Tuesday, February 22, 2005

feast on my heart

what happens when gang of four meets b-52s meets bush tetras? give up? its pylon, of course.

Despite failing to equal the commercial success or cross-cultural impact of their Athens, GA ,compatriots R.E.M. and the B-52's, Pylon's influence on the city's legendary music scene proved just as pronounced -- the group's propulsive, angular jangle pop sound resonated not only through the Athens creative community but throughout the American pop underground of the 1980s, and though more heard-of than actually heard, their role as elder statesmen of the alternative rock explosion is unassailable. Borrowing their name from the William Faulkner novel, Pylon was founded by guitarist Randy Bewley and bassist Michael Lachowski, University of Georgia art students inspired by the likes of Television, the Ramones, and Talking Heads; the twosome soon sublet practice space in a studio loft rented by local artist Curtis Crowe, who quickly signed on to play drums. After auditioning a series of vocalists, the band finally settled on fellow UGA student Vanessa Briscoe, whose distinctive yelping style ideally complemented the music's jagged guitars and martial rhythms.

The quartet made its live debut in March 1979; that summer, the B-52's became the darlings of the New York scene thanks to their breakthrough hit "Rock Lobster," and their success paved the way for Pylon to make their own Big Apple debut, with Philadelphia and Boston appearances following before the school year resumed. Pylon's debut single, "Cool," appeared on the dB label in early 1980, earning strong critical notices and emerging as a major underground dance hit; that summer, they issued their debut LP Gyrate, also opening for the B-52's in New York's Central Park.

Pylon toured regularly leading up to -- and in the wake of -- their sophomore effort, 1983's Chomp, but dissatisfied with the finished LP, and also disheartened by an abortive tour in support of U2, the band dissolved. In their absence, Athens emerged as the nexus of the American underground thanks largely to the snowballing success of R.E.M., who regularly cited Pylon as a major influence on their music; in fact, when in 1987 Rolling Stone named R.E.M. "America's Best Band," drummer Bill Berry argued the honor actually belonged to Pylon, even though the group had disbanded four years earlier. - AMG

I'd say go buy their wonderful compilation, Hits from Amazon, but its not in stock. and Insound doesnt carry it. and half.com doesn't have it in, either.

Pylon - Cool
Pylon - Dub
Pylon - Yo-Yo


At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Pylon is great! Their second album "Chomp" has some great songs on it too. They have actually reunited for a series of shows in Athens with the original lineup. jonhope

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Phil said...

well, another great lost band or so it seems. all the songs you're sharing are terrific. are the rest as good? in any case - if the cd isn't available - are you willing to do a cd-r trade??? nns at bigpond dot net dot au

At 8:26 AM, Blogger heath said...

there is lots of pylon stuff for sale, albeit not great deals, at gemm.com

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Mail Clerk said...

they have a new, extended compilation coming soon, i'm assured. how soon? i don't know. but if you can track down their first two albums "gyrate" and "chomp", you'd be pretty much set anyway - they're both entirely great. ("Hits" is pretty much the two combined minus a few tracks and plus a few others.)


At 10:37 PM, Blogger Clair said...

Gyrate Plus went to be remastered this past weekend, according to Jeff Calder of the Swimming Pool Qs. I can't wait to get my hands on it!!

Thanks for the link!



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