The dB's - Classic or Dud

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I saw these guys mentioned a couple of times on Pitchfork's "Greatest Albums of the 80's" list. Despite this, I decided to check out a couple of their songs. They seemed all right to me. Not spectacular. Apparently they were part of the jangle pop movement, but the songs I listened to weren't particularly jangly or poppy.

My name is Kenny (My name is Kenny), Sunday, 16 March 2003 23:24 (seventeen years ago) link

The first 2 dBs albums are classics. After that, forget it. Will Rigby was a motherfucker of a drummer. The Collectors Choice set of their first 2 does nicely for anyone interested in post-Big-Star power-pop.

Jess Hill (jesshill), Sunday, 16 March 2003 23:34 (seventeen years ago) link

CLASSIC, and that includes most of _Like This_ and a big chunk of _The Sound of Music_. First two are definitely the best, though.

mike a (mike a), Monday, 17 March 2003 00:41 (seventeen years ago) link

I only have Repercussion, and while this kind of brainy power(?)-pop ain't for everybody, it's a fine good time. I definitely want to hear the first one.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 17 March 2003 00:43 (seventeen years ago) link

In 1983 they were a big favorite. Boy I felt kinda ripped off when I heard Big Star the next year. But I still like them a lot, they had some very strong stuff. "Moving in Your Sleep" really gets me somehow. I think the conventional wisdom presented above is about OTM.

Hunter (Hunter), Monday, 17 March 2003 01:07 (seventeen years ago) link

Very Classic at the time of their release but only just small="c" classic now. Like Hunter pointed out, they obviously wear the Big Star influences, but I like 'em a lot also. And I definitely include Like This and The Sound Of Music in there also. "Amplifier" is a totally classic song.

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Monday, 17 March 2003 02:29 (seventeen years ago) link

Really overrated. Seemed better at the time they were released I remember really liking amplifier but its really just kinda boring. Why are they namechecked so much?

girl scout heroin (iamamonkey), Monday, 17 March 2003 07:37 (seventeen years ago) link

Not at all my favourite Powerpop act. Lots of great Powerpop around, but Chris Stamey & co are slightly overrated.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Monday, 17 March 2003 11:49 (seventeen years ago) link

Peter Holsapple is a nice enough guy though.

girl scout heroin (iamamonkey), Monday, 17 March 2003 13:51 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah, "Like This" isn't bad, much more conventional power-pop, sans Stamey. Peter Holsapple wrote good songs, very annoying voice, and they were probably the worst live band I've ever seen, esp. in light of what good musicians they really are. When I got the Collectors Choice reissue last year, I was struck by how good Rigby was. For me that made the difference, most power-pop tends to be a bit deficient in the rhythm section, but the two best pp acts had the two best drummers, Jody Stephens and Will Rigby. The first dBs album has a few weak moments but overall, that's a really classic record, very expert indeed.

Jess Hill (jesshill), Monday, 17 March 2003 14:25 (seventeen years ago) link

Keep context in mind. They may not sound like much now, but back when the first two albums came out, Big Star was still an OOP cult fave and no one else was making music like the dBs. A decent best-of would be well worth exploring for beginners.

Lee G (Lee G), Monday, 17 March 2003 14:48 (seventeen years ago) link

All-time classic for the sequencing of their first two records, and the countrified Lennon/McCartney duality of Chris Stamey (the "smart" one) and Peter Holsapple (the "soulful" one) as songwriters. If you just hear the singles, or a track here and there, then sure, whatever. But as LPs, you really couldn't do much better in the early 80s than Repercussion and Stands for Decibels. I like Like This but Stamey was gone by then to a disappointing solo career; The Sound of Music has three of my favorite songs but the sound is flat.

Search: Ride the Wild Tom-Tom, a collection of early tracks from when they were sleeping on the floor of New York Rocker.

Neudonym, Monday, 17 March 2003 14:58 (seventeen years ago) link

God I loved the NY Rocker ,I still have a stack of them on the fridge gathering mold spores. I like to see who was playing at CBGB's on any given day in 1979 The DB's certainly were on the scene at that time and yeah in 1979 no one was familiar with Bigstar. So I recant. Classic with the small c like the other dude said

girl scout heroin (iamamonkey), Monday, 17 March 2003 15:19 (seventeen years ago) link

dbs also did a nice version of Richard Lloyd tune "I Thought You Wanted to Know" aval. on one of those Rhino American Power Pop samplers.

Jess Hill (jesshill), Monday, 17 March 2003 16:14 (seventeen years ago) link

I always felt there was something wrong with me that I liked _Like This_ as much as I did (and do). At the time I was shocked that it was not a top 40 record, but it also made me feel kinda lowbrow. Also, Stamey's and Holsapple's _Mavericks_ album was strong. Having never heard it, I scored it last year in a parking lot clearance- for 99 cents. It's about the jangliest janglepop around.

Hunter (Hunter), Tuesday, 18 March 2003 05:59 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
Classic all the way. Stamey has just released a solo cd- Travels in The South that is one of the best things he has done. Given that it has been almost 13 years since his last proper release I guess he was able to scrounge up some songs.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 01:10 (sixteen years ago) link

A story from back in the day. Bearsville's deal with Warner Bros. was about to end or already had (I believe; anyway, something like that). Jim Ford, the dB's' manager, sat down with someone at WB who held up a sheet of paper and said, "This is the marketing budget for ['Like This']." The guy then balled the piece of paper up and threw it into the trash can, explaining that WB would honor the contract and release the record, but that that was it.

