-made aircraft carriers who are either oblivious or indifferent to how their actions affect the fate of everyone, I'm gonna get the hell damn on with this thing. I have the next few days of the Kids Are All Dead planned out, so let's make our way down the list, eh?

First up is Southern power-pop greats Let's Active, the perennial faces of slightly off-kilter of 80's college radio. Frontman Mitch Easter will probably be most remembered for producing those first few great REM albums and for apparently pissing off Chris Stamey enough to spur the latter man into forming the dB's, the name to drop when discussing pop rock with someone at an awful hipster party. Also, his wife Angie was reportedly the inspiration for the enduring Replacements' classic "Left of the Dial."

All of this would be enough to ensure that his name would live on in the realm of Those Who Care Way Too Much, but those first few Let's Active releases are pretty damn awesome. It definitely sounds of its time, but that ends up being one of its charms rather than an impediment. When hearing the ascending, chiming Rickenbacker with those only-in-the-80's drums, you instantly become a Paisley wearing college student with one of those weird almost-a-bowl-cut haircuts and a Superchunk poster on your wall. While not as kudzu-thick as fellow Southerners REM, there's still an air of murky distance and mystery on their records, which only makes them that much more interesting.

Of course, it's still as poppy as the Raspberries or early Big Star, but the production adds a layer of menace, or maybe dread. It changes every time I throw the records on. Like with the ascendancy of Southern rap years later, bands like Let's Active benefited from the lack of attention heaped upon the bands in NY and LA. With no pressure to be famous or fit a formula, they were more or less free to do what they wanted. Hell, they're debut EP was their demo, which a big label like IRS would never have imagined doing with one of their flagship artists like the Police.

If you ever find yourself driving through the deep South, put this on. Trust me, it will all make perfect, perfect sense.

Every Word Means No -

Make Up With Me -

Waters Part -


Blogger thatgirl said...

we were listening to them at work last week.

12:55 PM

Blogger Matt Ramone said...

You work at an awesome place. I dream of one day working at a place when Big Black can be blared and enthusiastically accepted.

12:58 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home