Tuesday, January 18, 2005

how seely lived like a kings kid

Apologies for the extended disappearance, I was rescuing thousands of CDs and LPs from my flooding basement library. My life is now in disarray. But the upside is that I am handling music that I haven't touched in years...

Seely, the first American band signed to British independent Too Pure (once the home of PJ Harvey, Stereolab and Seefeel), has the distinctly British sound of dream-pop inspired by My Bloody Valentine. The band was formed in Atlanta in 1994 by two architecture students, guitarist/vocalist Steven Satterfield and guitarist Lori Scacco. The two added vocalist/bassist Joy Waters and drummer Eric Taylor, and toured America with like-minded bands Yo La Tengo, Third Eye Foundation and Trans Am. The group signed to Too Pure for their 1996 debut album Julie Only, a delightful piece of indie psychedelia with an impeccable production job by Tortoise's John McEntire. Seely's sophomore LP Seconds appeared in 1997; Winter Birds followed in early 2000. - AMG

Somehow, much like a lot of the music I talk about on here, Seely has managed to nearly disappear from the online world. How can a band that has released three great albums during the internet era on well-distributed labels vanish so quick? Luckily I found that much like my previous post of Difference Engine, part of Seely has carried on with a new project. Lori Scacco recently released a solo album on Eastern Developments. Check out her luscious mp3 snippets on the site, I think I am going to need to order one for myself soon.

A classically trained pianist and guitarist since childhood, cofounder of mid-nineties indie-rock coup de force Seely (Too Pure Records, UK), and later a self-taught sound designer and composer, Scacco is certainly not new to the scene and definitely knows what she's talking about. Scacco sites heroes as far afield as the Coltrane Household (Alice and John), Dusty Springfield, Pharoah Sanders, Darlene Love, Brian Eno, The Delfonics, and the earthworks of artist and visionary Andy Goldsworthy as spiritual (as opposed to formalistic) influences.

Scacco's Circles presents listeners with a lissome and gentle exploration of love, life, soul, nature and narrative - The Essentials - and the cyclical natures of each. Warm piano washes and crystalline acoustic guitar chords humbly meander through ultra-sparce earth-toned atmospheres - but they do so always with a solid set of faithful bass lines walking close by to gently knod affirmation as the music patiently comes into greater knowledge of Self.

On Circles, Scacco lays down tight minimalist jazz compositions to create songs with a strong emotional agility and an overall cool, understanding thoroughly that bit of sensuality that arises out of slow and well-paced revelation. Scacco's explanation of her process maybe gives some insight into how the music came move with such precision of mood "…I played the piano freely for hours, recording everything, trying to get to the point of complete openness, to the threshold of what was really inside of me…this was easiest when I was too tired or out of it to over-think or edit."

These tracks were taken from their 1996 debut CD, Parentha See, which was put out on the Atlanta, GA label Third Eye. The whole album was later rerecorded and resequenced for their Too Pure debut, Julie Only.

Seely - Lucky Penny
Seely - Shine
Seely - How To Live Like A Kings Kid
Lori Scacco - Imitation of Happiness (snippet)


At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see something about Seely. Steven Satterfield has a new band called the Silver Lakes. They have a track on a really good compilation of Atlanta bands called Don't Doubt Rock vol. 2. You can get info at www.internationalhits.com.

I enjoy your blog! jonhope@bellsouth.net

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Phil said...

ah, another 90s band i know nothing about. that'll teach me to turn my face away from all things recordable for 10 years. quite lovely. thanks.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger guanoboy said...


Hope you didn't lose much in the flood...what a nightmare...

glad to see your back.


At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i first saw Seely in 1997 when they opened for GusGus and Cornershop at the 9:30 Club in DC

i was awe-struck by what i heard and fell in love instantly

my roommate bought a copy of SECONDS at the show but when we parted ways a year later, she gave it me
i've never stopped listening to it

i now have all of Julie Only, all of Seconds, and most of Winter Birds in mp3 form

this band is amazing and it saddens me that they are so maligned and disrespected on the web


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