I’ve seen and heard it said in a few places that this is the “sort of sequel” to 1984’s legendary Rainy Day. If you’re not familiar with it, Rainy Day was a collection of “favorite songs” (i.e. Big Star, The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, etc.), covered by various members of the bands that constituted the now-legendary “Paisley Underground”. A warm, ethereal collection, it’s now one of those very hard-to-find treasures.
Fast forward to now: Rain Parade, The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate and The Three O’Clock are all back together again in one iteration or another and performing live, etc. Yep Roc Records has now released for Black Friday Record Store Day (this past November 23rd) 3×4, a new collection of recordings by the aforementioned bands – this time, covering one another!
The album was born out of an idea to celebrate their “Paisley Underground” beginnings after a very successful charity concert back in 2013, upon each band’s reunion. The concept was for each of the four bands to cover three songs from one another, but the plan kept lingering until Three O’Clock drummer Danny Benair mentioned it to Yep Roc Records’ co-owner Glenn Dicker, who green-lighted the project.
These 3 songs of each band covered by the 4 participating groups is, indeed, an interesting and fun concept – and it works beautifully. Because these bands were friends (both then and now), sharing the same experiences and scene, the personal nature of this collection is clearly felt and helps the listen connect on a much deeper level – this is, truly, a labor of love.
I don’t want to give away too much of this album’s delights, but things get off to a rousing start with The Three O’Clock’s rendition of The Bangles’ debut single, “Getting Out Of Hand” (originally issued under “The Bangs”). A little more “rock” than garage-y, this takes the song up to a different stratosphere – a bit sinister with a “don’t fuck with me” vibe; The Rain Parade take The Bangles’ “The Real World” and give it a warm, other-worldly, dreamy feel while The Bangles take The Rain Parade’s “Talking In My Sleep”, giving me chills with Susanna Hoffs’ sweet vocals and the raga-drone being completely on-the-one. The Dream Syndicate deliver The Rain Parade’s “You Are My Friend” in a pure, power-pop fashion that fits the overall structure of the song perfectly; The Three O’Clock spin The Dream Syndicate’s “Tell Me When It’s Over” into a lush tour-de-force and The Bangles rock up The Three O’Clock’s “Jet Fighter” into a harmony-drenched delight.
Twelve tracks – all or none of which you may be familiar with. If you know and love these songs, you’ll be enthralled by the reimagined/revisited/reinterpreted versions – for those who haven’t heard them before, it’s an easy way to embrace and then research the original versions and the various works by these groups.
For me, I don’t need to pretend – these bands meant a great deal to me at a time my musical landscapes were growing and becoming wider; more colored. So to hear them in the here and now, performing each other’s material is a special thing; a joy. More importantly, these are great songs that need to be heard and shared – again and again.
3×4 will be released worldwide on Saturday, January 19th, 2019