Monday 5 June 2017

Lo-Fi with Pavement, Fly Ashtray & Thinking Fellers Union Local 282

I must admit I did listen to Slanted & Enchanted 100 million times back in the day. This tune still sounds pretty bloody good. As much as I now find Malkmus a tool, Perfume-V is undeniable. It's all about that great guitar sound innit?

The 'insect going through a vortex' guitar on this track is pretty cool too. These 2 tunes were the best and most outre on Slanted & Enchanted as I recall. There was also a bunch of stuff that was way too Mark E Smithy ie. Two States, Flame Thrower, Conduit For Sale etc. That's a bit of a shame because a lot of the guitar work was ace but it got let down by the vocal delivery. The thing is though, as the Mark E Smith-isms started to disappear so did the great guitar bits. They became lame immediately after this LP. Is this the exact point where underground/indie rock died? Or was it just Pavement who couldn't push forward (?).

It's funny how everyone knows who Pavement are but nobody's heard of Fly Ashtray. Fly Ashtray formed in NYC in 1983 but didn't release their first single until 1987. Clumps Takes A Ride is the 1991 follow up to their debut full length album, Nothing Left To Spill, which was a self-released tape from 1990. I don't think I ever saw a Fly Astray review outside of a fanzine. If you like your early Pavement check out Clumps Takes A Ride. The tracks on this tape (well I had a tape) were recored between 1988 and 1991 and issued by the Shimmy Disc label.

I guess a few more people would be aware of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. Some of their LPs received good reviews including this gem that I still quite like. Lovelyville was another record from 1991 that got played a million times. It's a high water mark of early 90s underground noisy experimental art rock or whatever you wanna call it. I recall that their following 2 LPs were also good if not quite as mental as Lovelyville (haven't re-listened to those yet though). Unexpectedly Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 still have a mysterious charm. If the kids are checkin out Pavement and Royal Trux there is no reason they shouldn't be checking out these supremely elusive nutters.

I thought going back and listening to these 'lo-fi bands' was going to really tedious but I've really enjoyed listening to Fly Ashtray and TFUL282. I still dunno if I can bring myself to listen to Fantastic Palace or Trumans Water though. I fear that those records will not hold up like Clumps Takes A Ride and Lovelyville have.

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