Friday, March 31, 2017

Hippies vs. Punks: The Feelies' In Between (2017)

The month of March I started listening to The Feelies again.

Crazy Rhythms (1980) is a seminal album that we listened to all the time, particularly in the 1980s; it has a sound all its own. It manages to aurally capture dark space, nighttime distance, like no other record I can think of.

The band didn't provide a follow-up until six-years later, and by that time they had a new rhythm section.  (Anton Fier's percussion work is really what makes Crazy Rhythms unique.)

Last week I picked up Ork Records: New York, New York and discovered something I didn't know -- that The Feelies can trace their pedigree all the way back to the original CBGBs scene. So even though their debut album was not released until 1980, they were part of the first wave of Punk.

Simultaneously I saw that The Feelies had just released a new album in February, In Between, and it is surprisingly good. Not Crazy Rhythms good, but topnotch.

It is worth listening to if only as a present tense "mystic chord of memory" connecting us to our cultural Ground Zero, the middle- to late-1970s. We have to go back and figure out exactly what went wrong. Music and cultural was able to reinvent itself out of the detritus of the Hippie collapse.

Inventiveness. We've lost it. Money, all-pervasive digital technology . . . we're suffocating.

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