Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wake up -- it's a beautiful morning!

The Boo Radleys

Summary: The Boo Radleys are one of the most innovative, musically ambitious, and little-known bands in the world. They experimented with new sounds, they made noise beautiful, and they are definitely in my Top 5 favorite bands of all time.

A Brief History of the Band (from
Yahoo Music): To read a history, read this.

My History with the Band:
During the summer between my sophomore and junior years in college, I was living in Iowa City. My family had just moved there the year before, so I didn't really know anyone in town except a few college friends who also lived there. After reading about The Boo Radleys in some music magazine, I went down to one of the great college town record stores in Iowa City and pick up their album Giant Steps. Immediately, I was hooked. The songs felt like a wall of musical strangeness, with each song adding a new and strange touch. Some songs use backtracking, some use samples, all use feedback -- I had never really fallen in love with the electric guitar before, but the beautiful and bizarre noises that Martin Carr (the songwriter and guitarist) makes with his guitar sucked me in. From the opening song, "I Hang Suspended," with its piercing guitar melody, to the strumming loveliness of "Barney (and Me)," this album was unlike anything I had ever heard before. It had horns, flutes, drum machines, and weirdness. When school started in the fall, I headed off to Scotland for a semester abroad, and there I became more familiar with the Boo Radleys and their previous album, Everything's Alright Forever, which even expanded on my new found love of guitar. Before, I had always associated loud guitars and feedback with heavy metal bands, which I hated. But now, I saw the light. The Boo Radleys were making beautiful melodies with rich, densely textured and layered sounds.
Their next album, Wake Up! started out with the very poppy and horn-happy "Wake Up, Boo!" which was a major hit in the U.K. But their song "Joel" from this album truly revealed how complex and layered their songs could be.
I got to see them perform in Chicago when they toured for their next album, C'Mon Kids. They opened for Better Than Ezra, which was a very poor match. My best friend at the time, Kathy, and I were the only ones in the audience who were there for The Boo Radleys, and we sang along to all of the songs, and then left after the Boos finished. We went next door to a place called SmartBar, where bands often hang out after the shows, and there I got to meet the band, except the lead singer Sice, who never made an appearance. But I chatted with Martin Carr, who is the musical genius behind the band, and the bassist Tim even recognized Kathy and me from the crowd: "You were the only ones who knew our songs." I told Martin that one day I might write a movie, and he agreed to write the score for me when I do. I got my Wake Up! cd autographed and was very happy.

Everything about The Boo Radleys makes me happy. They are not for everyone, but people who don't mind a little experimenting usually end up satisfied.

Favorite Boo Radleys Album:
Giant Steps (one of my all-time favorite albums by anyone)

Favorite Boo Radleys Song: "Barney (and Me)"

Other Seminal Boo Radleys Songs: "Towards the Light"; "Memory Babe"; "Skyscraper"; "I Feel Nothing"; "Does This Hurt?"; "I Hang Suspended"; "Wish I Was Skinny"; "Leaves and Sand"; "Butterfly McQueen"; "Lazarus"; "The Bench at Belvedere"; "Wake Up, Boo!"; "Fairfax Scene"; "Joel"; "Charles Bukowski is Dead"; "Wilder"; "Melodies for the Deaf (Colours for the Blind)"; "Everything is Sorrow"; "Bullfrog Green"; "Four Saints"; ""Blue Room in Archway"; "The Old Newstand at Hamilton Square"; "The Future is Now"

And now i'm getting older,
I still can't find the words
to empathise with what's inside,
express the way I feel.
And now i'm getting older,
It's easier to hide,
to run away day after day,
betray the voice that tells me
leave it all behind me.

Past Band Posts: New Order / The Smiths / Belle and Sebastian / Underworld / R.E.M. / The Beatles


At 7:07 PM, Blogger waintingnrain posited...

thanks for hte message! i am sure i'll see you then- i was out of town a bunch of the time. :)

At 1:19 AM, Blogger Jake posited...

I hang suspended by your womb.

At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Erika Lade posited...

I still have the burned Boo Radleys CD you made me for my high school graduation. Love it.


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