Monday, 31 July 2017

Compiled #5

(Problems with Pixeldrain again, so today's links come courtesy of Nippyshare...)

I had originally planned to write about some of my other favourite compilations like 'Ruby Trax' and 'Alvin Lives (In Leeds)' but I decided against it in the end. Why? Well JC did some in-depth pieces on the former a little while ago and I can't add much more to what he wrote, while the latter has been written about in some form or other by plenty of others over the years. I'm sure Brian must have done something about it at some point.

So, the final episode in this mini-series is a bit of a cheat, really. You see, I never actually owned a physical copy of the 'Athens, GA: Inside/Out' soundtrack so it can't really be considered influential in my life. But it's a really good, varied record that deserves revisiting. And it's not even a proper compilation album, more a soundtrack; most of the songs included were recorded live specially. So maybe it doesn't belong in this series at all. Regardless...

If you didn't know, 'Athens, GA: Inside/Out' was a documentary released in 1986 about the music scene in the town of Athens, Georgia. I only ever wanted the soundtrack to 'Athens, GA: Inside/Out' for the R.E.M. tracks. For some reason it seemed practically impossible to track down. Not sure why, but I just never saw it anywhere and my local record shops were unable to order it in. I finally got hold of the R.E.M. songs as bonus tracks on a European reissue of 'Lifes Rich Pageant' on CD, so never pursued it any further.

I did, however, buy the video of the film at some point and found it intriguing. I'd never heard of most of the bands who featured. Of course, R.E.M. and the B-52s were by far the most successful of the lot, and I'd heard of Pylon purely because of R.E.M.'s cover of Crazy. But some of the other bands went on to have quite lengthy careers. Take the Flat Duo Jets, for instance. Not only did they release eight albums before they broke up in 1998, but they were a massive influence on the raucous two-piece blues rock bands who followed in their wake. No less than Jack White name-checked them often.

Love Tractor were another lot who had staying power, releasing four albums before they split (and a further three post-reforming). Pretty originally appeared on their second record 'Around The Bend', but this live version was captured at the legendary 40 Watt Club.

Most of the songs on the soundtrack were recorded live as a way of capturing 'the scene'. There were one or two studio tracks though. The mighty Pylon contributed a song from their debut album, 1980's 'Gyrate'. Stop It remains one of Vanessa Briscoe Hay's best vocals.

Dreams So Real is a band I still know almost nothing about. They did release four albums before breaking up in 1990. Golden, the track that appears on the Athens, GA. soundtrack curiously didn't feature in the film itself. Nor did it appear on any of their albums, though it was included on the 1992 compilation 'Nocturnal Omissions'.

Of course, the R.E.M. tracks will feature at some point in my ongoing Friday series. Maybe. Perhaps if the B-52s had a track on the album I might have included that, but strangely there wasn't one. In the film all we got from them was some very unsatisfactory archive clips and a couple of interviews. So instead, I'll sign off with the opening track on the soundtrack which also found itself being put out as a single. The Squalls released just two albums that very few people bought. This track, however, is incredibly hummable. Well, the chorus is. It's made it onto a few compilations I've done over the years.

Eventually, I finally managed to get hold of a copy of the 'Athens, GA: Inside/Out' soundtrack, albeit digitally. Not the same, I know, but better than nothing.


  1. Bought this one as soon as it came out... specifically for R.E.M. and Pylon. Was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the entire soundtrack. You really couldn't go wrong choosing a few to highlight today.

  2. Man, always enjoyed The Squalls stuff. Got in to Love Tractor to late to see them live back in the day.