It still sold a few thousand copies in Chicago, and funnily, my hometown of Norfolk -- the latter due in large part to heavy FM airplay by my best friend, who broke format at her powerhouse rock station almost every night to spin something from it.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 06:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Like This was pretty popular back in Baaaastin when it came out, but college radio was the right venue for that. My friends on WHRB spun it all the time. A great record, with some great songs. But I don't like the new Stamey as much as I'd like to. Not fun enough.

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 13:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Holsapple was always the funny one.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 13:52 (sixteen years ago) link

stands for decibels is one of my favorite drumming records and one of my favorite production jobs. i dont really like repercussions that much; i may have to give it more listens - its a little too slow and verges on boring sometimes, which the first album never does.

that said, on the strength of the first album, total classic.

peter smith (plsmith), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 13:56 (sixteen years ago) link

The first album is a classic...one of the half-dozen essential power-pop albums. "Repercussion" is also good if not as strong as the first. "Like This" has its moments but I do not like Peter Holsapple's singing. The stuff after that I haven't listened to at all. They were a lousy live band, though.

Stamey solo records, I've heard "It's Alright" and his first solo album, the one with "Depth of Field." It's nice, the production is dated, though. "It's Alright" is actually very good, a few duds, but the title track is quite impressive.

They really were one of the first groups to take what Big Star did and extend it into the '80s, and as such always seemed far more credible than, say, Teenage Fanclub, who were always a bit underpowered for my tastes. And Will Rigby is a great drummer.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 14:12 (sixteen years ago) link

i would go so far as to call the dB's (circa stands for decibels) art-power-pop.

peter smith (plsmith), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 14:15 (sixteen years ago) link

The first album is a classic...one of the half-dozen essential power-pop albums.

can i ask which are the other essentials?

Michael Dubsky, Tuesday, 27 July 2004 14:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Cheap Trick, Dream Police (that's right, you heard me, this is their best record)
Velvet Crush, Teenage Symphonies to God
other noms plz

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 15:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Anyone have this: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000003T04.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg?

artdamages (artdamages), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 15:56 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah, it's fun! hardcore version of 'judy,' including f-bomb by holsapple

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 16:14 (sixteen years ago) link

Customers who bought titles by Db's also bought titles by these artists:

Fountains Of Wayne
Let's Active
The Shins
New Pornographers
Ministry

artdamages (artdamages), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 16:16 (sixteen years ago) link

i sold my CD copy of Like This on ebay a few years back for, like, 60 bucks and i regret it to this day.

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 17:26 (sixteen years ago) link

The first album is a classic...one of the half-dozen essential power-pop albums.

can i ask which are the other essentials?


Why certainly.

I'd say:

Big Star--#1 Record; Radio City
Marshall Crenshaw--Marshall Crenshaw; Field Day
Badfinger--Straight Up; No Dice
Todd Rundgren--Something/Anything (kinda beyond p-p but contains the essential "Couldn't I Just Tell You"
Everly Brothers--Two Yanks in England ('66, roots of American power-pop right here)
Move--Shazam; Something Else from the Move (contains "Fire Brigade" and "Wild Tiger Woman," both quintessential p-p)
Easybeats--Absolute Anthology
Left Banke--Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (mo' roots of A.P.P.)
Records--The Records (spotty but includes "Starry Eyes" and "Teenarama," essential)
dBs--Stands for Decibels
Flamin' Groovies--Shake Some Action; Now (not entirely consistent but good stuff)
Cheap Trick--"If You Want My Love"; "In Color" I guess--not really as nuanced as the best power-pop, but their hearts were in the right place, and I'd call them the slightly watered-down populist wing of the genre)
"Blue Ash"
Chris Bell--I am the Cosmos
Raspberries--Starting Over


that's really about it. Teenage Fanclub, Jellyfish, etc., did some nice stuff but can't really think of one great album by them. Ditto Diesel Park West, who did the best Big Star rip ever on "All the Myths on Sunday" but whose LPs aren't too good. The Posies don't really cut it for me, although some nice stuff. The Shins are somewhat in the vein, but a bit too folky. 10cc tried too hard, although I like 'em OK. Tom Petty kinda did it, but too fuckin' populist for my taste. The Beatles, Byrds, Zombies, Who are often cited as the roots of the genre and I won't disagree, but I think the Everly Brothers in the mid-'60s were far more to the point of what power-pop became than any of them. The Small Faces and the Kinks certainly had their power-pop moments but overall, no. The Knack were really odious, although of course they had one big hit. Squeeze was good but they were something else, although there are a few things you could call power-pop in their ouvre. The Nazz weren't really very good. Dwight Twilley didn't make a really consistently good album.

I think Greg Shaw and those Bomp! people did the world a disservice with their lame-ass attempt to define the genre. Sweet isn't power-pop, and I don't think the Who is ultimately that important either. The roots of the genre lie in the American attempt to do the Beatles--and I think the Everly Brothers in the mid-'60s were every bit as good as the Beatles and had the necessary American dislocation and melancholy that makes the genre what it is. It ain't never been skinny ties and big chiming guitars and all that, nope.

Let 'er rip!

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 20:52 (sixteen years ago) link

If you are looking for power pop, i'd say check out The Smithereens. They were a good band, especially the drummer, he was rock solid and could sing. The early two albums are better than the later few, so seek out "Especially for You" or "Green Thoughts" if you are curious.

