Archives for posts with tag: Velvet Crush

The Sprinfields

“This Perfect Day” is the sparkling opening track from a recently-released compilation by jangling US  guitar band The Springfields called “Singles 1986 – 1991” just released on Slumberland Records.

The names Ric Menck and Paul Chastain should be well known to anyone familiar with 1980s and 1990s guitar pop. The Springfields, along with related bands Choo Choo Train and The Big Maybe, preceded the eventual formation of melodic guitar-pop heavyweights Velvet Crush, all sharing common sonic ground with the likes of Matthew Sweet and, through producer Mitch Easter, with his band Let’s Active.

While everyone talks about The Springfields influences being The Byrds and The Hollies the glorious opening track “This Perfect Day” seems more in thrall to The Beatles legendary B-Side “Rain” and the rolling feel of “Ticket to Ride”, with its effervescent melodic bass-lines, drum rolls, phased vocals and masterclass in crisp intertwined layers of sun-bright jangling guitars. It’s one of my all-time favourite songs.

The album collects the 5 singles they released on Sarah, Picture Book, Summershine and Seminal Twang plus an extra track not previously available on vinyl.The other songs do tend to follow that Byrds/ Hollies melodic jangle template more, and also overlap with both West Coast US Paisley Underground bands like Rain Parade and UK guitar pop bands like Primal Scream around the time of their first singles and album.

One explanation for why those first two songs “This Perfect Day” and “Bicycle Song” (or “Happy Bicycle”) sound different is that these songs –  the exact same recordings  – were actually released on a 7″ single as Choo Choo Trains (“This Perfect Day”/ “Happy Bicycle” on Picture Book Records.  It’s a single I’ve had – and adored – for years (thanks Richard).

The Springfields “Singles 1986 – 1991” compilation is an essential compilation for fans of pop with harmony vocals and guitars that jangle and chime.

Choo Choo Train single

Big Quiet_Unblinking Ear RecordsMy friend Dean has for many decades referred to musicians of particular note as Gods or Goddesses. I’m assuming he is referring to the Greek classics, wherein the Greek Gods were considered deities with dominion over certain aspects of nature. I have no hesitation in declaring US musician and producer Mitch Easter the God of Jangle. As if to prove his dominion over that art-form, and that his powers remain undiminished into his 5th decade, here’s the Mitch Easter produced Big Quiet with “Interesting Times”:

Mitch Easter’s production credits started in 1978 with The Sneakers, and, in the early 1980s, included R.E.M. releases up to their classic “Reckoning” album, his own exemplary band Let’s Active, and also Game Theory, Windbreakers,  Australian bands The Someloves and Hummingbirds, and Velvet Crush, Dot Dash… a who’s-who of jangling power-pop since the 1980s.

“Interesting Times” by Big Quiet fits in that ‘Paisley Underground’ lineage perfectly. It’s the title track from a new album out 3 May 2019 on NY label Unblinking Ear Records.

It’s all here: the strum & jangle, the pounding reverb drums, the guitars that sound like sitars, the powerful vocals and big chorus hooks… phew. Big Quiet are Marisa Cerio (Rickenbacker & vocals), Chris Matheson and Pete Smith, and the Brooklyn, NY based trio’s jangling power-pop is dialed up to 11. Stunning.

The album “Interesting Times” is available to pre-order on Bandcamp now. Why wouldn’t you?




Dot Dash“Unfair Weather” is the opening track on the new-this-year sixth album from Washington DC band Dot Dash. The song – and the whole album “Proto Retro” album – is jam-packed with jangling power-pop.

“Unfair Weather” reminds me of a couple of favourite 80s guitar pop bands from the US who were from the mid-west or east coast during the “Paisley Underground” era. One such band was The Windbreakers, with their twin guitar jangle and melodic rush. Another was Windbreakers producer Mitch Easter’s band Let’s Active. And coming along a little later in the 1990s was Velvet Crush… who also shared Mitch Easter as a producer.

That said, Dot Dash’s “Proto Retro” album also sounds as fresh as this years crop of jangling power pop bands like The Beths, or Snail Mail or Waxahatchee. So whether it’s for the retro nostalgia or the proto zeitgeist, this Dot Dash album is a winner either way.