Calling all Acetone fans

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Well, I have mentioned Acetone a couple of times in other threads, and nobody has commented yet so I can't tell if anybody else out there loves this band as much as I do. Early 2001 saw the suicide of bassist/vocalist Ritchie Lee, so all we got is what we got, but that's 5 LP's and an EP (depending on your definition), all very nice listening.

I highly recommend Cindy and If You Only Knew

It is chilling to listen to some lyrics on the latest LP York Blvd, in light of Lee's death: "How long can you go on believin' things are gonna be alright?"

There are a couple of audio clips at and an obituary site for Ritchie at

Ron Hudson, Wednesday, 13 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Wouldn't Cindy be a candidate for the "Split Personality" thread, with a faster, louder side and a more characteristic acoustic side? I haven't picked up on your earlier mentions of Acetone because it has been so long since I listened. I'll have to dig them out again soon. I like If You Only Knew, too, if it's the one I'm thinking of. A couple of their album titles are hard to keep straight. In fact, Acetone's similarity to other sad, slow bands and lack of memorable gimmicks probably left them lost in the shuffle for a lot of listeners.

Curt, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I would answer no on your Cindy suggestion, just because there are no acoustic numbers. Mark Lightcap is electric guitar only. In terms of feel, maybe, but the album is not split that way down the middle. What first brought me to the band was hearing 'Chills' on the radio, and that song is the most rockin' on Cindy, atypical of the rest of the album. There is a lot of contrast though, from the intermission on the mellow side, to chills, enless summer, pinch on the rawk side.

Nice to hear from someone with Acetone albums!!

A question for anyone who knows: Once met the band after a show and was told that the song 'Come On' was about a cult-classicy type movie but I can't remember the name of it. The lyrics in question were: Deep in a heavy fog, out from under a log, I creep just like an insect. Down in the mud I stay, laying there five whole days, where noone will come find me. Calling out to the shore, I can be so much more than bugs under the soil. And then the waves come down over me... Man that looks really weird when you see it in writing.

Ron Hudson, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

You sure about that obit site, Ron? Couldn't get anything. Acetone were always just sorta there for me in the early nineties, That Other Band signed to Vernon Yard that wasn't Low or Verve...

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Sorry all, It is spelled Richie, no 'T' so make it

Ron Hudson, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Maybe I can convince you to give them another shot. C'mon, I pulled out my old Cure records in your honor! :) I might even promise not to make rude comments about Timbaland.

Ron Hudson, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Ah, see, I'd actually have to *have* some Acetone records... ;-) And thanks for the link, I hadn't realized he'd died.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Good morning! I put on If You Only Knew at bedtime last night, and I'm picking up at #4 now with my first coffee. So far so good. Anybody who digs Bedhead should try Acetone. The other CDs I have are Cindy and I Guess I Would, and somewhere I might have a CD-R of York Blvd I don't recall hearing all the way through. Ron, looking at Cindy's track list, it sure appears to have a split personality, but I'll have to listen to it later. If not acoustic, I recall a run of softer, slower tracks like I'm hearing now on I Guess. Either way, thanks for the tip, Ron. Oh, and another thing. These CDs are pretty easy to come by used.....and easy to look up alphabetically.

Curt, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link


I have all the acetone albums and like them quite a bit. They definitely had an interesting song writing style, their songs always develop in an interesting and unobvious way. The interplay between bass and guitar lines, sometimes hard to tell which instrument is which, was cool too. I always liked If You Only Knew best. They would have probably been a more successful cult level type band but i think they were always on the wrong record labels, they should have been on a real indie label, like say Drag City, instead of Vernon Yard which was basically just an arm of Virgin. I guess Vapor has something to do with Neil Young but not sure if it really it gets things to the right ears. VY and Vapor both seem like the kind of labels that sent out a lot of promos and did little else. But this is really a topic for a different discussion, labels and indie cred and all. I didn't know about Lee's suicide, that is sad to hear.

g, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

This is really sad, i read a rumour about this on a messageboard last year but never heard anymore, the Fake Matador Board i think.

I own about 3 Acetone CDs i think, i love the song "99" - lyrics often seem profound in light of events like this, "Unfortunate baby, So sad you can't save me, And rescues are so much fun, But ambulance drivers don't wear guns". Again, this is very sad.

ian, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

i saw them open for verve, they seemed concerned about appearing professional. they are probably big fans of cake.

keith, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Curt, if Bedhead fans should check out Acetone, does the reverse hold true?? Actually, somewhere I do have one EP from Bedhead but I haven't really listened to it, I'll have to dig it out. I think I accidentally bought it during a quest for what turned out to be a Garageland song, but perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. I'll find my record but would appreciate further guidance re: Bedhead.