I like Teenage Fanclub's earlier albums. They seemed to get more streamlined and cleaned up as they went on and I couldn't get into it as much. "Bandwagonesque" is good front to back, even if part of it is a total Big Star rip.

Earl Nash (earlnash), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 23:26 (sixteen years ago) link

I like the Knack, at least the first album. It's a lot more rocking then some of the records you listed, Eddie. Burton Averre was a really good lead guitarist.

What about Shoes, Rubinoos, and records I've never heard like the Quick's album on Mercury and the Milk 'n' Cookies album on Island?

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 23:38 (sixteen years ago) link

I got Stands For Decibels finally and am not really getting into it. I want to give it more time though. I finally gave up on Repercussion but I like "Happenstance," "Ask For Jill" and "Amplifier" off that one.

CeCe Peniston (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 27 July 2004 23:51 (sixteen years ago) link

my favorite dBs record is a set of the 6 albion singles packaged in one plastic envelope that I got a few years ago. It has pretty much all the best songs from the first two albums, as well as nifty Assorted Images artwork.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 00:21 (sixteen years ago) link

dB's - definately classic. "stands for decibels" fucks with my head on a frequent basis.

maria tessa sciarrino (theoreticalgirl), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 00:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Shoes are great. 20/20, at least their first self-titled album, are also great. S/D Shoes "Tomorrow Night," 20/20 "Yellow Pills."

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Teenage Fanclub's Songs From Northern Britain would make this list for me.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, and Dwight Twilley Band's 'Sincerely' is also a classic LP. There are two different CD editions, both out of print.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Customers who bought titles by Db's also bought titles by these artists:
Fountains Of Wayne
Let's Active
The Shins
New Pornographers
Ministry

Ministry, now there's some power pop for ya.

"Amplifier" is definitely classic. Repercussion as a whole... not a dud, but certainly not on the power pop essentials list.

wetmink (wetmink), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:40 (sixteen years ago) link

I got Stands For Decibels finally and am not really getting into it. I want to give it more time though. I finally gave up on Repercussion but I like "Happenstance," "Ask For Jill" and "Amplifier" off that one.

Yeah, those are the ones I like best off "Repercussion."

"The Fight" off the first one is a dud, I think.

As far as the Shoes go, I like them fine, especially the very first one. I guess my problem with it, though, is that they seem like a gloss on the real thing rather than the real thing itself.

And my power-pop aesthetic for what it's worth has not so much to do with "rocking." I want rocking, I'll listen to any number of other things. The Knack just seem one-dimensional to me. As does Cheap Trick, whom I've grown to like more the last few years. For my taste the whole power-pop thing is about not-exactly-rocking, you know? Seems to me there has to be a certain ruefulness about it, which is why I like Big Star or the Everlys so much. I don't see power-pop as a populist form, actually, which when you think about it is strange since the whole thing does kind of derive from the attempt to keep the Beatles alive, who were the most popular group ever (at least of their time).

That's a good comment about the first dB's album, "fucking with my head." That album is insidious in the best possible way, formalism gone nuts.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, but the appeal of "Ecstasy" by the Raspberries is how rocking it is, no?

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:56 (sixteen years ago) link

That's a good comment about the first dB's album, "fucking with my head." That album is insidious in the best possible way, formalism gone nuts. (eddie hurt)

if you knew me well enough, "fucking with my head" is how i describe pretty much every record i love.

but yes, it is insidious! i remember the first time i heard "black and white" i didnt think much of it and then out of nowhere, i found myself singing it at the most random moments.

maria tessa sciarrino (theoreticalgirl), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 01:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Well, see, I don't really love the Raspberries all that much. "Go All the Way" doesn't do it for me nearly as much as Big Star's "When My Baby's Beside Me," and I'd say those are the canonical '72 power-pop statements along with Rundgren's "Couldn't I Just Tell You." The Raspberries were good but so damned tense, you know? But you have to say they're classic power-pop, I just don't listen to them all that much.

I forgot Nick Lowe's "Labour of Lust," which is pretty classic power-pop. "Cruel to Be Kind" is such a great single, and insidious...I mean, what is that weird sound that recurs in that song?

And yeah, Maria, I am pretty much enamored of the insidious...I don't know how much more insidious you can get than "Tearjerkin'" or "Cycles Per Second" or "Espionage" off that first dB's album. I need something offputting in pop a lot of the time; I've always had a blind spot when it comes to straightforward, rocking stuff...I find the Beach Boys insidious, and the Byrds and Love and the Zombies too, they're my favorite '60s groups.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 02:10 (sixteen years ago) link

three years pass...

Thursday, Dec. 6, the dB's will be special guests of Yo La Tengo, whose annual Hannukah shows at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ, have become an institution. They are $30 benefit shows, on sale now, and likely to sell out.

Dr Morbius, Monday, 29 October 2007 19:04 (thirteen years ago) link

I yield to no one in my love for the dB's. But as far as power-pop in the 80s (and 90s), all must bow before the mighty Green.

And damn, looks like I'll have to snap up a YLT ticket.

Sara Sara Sara, Monday, 29 October 2007 19:36 (thirteen years ago) link

Wasn't Gene Holder in Yo La Tengo? Damn, this is definitely one of those shows I wish I could attend. (It's also my birthday.)

