Sunday, March 2, 2008

Black Tambourine - By Tomorrow

(Slumberland, 1991)

First a helpful collectorfreak note on the artwork, since this single was released with three different covers. There’s one with a tiger jumping through a glow-in-the-dark hoop (probably the rarest; mine is numbered 11/100), another with a girl splashing in a puddle (mine is hand-crayoned), and a third with a raindrop photo sleeve (oops, I don’t own this one). Find ’em all and love ’em all! Because the MUSIC is early-90s US pop underground at its best: Fuzz and reverb overlaid with roaring guitars, plus a hint of jangle underneath... strictly the good stuff. There’s some intriguing pre-Beatle girl-group influence at work as well, especially on the vocal patterns of the swinging “Drown” (and, to a lesser extent, the record’s lyrical concerns as a whole). Still, while catchy, concise, and inviting, these four songs are less cutesy than what European cousins like the Pastels or Vaselines were getting up to at the time, and a track like “Pack You Up” is downright dark shoegaze. Noisy pop simply doesn’t get much better than Black Tambourine, and these guys ’n’ gals were only around long enough to release two singles and a few stray tracks, all of ’em (plus a demo) now collected on the Complete Recordings CD/10”. Genius single, genius band. Really.

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