The Beckies “The Beckies”
Long out of print, The Beckies makes its debut on CD. If the west coast had the sublime production and baroque pop stylings of Curt Boettcher in the early ‘70s, the east coast boasted the man who invented the genre: Michael Brown. Brown has the driving force behind The Left Banke (“Pretty Ballerina” and “Walk Away Renee”) and Stories. The Beckies was Brown’s last attempt to reach the pop audience he cultivated in the late 1960’s, and by 1976 the times had changed drastically… Read the full review on 53rd and 3rd blog.
Sneakers “Sneakers” EP
Where did the 1980’s power pop revival start? You could argue that this album was the beginning. North Carolina’s Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter began their music careers in the band Sneakers in 1976. Stamey and drummer Will Rigby moved on to The Db’s, while Easter moved on to Let’s Active and eventually produced R.E.M. With a single EP and LP, the world didn’t learn about Sneakers until a remixed and re-recorded comp “Racket” came out in 1992. Now Omnivore offers an expanded version of the band’s original EP with 11 tracks and a cover of The Grass Roots’ “Let’s Live For Today.”
For fans of the ’80s indie jangle pop this is an essential addition to their collection. It is way before the DIY lo-fi movement in music took hold and set the stage for much of what came later, with quirky pop and heavy angular guitar riffs that “Driving” shows. Compositions like “Love’s Like A Cuban Crisis” and “On The Brink” have a timeless quality and doesn’t sound dated at all. The production and mixing has that sloppy charm, and displays the fact that even though Sneakers were a cult band, they effectively bridge the gap between Big Star and R.E.M.