In a life long ago, aka 1985, the Three O’Clock’s Arrive Without Traveling – a smorgasbord of potent pop and bubbly rock – became one of my favorite platters. It features Day-Glo audio, just about, in that it’s fluorescent, effervescent, and just plain great. The Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade also became known entities to me that year, though I never played them quite as often. The Bangles, on the other hand, were already aural staples in my life.
For those unaware of the first three bands, they – along with the Bangles and dozens of others – were part of an early-’80s L.A. scene dubbed the Paisley Underground. This Wikipedia article digs up its roots, but all one really needs to know is that, as a collective, they channeled the sounds of the mid-‘60s. (Think the Beach Boys, Beatles, Byrds, Dylan, Love and the Velvet Underground, among others.) Yet, despite those influences, the music was utterly of its time – and, I’d argue, timeless.
The 3×4 compilation, in which each band covers three songs by their compatriots, confirms that assessment. In some ways, it’s a Nuggets-like compilation of ‘80s garage rock – if, that is, the groups on that Lenny Kaye-assembled anthology had sung each other’s songs. It reminds me, too, of the delightful Rainy Day endeavor of ’84 (which I picked up on CD in ’89), which featured many of the same players, except they’re now paying homage to one another instead of their influences.
Here are the Bangles providing a contact high with their rendition of Rain Parade’s “Talking in My Sleep”:
The Three O’Clock trip the (strobe) light fantastic with the Dream Syndicate’s “Tell Me When It’s Over.” (The fan-created video itself, on the other hand… eh.)
And the Dream Syndicate serves up a great take on the Bangles’ “Hero Takes a Fall”:
Whether one was familiar with the Paisley Underground at the time or came to it late (or not at all), the album is well worth seeking out. It’s available on Apple Music, Spotify and via the Yep Roc label. Here’s hoping that they hit the road together…
Here’s the track list; I’ve added the original band in parentheses.
- The Three O’Clock – “Getting Out of Hand” (Bangles)
- The Bangles – “That’s What You Always Say” (Dream Syndicate)
- The Dream Syndicate – “You Are My Friend” (Rain Parade)
- Rain Parade – “As Real as Real” (Three O’Clock)
- The Three O’Clock – “Tell Me When It’s Over” (Dream Syndicate)
- Rain Parade – “When You Smile” (Dream Syndicate)
- The Bangles – “Talking in My Sleep” (Rain Parade)
- The Dream Syndicate – “Hero Takes a Fall” (Bangles)
- The Bangles – “Jet Fighter” (Three O’Clock)
- Rain Parade – “Real World” (Bangles)
- The Three O’Clock – “What She’s Done to Your Mind” (Rain Parade)
- The Dream Syndicate – “She Turns to Flowers” (Salvation Army**)
[**The Three O’Clock started as the Salvation Army, but had to change their name when the other Salvation Army threatened legal action.]