Saturday, February 21, 2015

Song of the day

"No Easy Way Down", by Rain Parade.

Speaking, as we were, of The Dream Syndicate, it is only a short step from there to Rain Parade (or, as they were sometimes called, The Rain Parade: did they consciously lose the "The" when Dave Roback left (maybe he took it with him?), or were they just the accidental victims of nomenclatural uncertainty?). Both bands, along with a few others you can probably give at least name recognition to, were lumped together in the mid-1980s under the not entirely inaccurate (one can assume that there were paisley shirts in attendance) but also not particularly helpful umbrella "The Paisley Underground". (At least one person, who must remain nameless, made the dumb-headed assumption that Paisley Underground had something to do with Prince. Wrong.)

"No Easy Way Down" is Rain Parade's longest recorded song. (Note: that last statement has not been fact-checked.) It would not have been out of place on "Medicine Show"'s majestic second side. It was co-written by Dave Roback, but he doesn't play on it, as by the time it was recorded he had left the band to form Opal with ex-Dream Syndicate member Kendra Smith, and thence, as everybody knows, Mazzy Star with Hope Sandoval. (Where is Pete Frame when you need him?) Even in Roback's absence, though, the band still manages to do the song full justice. It retains his languid lilt, but combines that with some blistering psychedelic electric guitar mayhem. It may be the high point of the movement, even allowing that the "movement" was never really a movement anyway.

(Further (and better) reading can be had in this excellent piece by Joe Banks at The Quietus.)

Bonus Beats: The other thing about "No Easy Way Down" is that, whenever I hear it, I have a sudden urge to listen to "Surfacer", by 14 Iced Bears. I have no idea. (But nor do I need an excuse.)