Daddy-O à Go-Go (rpkrajewski) wrote,
Daddy-O à Go-Go

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Back in the days when I went out to clubs more than twice a year, back in the storied salad days of the Boston scene (O.K., my storied salad days at least), there were a lot of different kinds of bands but of course there were certain trends that Boston and the rest of the U.S. indie scene were not immune to, and, for a lot of the mid-80s, that meant roots-rock. Now, to me, while anguished post-punk and slicked-up synth/funk-influenced pop required or at least allowed a certain amount of posing, roots-rock was no more pure. Any child of the late 60s or early 70s, especially if they were from New England, was more likely to be listening to Wild Cherry in the back of a station wagon than Hank Williams on their parents' radio. The point is that nearly any kind of sustained aesthetic – a style – is going to require some thinking about the image that one wants to project, no matter how much a flannel shirt is a signifier of authenticity.

That out of the way, the Turbines could be lumped in with "roots rock" while transcending it. First, John Hovorka wrote a lot of memorable tunes – not too elaborate, but they stuck in your head, and I think he realized that the "roots" of most of his peers were industrial and not "western" or "folk." His pre-Turbines band Noise Pencil did a Rust Belt ode called "Weirton, West Virginia" which wouldn't sound out of place next to Pere Ubu. Second, they had a killer guitarist in Jack Hickey, who was able to distill all the good twangy stuff about guitars and the crank it up (especially live) so it didn't sound merely retro. And on their second (and last) album Magic Fingers & Hourly Rates, they actually managed to capture their live sound (see a few paragraphs down this page), which is something that was hard for a lot of Boston bands of the era to do on 80s-indie recording budgets.

None of this stuff is on CD, so I digitized all that I had (two albums, a single, and two compilation cuts I had already taken care of a while ago), and it fits all one CD. Sic transit gloria rock bostoniensis.

Tags: boston, turbines
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