Ron Hudson, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

keith, was the Verve tour close to the beginning of their career?? I think so. When I met them, they were opening for Spiritualized and seemed mostly concerned with scoring dope. And Richie was trying to avoid his mother-in-law, who was at the show.

I do think they were interested in serious musicianship though. Steve Hadley, drummer, was blissful when I complimented him on his use of a shaker-egg-thing taped to his drum stick.

Ron Hudson, Thursday, 14 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

ron, i saw acetone open for verve at bradford queens hall. it was december 93. the first band on? oasis. they weren't good. acetone were ok. verve were good though

gareth, Friday, 15 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Curt, if Bedhead fans should check out Acetone, does the reverse hold true??

Absolutely. I've had If You Only Knew playing again last night and today, and the resemblence there is especially striking. The whispered vocals, the cool guitar lines, the overall dragged down vibe. Bedhead differs, I'd say, in keeping more of a steady groove, even in slow songs, and showing a subtle New Order influence in the melodies. For what it's worth, Bedhead's lyrics tend to be rather droll, while Acetone's guitar playing stikes me as more accomplished.

Bedheaded, their second album, would be my first recommendation for an Acetone fan, although all three and their EPs are very similar and all good. Then there's New Year, the band that Bedheaded mutated into, and the EP of unreleased Bedhead songs that Macha recorded two years ago.

Curt, Friday, 15 March 2002 01:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

eight years pass...

Finally got the last couple of albums the other day at Amoeba, and an idle scrounge turned up this blog by one of the two surviving members:

He just recently posted this:

Including "unreleased tracks and demos" so any fans should swing by...

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 November 2010 04:54 (thirteen years ago) link

i saw this band open for spritualized once and they were great

i got two wax cylinders and a speaking trumpet (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 15 November 2010 16:20 (thirteen years ago) link

five months pass...

Listening to York Blvd now (found it for a dollar on RSD) - and holy smokes what a great album. I had a few of this band's records (actually covered "No Need Swim" once upon a time) back in the day but lost track over the past decade or so. Were all the vocals always all Phil Pearlmen-style stoned harmonies? Because some of these tunes - "Like I Told You" - sound like outtakes from the Relatively Clean Rivers LP. Great writing, great psychedelic guitar playing, all the best elements of slo-core without succumbing to bland genre exercises...

Pretty amazing.

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Monday, 18 April 2011 23:39 (twelve years ago) link

six years pass...

Wow, never would have expected this:

This fall, the independent literary press All Night Menu will publish Sam Sweet’s Hadley Lee Lightcap, a nonfiction novel that traces the backstories of the three members in Acetone, a band that played in Los Angeles for nine years. Though few heard them, their recordings are time capsules of who they were, how they lived, and where they came from. Light In the Attic has partnered with All Night Menu to present Acetone 1992-2001, the first anthology of the trio’s music. The book and the album will be released concurrently on September 22....

They rehearsed endlessly in an empty bedroom in northeast Los Angeles, recording hours of music onto cassettes that were subsequently stuffed into shoeboxes and left in a shed behind the drummer’s house. Those tapes are being released for the first time in this anthology, which also includes highlights from Acetone’s official releases. Taken together, the songs form a companion soundtrack to Sam Sweet’s book, which maps the character of Los Angeles as a place through the lens of these three unique characters bonded by music....

“Acetone Clear” wax. Edition of 300. Limit two per customer.

First time band anthology
Includes 9 unreleased tracks
Audio restored and remastered from original tapes
Double LP housed in a deluxe gatefold Stoughton tip-on jacket
Liner notes by Sam Sweet
The “bundle” versions include a copy of Sam Sweet’s book, Hadley Lee Lightcap, with either the “Acetone Clear” color variant, standard black vinyl or CD

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 6 July 2017 13:07 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

Don't really know these guys but this new comp has been some good music for nursing a hangover to today

plp will eat itself (NickB), Friday, 22 September 2017 16:15 (six years ago) link

Also the book sounds intriguing. Have you been sent that Ned?

plp will eat itself (NickB), Friday, 22 September 2017 16:17 (six years ago) link

Upcoming Acetone show in LA w/ hope sandoval:

plp will eat itself (NickB), Tuesday, 26 September 2017 17:50 (six years ago) link

I've not received the book yet, no.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 26 September 2017 19:02 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

this band had a GREAT sound

brimstead, Friday, 17 November 2017 15:41 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

heavenly overlooked slowcore. g500 on 1/2 speed

meaulnes, Friday, 9 March 2018 18:02 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

This compilation is so good that after obsessing over it for close to year I threw down $10 for a used CD copy of If You Only Knew, which also rules. Then I scored a $25 used copy of York Blvd. which is also excellent if a little more alt-rock.

