Best Verlaines Album

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This will probably be the least popular poll evagh on ILM, but I feel I must. Also, I know Juvenilia isn't a proper album, but I don't care.

Poll Results

Juvenilia 5
Bird-Dog 5
Hallelujah All The Way Home 3
Ready To Fly 3
Some Disenchanted Evening 0
Way Out Where 0
Over The Moon0

askance johnson, Thursday, 26 April 2007 16:07 (thirteen years ago) link

Ready to Fly

Tim Ellison, Thursday, 26 April 2007 16:12 (thirteen years ago) link

Hmmm...interesting, Ready to Fly is probably my least favorite, except maybe Over the Moon. I voted for HATWH.

Per the interweb, there is a new Verlaines' album in the works. I am uncertain as to whether this is a good thing or not.

askance johnson, Thursday, 26 April 2007 16:17 (thirteen years ago) link

I never heard Over the Moon - thought Way Out Where was somewhat lesser coming after what I perceived to be an incredible songwriting peak w/ Ready to Fly.

Was tempted to vote for Some Disenchanted Evening, though, because I like the sound of that record better. But Ready to Fly is too grand.

Tim Ellison, Thursday, 26 April 2007 16:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Note to eBay & Amazon sellers: Bird-Dog CD for $80+ = HELL NO

David R., Thursday, 26 April 2007 16:59 (thirteen years ago) link

Pay up, dude!

Tim Ellison, Thursday, 26 April 2007 17:00 (thirteen years ago) link

i don't know, I think the songwriting on Way Out Where is among Downes' best. The additon fo the second guitar and the big "ROCK" production are somewhat problematic though.

askance johnson, Thursday, 26 April 2007 17:46 (thirteen years ago) link

'hallelujah all the way home' but a wide margin for me. all of them are classic though. one of life's great tragedies is that 'ready to fly' is in every bargain bin for $.99. they seem like a band that needs someone to reintroduce them, more say than new radiant storm kings needed reissuing.

keythkeyth, Friday, 27 April 2007 03:47 (thirteen years ago) link


mrlynch, Friday, 27 April 2007 04:21 (thirteen years ago) link


askance johnson, Thursday, 3 May 2007 20:36 (thirteen years ago) link

four months pass...

any idea on when the new album will be released? apparently it is done and mastered, possibly coming out on flying nun. who is in the band anyways?

keythkeyth, Sunday, 9 September 2007 01:41 (twelve years ago) link

I finally 'got' the Verlaines this year after loving almost every other Flying Nun band for years. The best-of captures just about all you'd need.

Mr. Odd, Sunday, 9 September 2007 02:49 (twelve years ago) link

two months pass...

Apparently the new album is entitled "Pot Boiler" and it's coming out, in New Zealand at least, on Flying Nun on December 10. There's a song on FN's myspace page and it's really good!! Though I imagine the American dollar's collapse will mean that getting this in the U.S. will be ludicrously expensive...

askance johnson, Monday, 12 November 2007 21:35 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

anyone have the new album? i listened to a bit of it, seemed crooner-ish, maybe it is a grower. some foolish review said it was a good thing that he wasn't singing near the top or out of his range as he was wont to do in the past, that's ridiculous.

keythkeyth, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 03:54 (twelve years ago) link

I've only ever heard Way Out Where, which I didn't like at all. I thought it sounded kinda like Buffalo Tom (I don't like them either). Is the earlier stuff a lot different?

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 10:58 (twelve years ago) link

I personally think Way Out Where is pretty underrated by Verlaines fans - I mean, Downes's writing is really in great form there, people seem to have an affection for the less polished sound of the earlier stuff but for me the real appeal of the band is the craft - that major-minor-major shift at "only why our name rates now mennnnnn-tion" is quietly breathtaking and the whole record is full of moments like that. I loved his solo record, especially "Mastercontrol," and would like to get my hands on the new one, but it's hard to come by. But yeah, "Way Out Where" is produced in a very alt-90s style that I also found offputting at first 'til I dug into the songs.

Love the croony style too so really hoping to hear this soon!

J0hn D., Wednesday, 19 December 2007 13:44 (twelve years ago) link

i love way out where. i think people might romanticize the early material because of the flowery, literate lyrics of the early days. apparently he was labeled pretentious and reacted against it as a result. the later lyrics are still brilliant but seem more mundane in comparison, perhaps.

keythkeyth, Thursday, 20 December 2007 03:22 (twelve years ago) link

<i>I personally think Way Out Where is pretty underrated by Verlaines fans - I mean, Downes's writing is really in great form there, people seem to have an affection for the less polished sound of the earlier stuff but for me the real appeal of the band is the craft - that major-minor-major shift at "only why our name rates now mennnnnn-tion" is quietly breathtaking and the whole record is full of moments like that.</i>

Yes! Dingos that still flinch @ the album's grunginess need to give "Black Wings" a listen ASAP.

