Saturday, October 01, 2005

Eighteen things at once -- you spread yourself so thin!

VOLCANO SUNS "Silvertones"

The Volcano Suns were formed by Mission of Burma drummer Peter Prescott in 1983, or so the Internet tells me, and these songs are from their debut LP on Homestead, 1985's Bright Orange Years. The thing is out of print despite being the band's best album by a rather wide margin (no offense to latter-day bassist Dave Kleiler who I was indie-rock hall buddies with back at NYU and whose best high school pal fronted the initial dough to start Matador -- nice dudes). Prescott does that anthemic shout-thing a few times too many on here, but pound for pound, it's the finest post-MoB offering, and yes I do like that Consonant debut and Roger Miller's Oh. Orange is fuzzy and pleasantly fucked midtempo indie-punk, and it's a great record to listen to when you momentarily tire of your Husker Du, Membranes, Squirrel Bait and Big Boys records.

Don't believe me? Check out what your hero Will Oldham told INDEX magazine nine years ago: BRUCE: What are some of the things you've recommended for Drag City's reissue label, Dexter's Cigar? WILL: The first record by Volcano Sons[sic], The Bright Orange Years. They went on to make a few more records that I didn't like as much, but that record - it came out in '85 or '84, between '84 and '86 - I still listen to it now. It's actually a beautiful looking record, beautiful sounding record, just a really good record. It's been out of print for a while.

The first time I ever saw an "unplugged" set by Yo La Tengo was at a record shop somewhere in the West Village in the Spring of '87. They did a terrific version of "Cover." Years later I phoned in a pledge to WFMU when Yo La Tengo was doing one of their annual live request broadcasts, and I couldn't remember the name of the Suns song I'd seen them do a dozen years earlier, so I just requested "that Volcano Suns song they do." And then of course, they did another song entirely (since they know almost as many songs as Peter Stampfel), the great "Balancing Act" song, the one that goes "It matters to meeee." That phrase was borrowed for the masthead logo on one of the final issues of the awesome, Burma-worshipping, New Jersey-based '80s 'zine Matter. Anyone remember Matter?

My usual webpage to store stuff on is acting funky now, so this one's a dreaded "you send it file," sorry.


Blogger Disco:Very said...

One of all my all-time favorites of the 1980's, although I must admit being more partial to their 2nd LP, "All Night Lotus Party". I would give my right eyeball to have both albums reissued on a two-fer CD someday...

3:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Matter was based in Chicago. Didn't Albini write a column for them? Good looking mag too. -- jonhope

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooh brother you're speaking my language. The Bright Orange Years changed my life. Back in the day I interviewed D. Boon and Mike Watt at a college radio station and they said that they were pretty sure that the Suns swiped the album title from the name of their first band -- before they named themselves the Minutemen. The band was called The Bright Orange Band.

Me and the ex-cons run the Sovereign Glory Ministries. Check it out.

5:59 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i enjoyed reading this...especially that will oldham loved our record...that means alot to me thanks for the info...

2:36 PM  

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