Monday, May 08, 2006

Raise A Glass To the Go Betweens

I woke this morning to some unsettling news. If you don't follow indie music and only listened to the radio in the 80's, then you likely missed out on an integral pop/rock group from Australia by the name of the Go Betweens. I didn't really learn much about them until around 2000 at the suggestion of a musically inclined friend. I started listening to one of their albums called 'Before Hollywood.' Needless to say, this album is essential. Most recently, the group released an album in 2005 called 'Oceans Apart,' one of my favorite albums of last year. Back to the unsettling news..the lead singer of the group Grant McLennan died of unknown cause over the weekend. If you've never checked out this group, I would suggest opening your mind and music selection beyond the radio..the Go Betweens won't disappoint you.

In the event one of my children reads my blog in the future, I have provided a description of the group from

The Go-Betweens were perhaps the quintessential cult band of the '80s: they came from an exotic locale (Brisbane, Australia), moved to a major recording center (in their case, London) in a sustained bid to make a career out of music, released album after album of music seemingly tailor-made for the radio in spite of their having little use for contemporary Top 40 musical/lyrical formulas, and earned considerable critical praise and a small but fervent international fan base. Although the Go-Betweens were absent throughout the '90s before re-forming in the new millennium, both of the band's songwriters embarked on respectable solo careers in the interim and, while rarely reaching the heights the Go-Betweens scaled, they still managed to uphold the group's legacy.

Robert Forster and Grant McLennan began as a pair of teenagers obsessed with the earthy rock of Dylan, CCR, and the Velvet Underground and encouraged by the Australian punk of the Saints. As collected on The Able Label Singles, their first two singles show a fondness for scruffy, British Invasion/new wave-influenced pop/rock. Picking up permanent drummer Lindy Morrison, they recorded their debut LP, moved to England, and signed a short-lived deal with Rough Trade. Going for a lush, tuneful sound crammed with nonstandard rock instrumentation, they went on to record five more excellent LPs. Though their pre-Beggars Banquet albums were traditionally hard to find in the States, that label finally reissued all six albums on CD in 1996.

In 2000 the band reunited and released a new album, The Friends of Rachel Worth, which also featured all three members of Sleater-Kinney. It wasn't just a fluke, as the band recorded follow-up albums released in 2003 (Bright Yellow Bright Orange) and 2005 (Oceans Apart). Documenting a 2005 concert in their hometown, the DVD/CD package That Striped Sunlight Sound arrived in early 2006.

Currently listening to:

Released 5-2-06


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