Jun 8, 2010

Speed the Plough. Speed the Plough.

Speed the Plough were one of several bands that radiated out of the Feelies on-again-off-again period. Begun as The Trypes—featuring Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Stan Demeski—they recorded a single, understated EP before disentangling once again, with Brenda Sauter defecting to join the reformed Feelies. The Trypes became Speed the Plough, with Bill Million contributing guitar and production duties. Multi-instrumentalist John Baumgartner, rock critic Jim DeRogatis, woodwind and percussionist Toni Paruta remained, along with Marc Francia, Frank O’Toole and Pete Pedulla rounding out the group and adding several more guitars and drums.

The result retains the influence of the Feelies’ rustic, atmospheric work on The Good Earth and adds cerulean horns and accordion drones, shifting the setting from the golden hour to the deep blue twilight just before inky darkness absorbs the day. It’s a drifting, pastoral version of the Feelies’ tightly-wound, prim psychedlia, and achieves a rich, bucolic beauty of the sort I think R.E.M. would have liked to make—but instead opted for repeatedly having themselves photographed standing around in fields of grain. In fact, this is exactly the album I would want to hear if I could spend the day drifting waist-deep in a grassy field, or rocking to sleep in a hearty wooden dinghy floating on silver ribbons of water through a sea of cattails.


8 Blurts:

vaubu said...

Geez, I'm right there with you (again) I've really been into listening to all the Feelies related bands lately. The Feelies/REM were my first big concert as a teenager and I didn't feel a love for the Feelies then but I certainly do now. Somehow my love for them survived even my most snobbish phases of listening exclusively to the likes of Merzbow and Xenakis. Lately my ipod plays either a random shuffle of Kora music or a playlist of Feelies/Trypes/Speed/Yung Wu/etc. I don't know what you have in your collection but I'm still looking for more of this stuff. I've been compiling what I can find on the web into a thread in the SkaFunkRastaPunk forum, someone added an album by the band Spiral Jetty, which was a stretch because it was produced by Bill Million and Glenn Mercer, but no Feelies actually played on it, though it does have some affinity in it's sound.

I've always found it extremely curious that Anton Fier could go from the Feelies first record to the first Golden Palominos record seamlessly. I absolutely love the Palominos record with the likes of Fred Frith and Arto Lindsay, but what a 180 in aesthetic! I guess the common ground would be the rhythmic creativity.

Lately Speed the Plough has really been resonating with me. I was surprised to find their other albums (excluding the first) for cheap on Amazon. Here is a rip at 320 of their last album:


vaubu said...

I'm curious, what is the source of this rip: analog or digital?

vaubu said...

Oops, I just noticed I didn't copy the link above in full. Here's the link to Speed the Plough's "Marina" (1995)


Egnu Cledge said...

I copied this from a cd I made from a souleek download years ago, although it sounds like the original rip might have been from vinyl. I've seen tapes of it show up on ebay occasionally. There was a cd reissue at some point that added a song, but I haven't been able to get hold of it yet.

I did, in fact, just order all of Speed the Plough's later albums, as well as Brenda's solo release under her Wild Carnation moniker, which I'll be putting up as soon as they come in. Apparently Speed the Plough have picked up again and put out a brand new record, too.

I'm going to try to get the Trypes ep up tomorrow, and somewhere I've got a few Feelies live bootlegs that'll probably get posted here, too.

vaubu said...

That's great that Speed the Plough is back together. I kick myself for missing the Feelies' shows last summer. I'd definitely be into seeing either band so I'll keep an eye out. It sounds like you've got a pretty complete collection already so I don't know if you'd be interested but here is a link to that thread of Feelies related recordings I've been posting over at the SkaFunkRastaPunk forum. You might have to sign up to see:


I'd like to check back here to see if you post any other Speed the Plough, very good stuff. Some friends of mine who don't sound dissimilar are playing on a live stream radio program tomorrow if you get this message in time check out Old Man Forest between 11 and noon (east coast USA) tomorrow (June 13, Sunday):


John Baumgartner said...

It was a real trip to find this post and the comments. Thanks for the kind words. Actually, Speed the Plough have reformed after a decade-long hiatus and have just released their first album in 15 years, Swerve. The band now features 2 generations of players. For all the info, go to www.speedtheplough.com
Again, thanks and best regards,
John (for the Plough)

vaubu said...

Wow, it's really exciting to see your post John. I'm glad you take kindly to us sharing your music. As I said I really enjoy your music. The structures of your songs and the lyrical content is very satisfying. I hope to catch one of your upcoming shows. If not at the Living Room next weekend, then soon!

Anonymous said...

can you please re-upload Speed The Plough - Marina?
Unfortunately megaupload is closed.

A Friend From Greece
Efstathiou Stathis