David R., Thursday, 20 December 2007 03:42 (twelve years ago) link


David R., Thursday, 20 December 2007 03:42 (twelve years ago) link

I'm dismayed that no one voted for Some Disenchanted Evening, which easily wins this for me. I put "Jesus What a Jerk," "The Funniest Thing," and "Damn Shame" above any other Verlaines song save "Death and the Maiden" and "Tremble."

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 20 December 2007 05:00 (twelve years ago) link

Man, I'm going to have to spend over thirty bucks to get the new album, aren't I? Suppose it'll be worth it.

I love the early, pretentious lyrics and sort of wish he never left them behind. C.D. Jimmy Jazz and Me fucked off to Paris to write of the sea. So many great lines, and I love all the tortured artist stuff. Still, he was also writing stuff like "Joed Out" and "Lying in State at around the same time, stuff that seems totally unpretentious to me.

And obviously the later albums are not lacking in beautiful lines either...

askance johnson, Thursday, 20 December 2007 05:17 (twelve years ago) link

Can't Merge be persuaded to put it out in the US?

curmudgeon, Thursday, 20 December 2007 14:23 (twelve years ago) link

eight months pass...

I did end up ordering this from smokecds some months back, and it is totally great. Perhaps my favorite Verlaines album since the 80s stuff. Totally worth the money!!

askance johnson, Thursday, 18 September 2008 17:57 (eleven years ago) link

that bird-dog still out of print is one of the greatest musical tragedies of our time

Lovenasium (electricsound), Thursday, 18 September 2008 23:27 (eleven years ago) link

Agreed. I missed this poll - my vote would've gone for Hallelujah...closely followed by Some Disenchanted Evening. Although I've downloaded everything, and own a few, this is one of those bands I fetishize and would dearly love to own everything by. Listened to "Down the Road" and "Ballad of Harry Noyb(?)" as they came on ipod shuffle this morning walking to work. Terrific.

paulhw, Friday, 19 September 2008 00:47 (eleven years ago) link

re: my above post, by "this" I meant the new album, Pot Boiler. Perhaps this was obvious, perhaps not.

askance johnson, Friday, 19 September 2008 00:57 (eleven years ago) link

actually the whole flying nun vaults could stand some deluxe reissues. it's great that the likes of the clean have been anthologised but there's so much stuff there threatening to disappear into obscurity and it's not like any of their current roster is worth a damn

Lovenasium (electricsound), Friday, 19 September 2008 00:58 (eleven years ago) link

A petition! OK, maybe not, but deluxe for me could include:

All 3 early Verlaines LPs
Jean Paul Sartre Experience - Size of Food
Chills - Kaleidoscope World
Bailter Space - Tanker & Thermos

paulhw, Friday, 19 September 2008 01:22 (eleven years ago) link

those were all reissued somewhat recently. actually no size of food wasn't, 'love songs' was. size of food is not so good though. and kaleidoscope world wasn't, it just always seemed to be available, perhaps no longer. ignore me.

keythkeyth, Friday, 19 September 2008 01:24 (eleven years ago) link

KW hasn't been available for ages unfortunately. i lucked into a cheap copy. but the 80s mastering could do with a spruce up

Lovenasium (electricsound), Friday, 19 September 2008 01:27 (eleven years ago) link

yeah, see I love size of food (had it on cassette), but that's a pipe dream. does anyone know how to buy tanker or thermos?

paulhw, Friday, 19 September 2008 01:59 (eleven years ago) link

for some reason i thought matador had reissued the bailterspace stuff. they have thermos for sale as a flac if that helps

Lovenasium (electricsound), Friday, 19 September 2008 02:02 (eleven years ago) link

actually the whole flying nun vaults could stand some deluxe reissues

Was thinking about this the other day...Murdoch's gotta have some spare cash kicking around.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 19 September 2008 02:08 (eleven years ago) link

I believe there are plans for Ba Da Bing to reissue the Dead C's Flying Nun LPs.

ian, Friday, 19 September 2008 02:44 (eleven years ago) link

the last flying nun band that needs reissuing. there were only two flying nun lps anyhow and each is crap and 'dr503' was sorta reissued already on 'dr503c' with 'the sun stabbed' ep tacked on.

keythkeyth, Friday, 19 September 2008 22:30 (eleven years ago) link

two years pass...

