Iron Leg Digital Trip #34 – Symphonie du Sneetch
In a Perfect Place
Run In the Sun
Take My Hand
You’re Gonna Need Her
…And I’m Thinking
Watch Me Burn
Broke Up In My Hands
Behind The Shadow
Things We’ll Never See
The Fool For You
The Dog In Me
They Keep Me Running
Listen/Download 98MB/256K Mixed Mp3
I hope everyone is digging, and digging into the summer, soaking up as much sunshine as possible (barring the slow incineration of sunburn).
I was driving home the other day, filled with tourist-related road rage, when I came to the Manasquan River bridge on RT70 (which will mean nothing if you’re not from the area, but bear with me), and as the car started up the span a vista opened up before me of absolutely surreal loveliness.
There was a gigantic blue sky, spotted with what seemed like uniformly sized, cottony white clouds. It was almost as if I was headed into a matte painting from an early technicolor movie, and in a split second all the anger evaporated.
Of course it all came back a few minutes later when some knucklehead cut across three lanes of traffic to make a turn they hadn’t planned for, but that’s the way it is here at the shore. You take the good with the bad, hoping that the good actually remembers to repeat it’s part of the cycle before you snap.
I got up early on Saturday, and while I was trying to ease into the morning, sipping a delicious iced coffee I was wandering around YouTube when I happened upon something remarkable, that being a video of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.
It was ‘Heloise’ by the Sneetches.
I can’t remember how I first heard of the Sneetches (it was well over 20 years ago) but I do remember how I fell in love with their sound the second the needle hit the record.
If you follow things here at Iron Leg or over at Funky16Corners you’ll know that aside from my wife and kids, there is little in this life I love more than discovering new (to me) music.
It’s like a drug.
I get cranky when I don’t have it and when I find something new, and the notes and tones start to fill my ears the pleasure centers in my brain are activated and something (endorphins?) is released and all is at least temporarily well with the world.
The discography of the Sneetches is packed from end to end with sounds that have that effect on me.
Aside from my early years of Beatles appreciation, I can hardly think of an artist/band that seemed as if every note they played had been engineered for my specific enjoyment.
That idea is of course absurd, with the truth being a lot closer to an accidental simpatico wherein the musical sensibility of the Sneetches (as creators) and myself (as listener) intersected on almost every level.
The grooviest thing of all, is that while the sounds that they made during their time together were evocative of the 60s (and the 70s), they rarely (despite an eagerness to record cover material) sounded like any one band. They were in turns Beatle-y, Zombie-ish, Buffalo Springfield-esque (and on, and on ad infinitum with added touches of Raspberries-osity) but unlike the vast majority of bands that arose in the mid-80s 60s revival scene, they managed to distill their many influences into a modern sound.
Despite this fact, and that the music they made between roughly 1985 and 1995 is consistently brilliant, they never really broke through to a mainstream audience (or even a significant indie contingent). I’d go as far as to say that during the time they were active, the Sneetches were pound for pound the finest pop band in the world.
I never really understood their inability to break through to a major audience, and from almost the very first time I heard the Sneetches I did what I could to turn people on to their music, whether it was passing tapes on to friends, or writing about them in my zine(s), all to no avail (though I did get a nice note from Matt Carges once).
Every once in a while I’ll cross paths with someone similarly enthusiastic about the Sneetches (my brothers both dig them too) but not nearly enough for my tastes.
You see, good music (or art, or movies or whatever else it is you dig) shouldn’t be filed away, especially when it hasn’t been exposed to everyone who might find within it the kind of spiritual ‘fuel’ that I find in a band like the Sneetches.
They took the time to channel their considerable talents into creating something beautiful, and while it might be rediscovered in a hundred years making them the musical Vermeers of their day, it would be nice if people could hear it and dig it while they are still here (not together as a band, but here with us in the corporeal plane) to be appreciated.
I’m putting together this mix so that those of you that stop by here, and haven’t heard/heard of the Sneetches might get a taste s it were and head over to iTunes to consume (thus the absence of a zip file of individual tracks). Though much of their discography is out of print, you can get their masterpiece ‘Sometimes That’s All We Have’ (and the comp 1985-1991) on iTunes, and backstock and used copies of their other albums at Amazon and elsewhere. I think that once you get a taste you’ll be out there, beating the figurative bushes of the interwebs so you can obtain copies of your own.
So take some time and appreciate the Sneetches.