Anyways. Compilation is basically perfect - almost anytime I play it at the shop I work at it gets sold or at minimum asked about.

Would support a Duster-esque full discography treatment of this band.

dronestreet, Wednesday, 13 March 2019 15:50 (four years ago) link

three months pass...

Having one of those weeks - first Duster and now this. What a great compilation. It sort of smells Chicago - Bundy K. Brown, Doug McCombs - but there's a breeziness about it that is pure west coast. I need to go digging.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 13 June 2019 11:02 (four years ago) link

Never listened to these guys & pulled the comp up on Spotify - ordered the LP before the first song was over, holy moly what a great collection.

One Eye Open, Thursday, 13 June 2019 16:20 (four years ago) link

This isn't the solvents thread I had hoped for.

Sassy Boutonnière (ledriver), Friday, 14 June 2019 02:24 (four years ago) link

This compilation just keeps getting better. Almost impossible to play it in the shop without someone asking about it/buying it. Nice to see folks still discovering!

Coincidentally, just snagged a used CD of the self-titled. Spoiler alert: it's also great.

dronestreet, Friday, 14 June 2019 04:23 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

Hey does ums (upper mississippi sh@kedown) like this band? Feels like something you would like if you see this. Just checking.

Evan, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 16:01 (two years ago) link

I do! They are great. I saw them open up for Spiritualized back in the day.

really underappreciated band

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 10 February 2021 16:04 (two years ago) link

huh only thing on spotify is that (really good) comp from a few years ago, out of print i guess

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 10 February 2021 16:07 (two years ago) link

Awesome, yeah all their studio LPs go for $$$ lately

Evan, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 16:09 (two years ago) link

Was just thinking about them the other day for the first time in a long while. They seem increasingly out of time, in a good way -- dislocated from history into a LA area continuum.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 16:14 (two years ago) link

Been obsessed with York Blvd lately

Evan, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 17:02 (two years ago) link

really loved their self titled back in the day. loved the drum sound. and the guitars. very winters to me. some of those melodies just pierce me in the heart too directly these days for me to listen..

brimstead, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 21:02 (two years ago) link

wintery not winters

brimstead, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 21:03 (two years ago) link

'If You Only Knew' is such a great album

cajunsunday, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 21:37 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Acetone - I'm still waiting. is a definitive, career-spanning 11 LP box set featuring the band’s debut EP Acetone (first ever vinyl release outside of the UK), Cindy (expanded to a double LP and available in the US on vinyl for the first time), I Guess I Would (available on vinyl for the first time commercially in the US), If You Only Knew (on Vinyl for the First Time Ever), Acetone LP (featuring the band’s original mix), York Blvd. (expanded to a double LP), & Prime Cuts (featuring 8 previously unreleased recordings). Each box set includes a 60 Page, Full Color Book featuring extensive liner notes by J Spaceman (Spiritualized) and Drew Daniel (Matmos/The Soft Pink Truth), never-before-seen photos & more.

This limited edition box set features records pressed on crystal clear vinyl. Each record has been mastered for vinyl at RCA Studio A with lacquers cut at the world famous Abbey Road Studios. All full length LPs are packaged in gatefold sleeves.

mizzell, Wednesday, 6 September 2023 18:26 (two months ago) link

Hey y'all! I'm truly honored to have written liner notes for a career spanning retrospective of the sublimely poised music of ACETONE coming soon from @newwestrecords You can read some of my liner notes for this 11LP boxset below. Richie Lee R.I.P. :

— DREWDANIEL.BLUESKY.SOCIAL (@DDDrewDaniel) September 6, 2023

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 6 September 2023 19:19 (two months ago) link

very cool, would appreciate individual lp reissues or a cheaper cd box… but very cool!

brimstead, Wednesday, 6 September 2023 19:38 (two months ago) link

haha, yeah, that is a pricey set!

tylerw, Wednesday, 6 September 2023 19:39 (two months ago) link

individual reissues for Cindy, If You Only Knew, s/t, and York Blvd are coming out, too. Limited to 1,000 each.

dronestreet, Wednesday, 6 September 2023 19:44 (two months ago) link

£100+ shipping to the UK

Toshirō Nofune (The Seventh ILXorai), Wednesday, 6 September 2023 19:48 (two months ago) link

xp nice!

brimstead, Wednesday, 6 September 2023 19:49 (two months ago) link

Demo of "No Need Swim" is streaming and it has all the lethargy you'd expect...which is fine by me. Looking forward to the rest.