pretty sure ready to fly is the best. sprinkling of good songs on the others, but RTF is where he channeled all his relationship bad-vibes perfecto

plus i have huge weakness for those droney guitar chords he leans on throughout the record (see title track)

dude (del), Monday, 20 September 2010 19:11 (nine years ago) link

The other day I heard a Swiss artist, Big Pants, with a cover of "CD, Jimmy Jazz and Me." A bit odd but it worked.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 20 September 2010 19:15 (nine years ago) link


i feel like maybe swedes are like the japanese in the sense that they respect all of this indie pop schluff to a degree that bests any attention that it gets in it's english-speaking countries of origin. i mean, i feel there will be circles of people in stockholm or tokyo talking about martin phillips in hushed tones decades from now, and probably waffle restaurants named after him, as well

dude (del), Monday, 20 September 2010 19:20 (nine years ago) link


dude (del), Monday, 20 September 2010 19:20 (nine years ago) link

swiss/swedes, same thing. they're equally non-american

dude (del), Monday, 20 September 2010 19:22 (nine years ago) link

is 'corporate moronic' out? i thought i remembered seeing a review of it but maybe not. 'pot boiler' was pretty not that great actually.

keythhtyek, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 01:27 (nine years ago) link

i was put off by his record that came out in 2001 or thereabouts. it had the song with lyrics exhorting people not to breed. musically it didn't capture my interest, assume subsequent stuff by him is similar

dude (del), Tuesday, 21 September 2010 14:30 (nine years ago) link

"Bird Dog" is my favorite, but I'd say "Hallelujah All the Way Home" is probably their best. Or maybe the other way around.

ursaminorjim, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 17:16 (nine years ago) link

seven months pass...

man, "whatever you run into" is just such a beautiful, beautiful song

I need to listen to some Verlaines. The only song of theirs I've heard was off the No Alternative comp.

One thing I will say: Flying Nun needs to reissue SNAPPER!

if hongroes could fly this place would be a geirport (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 3 May 2011 11:38 (nine years ago) link

amen to that.

cb, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 15:43 (nine years ago) link

I listened to side one of Juvenilia last night. Love it so much.

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 16:13 (nine years ago) link

listened to Some Disenchanted Evening in the middle of the night and listening again as the sun sets. How few albums are this unassuming about having one rock-solid, multi-layered, quietly brilliant song right after another? It's spectacular, but in a shadowy sort of way. Amazing.


timellison, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:32 (nine years ago) link

Love's Four Sail is like that.

timellison, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:04 (nine years ago) link

eight months pass...

o look, there's a new one!

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 19 January 2012 18:46 (eight years ago) link

it is not so great

keythhtyek, Friday, 20 January 2012 03:13 (eight years ago) link

Hasn't that been the case for a while?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 20 January 2012 04:24 (eight years ago) link

yeah, the last 3, so dud. he seems only capable of the crooner mode now and thinks he has something interesting to say but he doesn't. bring back durer's hair and the dog skin coats!

keythhtyek, Friday, 20 January 2012 05:05 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

I'd say Downes later output is more impenetrable and needs repeat listens. It then becomes very rewarding. It has for me. I reckon the lyrics on Untimely Meditations are brilliant. They read great on the page. Last Will and Testament is an incredible bit of work. I think he's got a lot of interesting things to say. Seems to me he has very little concern for being popular or even caring if people like what he does but I think his work will stick around a long time after he's shuffled off. I know of no other music that does what UM does, so it'll be difficult to come to grips with for many. Much better to be challenged by new work than sitting around romanticising your youth. BTW I hear that when Ryan Adams played Dunedin recently he did Whatever You Run Into and ranted about how the Verlaines are "cool as fuck"

fortyyearslearning, Saturday, 31 March 2012 05:46 (eight years ago) link

See a Ryan Adams endorsement does nothing for me.

keythhtyek, Saturday, 31 March 2012 12:15 (eight years ago) link

well argued

fortyyearslearning, Saturday, 31 March 2012 22:45 (eight years ago) link

I'm a fan up through the Downes' solo album. What are the outstanding tracks off of Potboiler, Corporate Moronic and Untimely Meditations?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 31 March 2012 22:50 (eight years ago) link

I think these are really good. One from each.

