The Paisley Underground was an American music movement emanating from the West coast during the 1980’s. It combined a psychedelic sound with harmonies and rock/folk rhythms. Bands such as Game Theory, The Plimsouls, The White Rope, and Dream Syndicate were part of the movement, which began to fade away during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, leaving behind an indelible imprint on American music.
The Dream Syndicate was in the forefront of the Paisley Underground movement. Formed during 1981, they released their first album, The Days Of Wine And Roses, during 1982. That album has now been reissued with some excellent bonus tracks.
The original lineup of Steve Wynn, Karl Precoda, Kendra Smith, and Dennis Duck were feeling their way when they released their first album. They were creating music that was original rather than copied. There were no blueprints to be used when forming their music. It was dark, passionate, and energetic.
“That’s What You Always Say” is one of those songs that defy description. There are textures, tempo changes, and a number of twists and turns. “Halloween” is a song that builds throughout, propelled by a scintillating guitar solo that threatens to leave conventional music behind. The title track find the band in attack mode.
If you are a fan of the band, then the bonus tracks will be a treat. “Still Holding On To You” and “Armed With An Empty Gun” are early versions of songs that appeared on their sophomore album, 1984’s Medicine Show. Kendra Smith left the band after the first album, so her participation on this tracks makes them different than the future finished versions.
The Dream Syndicate brought a tape recorder into the studio on December 9, 1982. The results are the previously unreleased shot jam “Is It Rolling Bob” and the complete song “A Reason,” which was probably ignored as it just doesn’t fit into their normal style.
The final two tracks are from early 1982, which was about two months after the bands formation. “Like Mary” has a jam quality but is a finished song. “Outside The Dream Syndicate” is a ten minute guitar jam that finds the band engaged in a relaxed creative process.
The Days Of Wine And Roses is an oft forgotten seminal album from the 1980’s. It has been out of print for close to a decade, and combined with the bonus tracks, makes for a nice trip back in time to a specific era and style of music. It is worth the trip.