I'm glad I Guess I Would is getting a re-release even if it's only in the box set. That's one of the great downer records of all time.

j.o.h.n. in evanston (john. a resident of chicago.), Thursday, 7 September 2023 21:04 (two months ago) link

i really like acetone but that's really expensive

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 7 September 2023 21:37 (two months ago) link

Their version of Border Lord is sooooo good.

ian, Thursday, 7 September 2023 21:54 (two months ago) link

Love this band too but the price, for both box and individual releases, is way beyond what I can justify to other members of the household, haha. I'm sure the price is justified due to production costs, limited run, etc etc but again...beyond me. According to Lightcap somewhere, only the vinyl was licensable, so no CD box set or re-releases.

jaywbabcock, Thursday, 7 September 2023 23:41 (two months ago) link

No CD?!?

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 8 September 2023 16:24 (two months ago) link

"New West was only able to license the vinyl rights" - Lightcap on his facebook account

jaywbabcock, Friday, 8 September 2023 22:55 (two months ago) link

Lightcap has elaborated a bit more: "Yes, we're very excited about the Acetone box set. In answer to questions flooding my inbox:
Pre order at New West records. They're easy to find.
No, there will not be CDs.
DM me if you want the 8-track version, newly remastered and recorded over an old Crystal Gayle tape. 500 bucks.
Yes, we'll probably do a couple/few shows, but nothing definite at this time.
Lastly, yes, it's totally worth the money. There ain't that many of 'em, and when they're gone they're gone. Of course you'll always be able to suck on mp3s for free, and if that's how you choose to live your life, far be it from me to judge, but if you really love these records, this is the absolute goddamn apex listening experience."

jaywbabcock, Saturday, 9 September 2023 01:29 (two months ago) link

i really like acetone but that's really expensive

― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, September 7, 2023 5:37 PM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 9 September 2023 13:15 (two months ago) link

Gosh, even the standalone reissues are priced at $40 each

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 9 September 2023 13:18 (two months ago) link

Which isn’t too uncommon these days sadly

But his face would not turn into hot Kirby (Evan), Saturday, 9 September 2023 13:41 (two months ago) link

More from Lightcap in a reply on fb to some questions... "250 is seriously cheap considering the amount of work that went into it, not to mention the bath that New West had to take on the licensing. There's a reason those records haven't seen the light of day for so long; it's because nobody was willing and able to bend over and around in all the necessary ways to liberate the shit from the crypt. 'Twas a herculean task. Anyway, the book and the bonus disc are only available with the set, but all the other records are available individually."

jaywbabcock, Saturday, 9 September 2023 17:55 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

Bought the box. Obviously I’m a big fan. Prime Cuts rarities LP is really solid.

However, I will say I’m kinda bummed about the alternate mix of the s/t. They straight up removed most of the pedal steel parts which really drove a lot of those songs imo.

So weird to buy a reissue of a favorite record that sounds fundamentally different from the original.

crunchytunes, Saturday, 18 November 2023 01:18 (two weeks ago) link

Expecting the box to be delivered tomorrow. This news of a poor s/t remix is breaking my heart.

Mark L said the New West editions smoked the originals. Was he just being a huckster?

Torei, Saturday, 18 November 2023 07:24 (two weeks ago) link

I think Mark is sincere in preferring the new mix, and I can understand if the band’s vision was overruled by the label. That sucks and I’m happy they get to release their cut.

I think listening objectively I would say the record does sound fantastic and most of the tracks do justice to the OG. Some probably sound even better.

But having listened to the og enough to implant those versions the deep recesses of my brain, it is a bit uncanny when a promiment instrumental piece is auspiciously omitted from an otherwise familiar tune

crunchytunes, Saturday, 18 November 2023 12:31 (two weeks ago) link

It didn't occur to me that "these sound better" meant "things were fundamentally changed," but it makes sense. It's disappointing, but I have a feeling I'll love these records anyway.

Torei, Saturday, 18 November 2023 14:46 (two weeks ago) link

Bands really need to stop fucking with their shit

brimstead, Saturday, 18 November 2023 17:11 (two weeks ago) link

Ok, so I did some googling and learned that the label did indeed pressure the band into adding pedal steel on two of the tracks. So Torei I probably overreacted, and the changes shouldn’t lessen your experience too much. As for me, I’ll get over it (although pedal steel rules in all situations and the label was right to add it)

crunchytunes, Saturday, 18 November 2023 22:02 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks for the follow-up, Crunchytunes. It turns out I have that same promo cd, so I'm not sure I've even heard the pedal steel versions. What are the two tracks?

Torei, Sunday, 19 November 2023 01:19 (one week ago) link

This box cost a packet but my stars am I happy with it.

Torei, Sunday, 19 November 2023 04:06 (one week ago) link

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