It's easier to harden a broken heart, paratai drive, a call from decades past.

fortyyearslearning, Saturday, 31 March 2012 23:03 (eight years ago) link

the thing is even on post-Way Out Where Verlaines, which generally don't seem to really snap like classic Verlaines records did or to have the focus (which probably isn't focus, but: the album hangs together well) of the really really great Hammers and Anvils, melodically Downes is still way the hell ahead of, like, anybody imo. Total master. "Hanging By Strands" from Over the Moon? Christ what a track, that coda, it's huge. I haven't made a list of Top 10 Bands since high school but if I did it's hard to imagine the Verlaines not being on it, every time I revisit them I like them more.

tempestuous alaskan nites! (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 31 March 2012 23:12 (eight years ago) link

i listened to lady and the lizard last night. really loud. love the harmonic interplay between guitar and bass.

fortyyearslearning, Saturday, 31 March 2012 23:29 (eight years ago) link

there's a brilliant slice of music at 6.05 in last will...

fortyyearslearning, Saturday, 31 March 2012 23:36 (eight years ago) link

even on pot boiler - a track like "don't leave" has a lot of patented Downes moves that're just great. but the performances are uninspired, and the recording doesn't really serve the song, which is something an interested & engaged songwriter would notice. their older stuff was "lo fi" or whatever but the aesthetic gelled with the performances and with their moment. whereas on "don't leave" - record this song in a more interesting way, the outro especially, say, and tell people it's an outtake from the old days & they'd believe it.

tempestuous alaskan nites! (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Sunday, 1 April 2012 08:54 (eight years ago) link

i liked it better when graeme was more interested in the politics of the personal versus politics in general. he comes off as a cranky old dude without the gifts of his youth that would obscure his lameness. has anyone seen him live recently? is he capable of the spleen busting wails of the past any more? last time i saw them was in 96 around the release of 'over the moon' and they were amazing, his hat was ridiculous, but the recent three records are all dreary and blah. it's probably all still well orchestrated and composed but it just doesn't hit me the same. the bats made one of their best albums ever last year, sure they were never at the verlaines level but robert scott is still the robert scott i remember, forever boyish, graeme sounds broken down.

keythhtyek, Monday, 2 April 2012 00:19 (eight years ago) link

Here's the broken old bastard himself about 4 months ago.

fortyyearslearning, Monday, 2 April 2012 03:33 (eight years ago) link

Sharing that

Trip Maker, Monday, 2 April 2012 03:51 (eight years ago) link

Don't Leave kinda sounds to me like what it is - a song about someone that did themselves in.

fortyyearslearning, Tuesday, 3 April 2012 21:57 (eight years ago) link

I think these are really good. One from each.

It's easier to harden a broken heart, paratai drive, a call from decades past.

Thanks, 40years, I listened to these tracks and I think you nailed it. Now my compilation has proper representation from his recent albums!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 15:52 (eight years ago) link

it's absolutely true that recent verlaines albums aren't like the 80's stuff. but take lou reed's ectasy and compare it with the velvets. totally different. in fact take berlin and compare it to velvets.... people hated that record and it's now considered a classic. he didn't want to be pigeonholed. on the liner notes for metal machine music he said "my week is your year" which is one of the best lines ever. in other words 'if you don't like it, i don't care". i respect him for that. he wanted to keep moving forward.

fortyyearslearning, Sunday, 8 April 2012 04:23 (eight years ago) link

I got really sick of them, I feel bad about that. They were creative and original at a time when, you know, American bands were kind of stagnant, but by Ready to Fly I was sick of them.

you were probably sick of yourself, and everybody else.

fortyyearslearning, Tuesday, 17 April 2012 22:25 (eight years ago) link

From what I can tell, these videos have not been posted. For me, they're both bittersweet (passing of time etc) and also a reminder of how great they were:

And for posterity:

paulhw, Monday, 30 April 2012 01:19 (eight years ago) link

man that "in session" version of joed out sounds AMAZING. so much better than the original.

guitar tone is so great and it's allowed to breathe and ~reverberate~ properly.

his voice is in fine form, too. solid.

dell (del), Thursday, 3 May 2012 22:45 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

wait the verlaines released an album in feb 2012?
"dark riff" sounds pretty good but maybe i'm being influenced by the title
kinda sounds like ian curtis singing ?!

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Wednesday, 17 October 2012 03:41 (seven years ago) link

Yes, the new(ish) album is actually rather great! Which is something of a relief, because the last one (Corporate Moronic) was sort of awful and so I had feared that he had totally lost "it". But it appears he does, in fact, still have at least a bit of "it."

doctor, doctor, give me the news (askance johnson), Wednesday, 17 October 2012 19:10 (seven years ago) link

six years pass...

Wow @ the new album being called Dunedin Spleen. I'm excited.

geoffreyess, Thursday, 11 April 2019 03:51 (one year ago) link

Didn't vote but impossible to choose between the 2 winners so glad I didn't.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 11 April 2019 05:50 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

new album

fortyyearslearning, Thursday, 30 May 2019 09:16 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Not to mention, old album. Or rather, collection:

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 00:52 (one year ago) link

Ah from 1987...I remember liking that comp

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:51 (one year ago) link

i always thought that was an album! did not know it was a comp

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 21:21 (one year ago) link

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