Like This has now been reissued and is pretty damn cheap now.

Mackro Mackro, Monday, 29 October 2007 19:38 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw Stamey playing bass for Yo La Tengo in late 1985.

dad a, Monday, 29 October 2007 19:40 (thirteen years ago) link

They're also at Southpaw in Dec. The show they did at Bowery Ballroom earlier this year was fun, but Holsapple has lost range in his voice. Or more charitably, was not having a great night vocally.

Thus Sang Freud, Monday, 29 October 2007 19:43 (thirteen years ago) link

That's the Green that usta have Rudy Giuliani's ghostwriter playing bass in the '80s, right Sara?

I saw the dB's once in the '80s (post-Stamey) and once since (first reunion w/ Stamey?).

Dr Morbius, Monday, 29 October 2007 19:57 (thirteen years ago) link

That's the Green that usta have Rudy Giuliani's ghostwriter playing bass in the '80s, right Sara?

The very same. Ken Kurson was the bassist/ghostwriter. He also had a brief career co-leading the Lilacs (2 singles and 1 LP).

Sara Sara Sara, Monday, 29 October 2007 20:04 (thirteen years ago) link

i went to a Built to Spill show with Ken.

Dr Morbius, Monday, 29 October 2007 20:10 (thirteen years ago) link

I take it back: Like This is fantastic really, just not quite on a par with the previous two. 'The Sound Of Music' is OK but pretty ordinary.

PaulTMA, Monday, 1 February 2010 15:25 (eleven years ago) link

seven months pass...

I just realised the drumming on stands for decibels is the best drumming ever.

Spikey, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 07:09 (ten years ago) link

it is pretty great, yeah

having taken an actual journalism class (contenderizer), Wednesday, 29 September 2010 07:20 (ten years ago) link

The version of "Spy in the House of Love" on Ride the Wild Tom Tom is worth seeking out, I think it's my favourite dB's song alongside "Moving in Your Sleep". Why didn't Holsapple write another twenty like those?

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:38 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

I just realised they put out a single for record store day ("Picture Sleeve") and that they've got an album in the works. the single is a Chris Stamey gem and the drummer does the b-side which is also nice.

Spikey, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 11:07 (nine years ago) link

I listened "A Spy in the House of Love" last night.

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 27 April 2011 11:14 (nine years ago) link

I hate being like, "whoah, that dude got old," because it will happen to me -- soon -- but whoah, Peter Holsapple is unrecognisable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqvZRw7XqZc

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 12:38 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

I never really listened to these guys outside of a few key tracks (always meant to check out their debut), but man, the new one is pretty ehhhhh.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 27 July 2012 03:32 (eight years ago) link

I mean, its well played, but it really sounds pretty tame and AORish? Like there's no spark or anything, just competently played songs with pretty corny lyrics.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 27 July 2012 03:34 (eight years ago) link

I dig it, it hits all the right spots in my head. They sound so happy playing together and they know how to craft a tune.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 27 July 2012 03:41 (eight years ago) link

agree with both heated and boing - love me some db's - and while i like the new one in spots it is kinda ehhhh - pains me to type that too

jimmy_chop, Friday, 27 July 2012 11:14 (eight years ago) link

weirdly, because them becoming a constantly-touring act isn't really a possibility I don't think, the songs on this one sound like they'd really open up & kick ass live - like the road would really get them into a great pocket. I like this album a lot, really enjoy the tunes, but -- well, when what you're playing is a sort of 60s-inflected melodic rock you've sort of agreed to table concerns about "vitality" or "spark" in favor of just showing your wares

tallarico dreams (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Friday, 27 July 2012 12:45 (eight years ago) link

Yeah, I mean, I totally recognize that they are really great musicians and know what they're doing, I'm just pretty sure what they are doing right now, in 2012, doesn't hold my interest.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 27 July 2012 13:30 (eight years ago) link

I dunno, I think it's a surprisinly good album, certainly superior to The Sound Of Music. Stamey's songs are particularly good. I think it has quite a bit more edge than their solo careers have had of late. The only time it descends into cheese is 'She Won't Drive In The Rain Anymore' which suggests someone's been hanging out with too many Blowfish.

Supper's Burnt (PaulTMA), Friday, 27 July 2012 16:22 (eight years ago) link

only great track on the new dB's is "Send Me Something Real." the old Television-Richard Lloyd heave-ho on guitars. the rest, some good, a few rather pallid. their subject is the same old middle-aged angst and I don't think they do it very interestingly, for the most part.

Edd Hurt, Monday, 30 July 2012 23:50 (eight years ago) link

when what you're playing is a sort of 60s-inflected melodic rock you've sort of agreed to table concerns about "vitality" or "spark" in favor of just showing your wares

I don't see that there's any reason whatsoever why this has to be so.

timellison, Tuesday, 31 July 2012 00:08 (eight years ago) link

Well, I'm 45 and the lyrics on the new one speak to me, the sound is warm and invigorating and I'm drawn in. How much does ones distance from an albums themes factor into it's enjoyment?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 31 July 2012 02:30 (eight years ago) link

I'd be totally willing to overlook the clunky lyrics if I was being drawn in by anything else, but it just felt so, almost, clinical, to me. But thats not really the word I want to use either, I'm really struggling to explain why I don't really enjoy this album. It has something to do with this smirking ex-coworker of mine that would totally have found this to be the most clever thing ever and would take great pride in pointing out to me how "smart" they are. Admittedly, a lot of this is my projection, but I'm not enticed by anything here, beyond a could of great hooks that are too good to fuck up.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 31 July 2012 02:45 (eight years ago) link

