Archive for The Feelies

The Feelies Sill Play Crazy Rhythms

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on June 23, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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When the Feelies call one of their rare road shows “An Evening With The Feelies,” they mean it. For their third encore — not their last! — they played The Velvet Underground’s “I Can’t Stand It” and Television’s “See No Evil.” Going to see them, you know you’re in for a real cool time… even if fave “Real Cool Time” was one of our few favorite tunes they didn’t play in their 29-song double set.

It took a while to get things right in the first set, as Glen Mercer had some tuning and pedal problems. But once things gelled, it was a reminder of why, all those years ago, a group of normcore suburbanites who’d shlep in from the wilds of New Jersey were the coolest band in Downtown NYC.

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No band we know of has ever so wonderfully bridged the gap between Buddy Holly and Lou Reed, in terms of song structure and style.  And after all these years, they still play crazy rhythms, and not just on “Crazy Rhythms.” Stan Demeski spent some of that time after the Feelies broke up for the second time in the early ’90s playing with Luna, and there were moments when his motoric drumming reminded us of the latter band’s great moments with him.  In partnership with bassist Brenda Sauter and second percussionist Dave Weckerman, there were moments of polyrhythmic perversity and utter ecstasy.

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Since we first saw the Feelies — at the 1979 New York Rocker holiday party — to this day, the band has only released seven albums.  The Brian Jonestown Massacre has released nine albums since 2010!  The Feelies broke up and lost some steam between Crazy Rhythms in 1980 and the quieter The Good Earth, which came out in ’86.  And they were out of commission for roughly 12 years beginning in the early ’90s.  We still think of them as being on a 40-year continuum, because we’ve played their albums so continuously for almost all that time.

Fanatics have their favorites, but ours is 1988’s Only Life, which was a high point of that decade.  That 2017’s In Between not only was a great album, not only provided some of last night’s best songs — “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Been Replaced” — but sounded completely of a piece with all that had come before, tells you something about the singularity of vision shared by Glen Mercer and Bill Million.  They’re an underrated guitar duo, we think, because unlike Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberly Rew, the division of labor in the Feelies is almost, but not entirely, split between Million’s rhythm and Mercer’s lead.  Seldom do they fight for dominance.  They’re just two guys in a glorious band playing lovely songs for an entire evening.

Why Sasha Frere-Jones Really Is A Great Rock Critic

Posted in Music with tags , , , on July 9, 2008 by johnbuckley100

If you are someone who, like me, gags each and every time you read the wooden prose of Jon Pareles, wherein he talks about “Mr. Reed’s guitar vamps,” etc. it really is a delight to read Sash Frere-Jones in The New Yorker.  Yeah, he’s a little full of himself.  Name a really great rock critic who isn’t?  From John Mendelssohn to Byron Coley, Lester Bangs to Robert Palmer, the best rock critics have always made one step back, laugh, and go “What the…”  And Frere-Jones has the gift.  I hadn’t listened closely to the drums on Led Zep’s “Good Times, Bad Times” for years until Frere-Jones, writing about the reunion concert last autumn, shined the spotlight on the late John Bonham’s polyrhythmic perversity.   And then came his preview of the Feelies/Sonic Youth show in New York last week.  Here’s how he described the link between the two bands: “To be wildly reductive about the whole thing: the Feelies are the logical extension of the breakneck strumming in the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On,” while Sonic Youth are the logical extension of Lou Reed’s solo.”  That is so good that if ever The New Yorker casts him out onto Times Square, look for Tulip Frenzy to host an online bake sale, just to keep the boy going.

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