29/4/14 – The Dream Syndicate – The Days Of Wine And Roses – 1982

Album Of The Day

The Dream Syndicate - The Days Of Wine & RosesThe Paisley Underground scene came out of Los Angeles in the early eighties. The main contenders were Rain Parade, True West, The Bangles, The Three O’Clock and The Dream Syndicate. To me The Dream Syndicate’s record is the least Psychedelic of all these bands. It’s actually more like a Post Punk album and the opening track Tell Me When it’s Over is closer to Television and a throwback to The Velvet Underground than swirling acid music. The influence of Neil Young bridges that gap between the late sixties and the late seventies.

Second track, Definitely Clean has more of a Gun Club beat. It’s interesting how bands you wouldn’t necessarily associate with each other at time of release, sound remarkably similar 30 years later – that’s called an era!

I hear Jonathan Richman on That’s What You Always Say – but that’s probably just the era again, Dennis Duck’s upbeat punchy drumming also defines the age.

On Then She Remembers, Kendra Smith’s simple bass gives way to Steve Wynn’s strumming chords and Karl Precoda’s edgier guitar – it’s the  LA underground breaking out.  I hear other influences too – The Sound, Magazine and even Joy Division.The Dream Syndicate - Original lineup

Halloween’s mid tempo stroll follows some Television guitar patterns but unlike Television, The Dream Syndicate never submit to  considered guitar solos – it’s more frantic, less measured.

Ironically, When You Smile sounds like the unhappiest song on the record, I can never quite get the gist of the lyric but I just know it’s not Disneyland. I catch the last line “It seems like the end of the world when you smile”.

Until Lately might be a Nirvana, Velvet Underground hybrid. I read somewhere 20 years ago that Kurt Cobain had been a fan of this record – each generation of musicians follows that tradition of building himself on his influences until he finds his own feet. This track builds into a visceral vocal outpouring and the guitars follow in feedback frenzy whilst a harmonica wails, but the drums and bass dance along like a family outing and that’s probably why the track works so well.

Too Little,Too Late has drunken slide and Kendra Smith singing rather melodically over a rather unnatural chord progression, perhaps made to sound odd by the slide guitar that follows the chords like a drunken man uncertainly following another drunken man down a dark street.

The title tack ends the record and it’s a high point. At 7.29 it’s across between Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues and Patti Smith’s Horses as Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s Gun Club appear again – the sound of the era.

What you have here is a bunch of like minded music fans, ignoring trends, forming a band  and playing a version of Rock ‘n’ Roll that they want to hear. So you end up with some firey passions and the love of the influences prevails. It makes you realize that Punk wanted energy not originality, passion not perfection and you have that in spades in this Post Punk album. Note to reader, The Paisley Undergound moniker doesn’t fit.



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4 Responses to “29/4/14 – The Dream Syndicate – The Days Of Wine And Roses – 1982”

  1. deacon12 April 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I think I bought this album when it came out because the title was the same as one of my Dad’s Andy Williams albums , and that intrigued me . I really never heard much of the other Paisley Underground (the Bangles excepted) bands .What I have heard reminded me more of West Coast psychedelia whereas The Dream Syndicate were definitely cut from a more velvety , East Coast cloth . Even with line-up changes ,the band put out consistently good to great record’s, like “Ghost Stories” .Steve Wynn’s more recent work with the Miracle 3 and the Baseball Project also showcase Wynn’s formidable songwriting talents .Television and the Dream Syndicate certainly have some musical commonalities .This reminds me of seeing Wynn and the Miracle 3 on a double bill with Richard Lloyd . I’ll have to say it was one rockin’ evening for certain .This was not too long after two of the Miracle 3 backed you (Marty) up for a show or two, I think
    . Great stuff , all of it !

  2. delay plus chorus May 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    This Dream Syndicate record is tremendous, and Steve Wynn has had quite a good career since then. But it was a real thrill a few years ago when I saw the Baseball Project, and they played “Tell Me When It’s Over” as an encore. An amazing moment.

    This past December they had a reunion of the Paisley Underground bands at the Fonda Theater in LA: Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, Bangles and The Three O’Clock on the same bill. That would have been an evening.

  3. Woody May 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    A classic. I saw all the gigs they played in Stockholm. It was really nice to see them back on the 2nd of May. Paisley underground was a very cool movement in itself. Rain Parade was on their day as good as DS. Saw them at the Ritz in the fall of 85. Rock on

  4. delay plus chorus September 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Just saw them last weekend! An amazing show, don’t miss them if they come to your town. And yes, they played most of the “Days of Wine and Roses” album. Great band, great record.

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