I'm old enough to have bought the first 2 dB's albums on vinyl when they came out--1981--via mail order. So the middle-aged angst aspect of it is about someone my age. I think they are honest about it and I think they've earned the right to examine their plight, such as it is. I do love "Send Me Something" and enjoy the rest of the album, but it lacks the spark of the old dB's--even Like This had more bounce to it. I actually think Holsapple has gained as a singer, altho his yelping voice is still strangely callow. I saw Stamey and Holsapple a while back and thought they were great, and their last duo album was pretty good, and addressed the middle-aged angst thing pretty well. I respect these guys a lot, but their new record reminds me why I think rock 'n' roll is music that young people should do, if not necessarily music for young people...

Edd Hurt, Tuesday, 31 July 2012 03:54 (eight years ago) link

Well, yeah, in my mind it's a step down from "Like This" and "Sound Of Music" (which I adore) but taken on it's own merits, it's a very satisfying listen. I guess I'm just a sucker for the Stamey/Holsapple team because I think their two collaboration albums are great too whereas their solo work is very missable.

Will Rigby's song with "when I replied to your reply to my reply to your reply to my reply to your letter" is one of my favorites.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 31 July 2012 14:21 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

Experience is limited to the debut...but it still sounds amazing to me!

http://devonrecordclub.com/2015/03/22/the-dbs-stands-for-decimals-round-79-toms-selection/

yugi ex, Sunday, 22 March 2015 20:32 (five years ago) link

From another thread, The dB's Stands For Decibels/Repercussion--what's the cream of the crop?:

So this band-approved rarities site has posted a free .zip of Repercussiontracks performed live and otherwise; mp3s or wavs, your choice: http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com/

― dow, Wednesday, February 25, 2015 6:07 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Wowza, thx.

― EPMD Conference 2015 (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, February 25, 2015 10:09 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

"Band-approved rarities site"? Well, that's kind of unofficially the case, I suppose. There are members of The dB's that cooperate with me, and others that hold their noses at the mention of the blog (I won't name specific names here...)!

In any event, I'm glad to have folks here know about the blog. Poke around. There's a ton of rare dB's, Let's Active, and related groups.

Cheers,

Rob-in-Brevard
http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com/

― Robinbrevard, Saturday, February 28, 2015 6:42 AM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

dow, Sunday, 22 March 2015 21:29 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

https://yeproc.11spot.com/media/catalog/product/cache/12/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/c/h/chris_stamey_-_euphoria_sm_2.jpg

from Yeproc:

"It’s called Euphoria because, to me, euphoria lives inside an electric guitar--that's the place I find freedom, passion, exhilaration: in the spaces between the notes, in the distance between the frets. I found this record inside the same dilapidated old Silvertone lipstick guitar that I'd written my first records on." - Chris Stamey

With Euphoria, Chris Stamey returns to the guitar-driven rock band dynamic to deliver 10 stellar songs rooted in his trademark sound: Strong hooks, expansive production, solid musicianship, wonderful harmonies and unexpected twists. Where his last album, Lovesick Blues, was built on slower tempo acoustic chamber pop, Euphoria, hums with upbeat songs, centered around the electric guitar. Focus tracks include, “Invisible,” “Where Does the Time Go,” and “Universe-sized Arms” a track Ryan Adams wrote and sent to Chris to record. Guests on the album include Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense), and long-time friend and collaborator Mitch Easter (Let’s Active)

01. Universe-sized Arms

02. Where Does the Time Go?

03. Invisible

04. Make Up Your Mind

05. Euphoria

06. Awake in the World

07. Dear Valentine

08. When the Fever Breaks

09. You Are Beautiful

10. Rocketship

Bonus Tracks (on CD and Digital Download included in LP package)

Draggin' The Line (Bonus Track)

Euphoria Cont'd (Bonus Track)

Where Does the time Go (Groovy Radio Mix) (Bonus Track)
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"It’s called Euphoria because, to me, euphoria lives inside an electric guitar--that's the place I find freedom, passion, exhilaration: in the spaces between the notes, in the distance between the frets. I found this record inside the same dilapidated old Silvertone lipstick guitar that I'd written my first records on." - Chris Stamey

With Euphoria, Chris Stamey returns to the guitar-driven rock band dynamic to deliver 10 stellar songs rooted in his trademark sound: Strong hooks, expansive production, solid musicianship, wonderful harmonies and unexpected twists. Where his last album, Lovesick Blues, was built on slower tempo acoustic chamber pop, Euphoria, hums with upbeat songs, centered around the electric guitar. Focus tracks include, “Invisible,” “Where Does the Time Go,” and “Universe-sized Arms” a track Ryan Adams wrote and sent to Chris to record. Guests on the album include Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense), and long-time friend and collaborator Mitch Easter (Let’s Active)

Also blurbs from No Dep and Blurt.

dow, Tuesday, 2 June 2015 23:17 (five years ago) link

Sorry, didn't mean to include all that after the track list!

dow, Tuesday, 2 June 2015 23:18 (five years ago) link

i find it so confusing that there are two musical norman blakes. the one from teenage fanclub, and this guy:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71j7RSNwFxL._SY355_.jpg

he quipped with heat (amateurist), Wednesday, 3 June 2015 03:29 (five years ago) link

Listening to Stands for Decibels on youtube this morning, for the first time in forever. (My LP is pressed slightly off center so I never play it, and I've never replaced it.) I had forgotten how weird and arty it is for a "power pop" record. I've also never listened on headphones, the production is wonderfully creative.

