Thursday, January 05, 2012

Song of the day

"Medicine Show", by The Dream Syndicate.

It is a commonly held belief that the mid-1980s were a fallow time for music. And yet it was a period that gave us a whole slew of great albums, from "Daydream Nation", "Psychocandy", "The Perfect Prescription", via "Treasure", "The Firstborn Is Dead", "Secrets of the Beehive", "Diamond Life", to "Rain Dogs", "The African Man's Tomato", "This Nation's Saving Grace, "Hatful of Hollow"; and that's without really stopping to think.

What there isn't really, in all of that lot, is a defining sound, or look, or gimmick. Perhaps the band least likely to have come from the Decade that Taste Forgot was The Dream Syndicate. Their second album, "Medicine Show", didn't fit many post-sixties moulds, really: this is especially the case with side two, which consisted of three songs, all of them rather long, and festooned with actual guitar solos. You can see from the following clip that they also didn't much look like anybody's conception of 1984:

And hence, by embracing quality over "fashion", they (together with a large number of the albums listed above) justify the appellation "timeless". What I most love about this song, and what is not conveyed by the performance above, are the guitar chords and the backing vocals. Plus the fact that it just plain rocks.