Little Latin Lupe Feebfiasco (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 3 June 2015 16:04 (five years ago) link

Stamey is doing some touring now. I heard good reports on his gig near me, that I unfortunately missed.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 3 June 2015 19:11 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

The '06 expanded version of this dB's & friends Xmas album lit a Yule log under my seasonal sulk. & now with even more stocking stuffers:

http://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20150817/66/91/3e/88/7fda30ed4e6c92b8f80b6122_280x280.jpeg

(expanded Sneakers should be hot too, judging by the old Collector's Choice comp)

THE dB’S & FRIENDS’ CHRISTMAS TIME AGAIN!,
DUE OUT OCTOBER 16 ON OMNIVORE RECORDINGS,
FEATURES PIVOTAL INDIE POP BAND
WITH FRIENDS OLD AND NEW
Expanded Christmas volume features tracks from the dB’s, Chris Stamey, Alex Chilton, Marshall Crenshaw, Whiskeytown, Yo La Tengo & Jeff Tweedy, Don Dixon, Robyn Hitchcock, Big Star’s Third (featuring Mike Mills),
Thad Cockrell & Roman Candle,
and new faces Skylar Gudasz and Brett Harris.

Omnivore Recordings to reissue Sneakers original EP
(Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter, Will Rigby) on CD/digital September 25
RALEIGH, N.C. — In 1976, when American indie-rock was truly an underground phenomenon, a band called Sneakers emerged from Winston-Salem, N.C. with an EP of discordantly hooky songs with sly lyrics. Three of its members — Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter and Will Rigby — would help lay the groundwork for later bands like R.E.M. and Wilco.
Stamey and Rigby went on to form the dB’s with Peter Holsapple and Gene Holder, recording two iconic import albums, Stands for deciBels and RePercussion. Stamey left the band for two albums, while Holsapple kept the dB’s alive with Like This and The Sound of Music. (The core quartet later reunited for 2012’s acclaimed Falling Off the Sky.) The band’s Christmas album is an indie-rock perennial, and Omnivore presents a significantly updated version, Christmas Time Again!, just in time for the holidays, on October 16, 2015.
Meanwhile, the Sneakers clear vinyl 10 " EP that sold out on Record Store Day/Black Friday, re-emerges on CD/digital with two additional tracks on September 25.

The dB’s & Friends: Christmas Time Again!
The Christmas Time EP’s appearance in 1986 was a joyous occasion; it was first reissued in an expanded version in 1993 and again in 2006, and has endured ever since.
The dB’s & Friends’ Christmas Time Again! enters its third decade of holiday fun with an incredible mix of what’s been previously cherished and adds new tidings of comfort and joy.
Classic tracks by Stamey, The dB’s, Whiskeytown (with Ryan Adams), Marshall Crenshaw and Alex Chilton are joined by new performances from Yo La Tengo & Jeff Tweedy, Brett Harris, Robyn Hitchcock, and Big Star’s Third (featuring Mike Mills of R.E.M. taking lead vocals on Big Star’s “Jesus Christ”), among many others.
This is the now the ultimate collection of Yuletide fare from an unprecedented amount of alt-rock superstars. It’s not just Christmas time, it’s Christmas Time Again!
The dB’s: Christmas Time Again!
1. Christmas Time — The dB’s

2. Holiday Spirit — The dB’s
3. (It’s Going to Be a) Lonely Christmas — Marshall Crenshaw
4. The Sounds of Christmas — Skylar Gudasz
 #
5. Christmas Time Is Here — Thad Cockrell & Roman Candle
6. Home for the Holidays — The dB’s
7. Houses on the Hill — Whiskeytown
8. Christmas Is the Only Time — Wes Lachot
9. It’s Christmas — Lydia Kavanagh #
10. Eight Day Weekend (LIVE) — Yo La Tengo & Jeff Tweedy #
11. I Saw Three Ships (LIVE) — Don Dixon
12. The Only Law That Santa Claus Understood — Ted Lyons
13. In the Bleak Midwinter — Birds & Arrows #
14. The Christmas Song — Alex Chilton
15. Santa’s Moonlight Sleighride — Ted Lyons
16. Jesus Christ (LIVE) — Big Star’s Third (featuring Mike Mills) #
17. Christmas Light — Keegan DeWitt & The Sparrows
18. You’re What I Want (for Christmas) — Chris Stamey & Cathy Harrington
19. Feliz Navidad — The dB’s
20. The Day Before Boxing Day — Robyn Hitchcock #
21. It’s a Wonderful Life — Chris Stamey
22. Remember (Christmas) — Brett Harris #
# New tracks since 2006 edition
Sneakers EP:
Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter, icons of indie pop, first began to explore recording techniques in Winston-Salem, NC, during their youth. In 1976, Stamey and his band, Sneakers (including drummer Rigby, with appearances from Easter), put out an eponymous EP on Stamey’s own Carnivorous Records (later to morph into Car Records and release Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos”). The sessions were engineered by Don Dixon, who would eventually produce bands such as R.E.M. (with Easter) and the Smithereens. Stamey and Rigby would go on to form the dB’s and Easter would reappear in Let’s Active. The Sneakers EP — one of just a handful of self-released records that created the template for the modern indie avalanche — remains vital in not only independent-record history, but for pop music in general.
Omnivore Recordings will reissue this seminal 7" EP on CD/digital expanding on the sold-out, clear vinyl Record Store Day/Black Friday 10" release of last year. This new, definitive edition will add two more bonus tracks, keeping those added last year, including the cover of the Grass Roots’ “Let’s Live for Today.”
Fans of the ’80s indie scene will be beyond happy to add this historic piece to their collection, and to experience the birth of the music they love. Whether to run to the record store or just to dance, everyone needs Sneakers.
Sneakers
1. Ruby

2. Condition Red
3. Driving

4. Love’s Like a Cuban Crisis
5. On the Brink 

6. Let’s Live for Today
7. Story of a Girl
8. Nonsequitur

9. S’il Vous Plaît
10. Be My Ambulance
11. Some Kinda Fool #
# new bonus tracks

http://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20150817/00/91/c0/61/0fef8f6eb397bdbc3ed41eee_280x280.jpg

dow, Friday, 21 August 2015 21:08 (five years ago) link

I'm confused, didn't the Sneakers material get reissued in remixed and updated form at some point? Is this reissue the original recordings?

"Story Of A Girl" is absolutely gorgeous.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 22 August 2015 02:29 (five years ago) link

Here's the one I have (21 tracks, but no "Live For Today," for inst)
http://www.discogs.com/Sneakers-Nonsequitur-Of-Silence/release/3592547

dow, Saturday, 22 August 2015 14:38 (five years ago) link

eleven months pass...

from Yeproc:

http://www.yeproc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/ChrisStamey_square-350x350.jpg

Chris Stamey Announces Upcoming Live Performances
.........................................................

Chris Stamey will be performing several shows in the Southeast in late August and September. For two of the shows he will be performing with a string trio, opening for the recently reunited Television. Also, his group Sneakers (featuring Mitch Easter, Robert Keely and Will Rigby) will make a special appearance at the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh on September 8.

In addition, Chris will be premiering Occasional Shivers: A reimagining of the language of the Great American Songbook, on September 23 in the Kenan Music Building at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Singers include Skylar Gudasz, Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Kirsten Lambert, Millie McGuire, Mark Wells, Presyce Baez and more.

Here’s the full list of dates:

Aug. 27, Be Loud! Sophie Benefit Concert
Sept. 6, Washington, DC, 9:30 Club, w/ Television
Sept. 8, Raleigh, NC, Hopscotch Music Festival, with Sneakers (w/ Mitch Easter, Robert Keely, Will Rigby)
Sept. 10, Athens, Georgia, Georgia Theater, w/ Television
Sept. 23, Chapel Hill, NC, Chris Stamey Presents: Occasional Shivers

dow, Tuesday, 9 August 2016 00:21 (four years ago) link

Sounds interesting. I've seen Stamey three times--once in the '80s around the time of It's a Wonderful Life, very good 'n intense as she squeezed out those guitar solos, and then more recently with Holsapple doing their duo stuff, and then with a small group in Nashville. It took me a while, but now I really like the last dB's, Falling Off the Sky--never was quite the songwriter Holsapple is, but his stuff cut Holsapple's warm-handshake humanism with something equally searching, if a bit cooler.

Edd Hurt, Tuesday, 9 August 2016 13:03 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

good lord the original 'Something Came Over Me' from the Instant Excitement ep that Willfully Obscure posted.
stunning.

campreverb, Sunday, 21 May 2017 01:28 (three years ago) link

That EP is tacked onto the CD version of "It's A Wonderful Life" and, yeah, it's phenomenal.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 21 May 2017 15:00 (three years ago) link

I posted a fantastic Chris Stamey anthology on the sadly misspelled solo Stamey thread:
Summer Sun-Crhis Stamey solo

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 21 May 2017 16:05 (three years ago) link

ah! I would love a copy if it's something you've burned.
I would add I Feel Good (Today)!

campreverb, Sunday, 21 May 2017 20:38 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

this request feels very late 90's, but i'm just going to embrace it: does anyone know where i can find tab/chords for "Neverland"? i love it so much, but never bothered looking up the video til recently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfpli2VQtZU

apparently that footage was "lost" until 2008! i love how straightforwardly it captures them. there are some sort of goofy moments, but it also captures them accurately playing along to the song and being into it at all the right moments. they look like people who are really enjoying what they know to be a good thing, it's wonderful to watch. but yeah if anyone has a tab hmu

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 2 September 2020 00:38 (six months ago) link

no joke, my biggest hope for the future is that maybe some day things will be so infinitely abundant and generous that every single new song has a performance captured so naturally, and that it appears as the little "preview" video in your mac finder window for the song.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 2 September 2020 00:43 (six months ago) link

i guess my more realistic assessment of the future is that not many songs deserve to be held up to our eyes for so long

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 2 September 2020 00:44 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

Cool list. I'd add one more, though maybe I'm biased by the fact that it lives up to the story behind it, which is certainly not always the case. Here's what I said in Nashville Scene ballot comments on 2012 releases:

The dB's--"She Won't Drive In The Rain Anymore": Very good contemporary country jangle-ballad, one of the highlights on a very good reunion album (aren't many of those). The true story, as told by Holsapple to http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com:
"It's about my wife evacuating New Orleans during Katrina. I was on the road with Hootie [and the Blowfish]; my wife had taken my daughter and my baby son and my daughter's best friend on a train to Birmingham to buy a vehicle up there. She knew the hurricane was coming, and she did all the things you're supposed to do. We didn't think too much about it — we certainly didn't realize it was going to be a 100-year storm. But when she got to Birmingham to get the car, it was very evident there was no turning back, so she drove literally across the storm path to get to her grandmother's in Little Rock."
Peter goes on to explain the reunion theme in the lyrics. He says his wife "took a day to re-group and then started driving back and she dropped my daughter's best friend off with her mom in Memphis. And then [my wife took] Miranda, my daughter with Susan Cowsill, to where Susan and her husband were living at the time. Then she made a beeline to where Hootie was playing next, which was Baltimore. She got there 15 minutes before we went on. It had been this incredible, tortuous time, unable to get in touch with anybody. Meanwhile, I'm in this sort of suspended state of touring because I need the money, and I can't really stop. Where am I gonna go, what am I gonna do? When I saw her, it was the first time in weeks, she and my son pulled up and I was overjoyed just to get to see her. We didn't really talk very much because we didn't really know what to say; it was all just so overwhelming."

Turns out Holsapple wrote it w Kristian Bush of Sugarland, so maybe they'll do it too (or does Sugarland work that way).

dow, Monday, 22 February 2021 03:45 (two weeks ago) link

the two best pp acts had the two best drummers, Jody Stephens and Will Rigby. Yeah, and Bill Berry was crucial right off, on "Radio Free Europe" and all the best R.E.M. tracks. Rigby did a good album of his own, and was fine w Steve Earle & The Dukes too.

dow, Monday, 22 February 2021 03:51 (two weeks ago) link

Your list is 75% Holsapple songs, mine would probably be 75% Stamey. Funny that "She's Not Worried" was one of your three Stamey songs, as I think he ruins the (pretty difficult) melody with a whiny, out-of-tune vocal; he'd become a much better singer soon. I agree with your three picks from Like This; I haven't heard the two subsequent LPs but recommend Fireworks and some of Mavericks.
I truly love "From A Window to a Screen" and "Ups and Downs" as two of the best-crafted songs of the 80s, but I'm enough of a fan that I read Stamey's excellent book.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 22 February 2021 15:38 (two weeks ago) link

I'll have to give Like This another listen. I've always been more of a Stamey fan too -- I feel like his songs really took advantage of the amazing rhythm section (thinking "Cycles Per Second," "In Spain," etc.) in a way that Holsapple's generally didn't -- but a Holsapple/Rigby/Holder album that came out not too long after Repercussion really deserves another chance from me.

Looooove "From a Window to a Screen." My Stamey preference also has a lot to do with his vocals, which immediately reminded me of Scott Miller. Both of their voices just sound really *cool* to me.

Related:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8bBuPwfST4

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Monday, 22 February 2021 17:04 (two weeks ago) link

My top tunes would be all be from the first 2 LPs: Black & White, She's Not Worried, Bad Reputation, Moving in Your Sleep, Happenstance, From A Window to a Screen, Ups & Downs, Neverland, Amplifier, and I Feel Good. Bought Like This when it came out and I never really got into it.

that's not my post, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 04:29 (one week ago) link

I saw the Loud Family on that tour, although the cover the night I saw them was "The Story in Your Eyes" by The Moody Blues. I agree that I like both their voices (especially after their earliest records) and never understood why Miller, in particular, was regarded as having an uncommercial or unlikeable singing voice.

The Stamey book goes into a lot of musical detail that I'd never pick up on my own. For instance, the piano countermelody in the second verse of "From a Window" is taken from Charles Ives, referring to the line "Ives was on the stereo".

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 04:44 (one week ago) link

Ah, was never sure what that "Ives" lyrics was about! Jealous that you got to see the Loud Family on that tour. I wasn't aware of them until the following year.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 14:17 (one week ago) link

Apparently, Holsapple & Stamey released an album of re-recorded acoustic versions of dB's classics last year called "Our Back Pages". Looks like it's digital only at the moment.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 18:32 (one week ago) link

amazing rhythm section Yeah, Holder's really good too, and he produced Aquamaine and Fields for the Individuals, both later on a CD w bonus tracks, reissued by BarNone, which Individuals' leader Glenn Morrow took over after the band broke up---he was also managing editor of New York Rocker, led Rage To Live and, much more recently, Cry For Help, neither of which I've heard, but the Individuals were real good, "power pop" or "proto jangle" or whatever you wanna call it--they were frequently cited along w dB's and Bongos as The Hoboken 3 or Pop 3---and def rec to dB's etc fans---maybe not up to dB's consistency of songwriting, but some of their known live combo power comes through in the studio, and I always listen for Janet Wygal's vocal boosts.

dow, Friday, 26 February 2021 00:42 (one week ago) link

Janet Wygal and her brother Doug went on to form The Wygals, and Janet Wygal later formed the group Splendora, which provided the theme music for MTV's show Daria. After The Wygals split up, Doug played on albums by Wanda Jackson, Laura Cantrell, Amy Rigby, Wreckless Eric and others. Yes, thanks wiki. Splendidly named Jon Light Klages was also an Individual, don't know what he did later.

dow, Friday, 26 February 2021 00:45 (one week ago) link


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