The Feelies are back

While trying to find info on another Hoboken band (see my thread re: The Marys), I tripped across an announcement that the Feelies (including Bill Million as well as Glenn Mercer) are releasing a new CD on Bar/None. Release date is April 12.

For those unfamiliar with this band, they were one of the great cult bands of the '80s. Nerdy look, oddball lyrics, jerky "ostinato" style rythms, highly crafted pop rock songs played at hyper (near thrash) tempos and 2 guitarists who can tear it up. Great taste in cover material including Beatles, Stones, Eno, and the Velvet Underground, among others.

As a side note, they were long the darlings of The New York Times who spilled an inordinate amount of ink on an otherwise obscure band.


One of the greatest of all the 80s post-punk bands (including Replacements, Husker Du, Minutemen, Sonic Youth, etc.). Also one of the best live bands I ever saw. Love all their records, with a special fondness for the pastoral, Peter Buck-produced "Good Earth."

Can't wait for the new record. Thanks, Marty!
A great band, but their studio recordings are a pale shadow of the energy they could generate at live shows. It's a day/night difference.

Trivia - they are the band playing at the high school reunion in "Something Wild". The do Bowie/Lennon's "Fame".

Can't really argue, but....

In the studio vs live, it's almost like they were almost 2 different bands. The CDs sound like quirky, minimalist alt. rock. A clever, interesting variation of rock music that was almost abstracted from the original rockin' idea.

In concert, they were a fierce rock band. Back in the day, I was an MD at an investment bank in NYC and took a young analyst who was working for me to see the band perform. His reaction was "Cool, the boss likes thrash."

The shows were amazing, but the records have endured, too.

Either way, it's good to have 'em back.
Listen to a sample on their new album here (Hit the orange play button at the top of the page.)

Thanks for the link. I loved the track and I'd bet it will be a monster live. Check out that little solo by (I believe) Million at the 1:40ish mark. You know that will stretch to about 4 minutes in concert. I do hope they get out to LA so I don't have to schelp to Maxwell's in Hoboken.


PS If anyone decides to check out the band for the first time, "Crazy Rythms" and the later stuff (The Good Earth, Time For A Witness) are quite different. I say splurge and go for a little of each to get a handle on 'em.
Martykl, I'm not knocking the albums, I'm just making a distinction. I saw them live in 1979/80 about a half dozen times and was overwhelmed by their sound. They were so good! The albums are very good, but they are different. I'm just glad I had chances to see them live.

Anybody remember the Lincoln Center area club Hurrahs. It's all kind of hazy, but I think The Feelies once opened for the Gang Of 4 there.
i'll be the contrarian--i love 'em on disc, esp. good earth, but was underwhelmed by their live show--thought they played great, but were somewhat reserved and detached + had those long, momentum-killing pauses between songs. i did dig the dual percussion. thanks for the heads-up on the new disc; should be interesting.
I was a bond trader in New York during the 80's and saw them several times live. I have fond memories of dancing with arms akimbo to "Slipping Into Something." If you like the Feelies, you should also check out Glenn Mercer's solo disc and his other band Wake Ooloo. Thanks for the head's up on the new cd.
Here are some upcoming tour dates:

May 13th : The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY
May 14th : Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA
June 17th : Word Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA
June 18th : 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

Trivia to your trivia: That band in Something Wild looks a lot like The Feelies, but (as a technical matter) it's not. It's actually The Willies. Same band membership, but Dave Weckerman (percussionist foor The Feelies) is the songwriter and singer.


BTW, I've always attributed that film cameo to The Feelies, too. I just learned the above tidbit from their website.
IMDB list the band as the Willies as played by the Feelies.
To my knowledge, the Willies never recorded anything - so maybe it's semantics in the end.
Thanks for the heads up....I LOVE the if only we could get Vulgar Boatmen going again! Talk about two great bands that few have heard of.
Better than Husker Du, The Replacements, Sonic Youth? Wow, I have to check them out.

Not better than, but they belong in that company. And like the Velvet Underground, all four of their studio albums have a distinctly different sonic signature. Great band.
waltersalas, is your user name a tribute to the guy from the silos (or are you the same guy)? very good band. in any event, i agree the feelies (despite their relatively sparse output) fully deserve to be mentioned in the same company as other 80s greats; people who dig arcade fire or the shins really ought to listen to these guys.

IMHO, the Feelies are a little different animal from Husker Du and The Replacements (although, obviously, those bands differ from each other, too). I like both of the above (Paul Westerberg, in particular), but none were barking up quite the same tree as this band. I put the Feelies more in the company of Brian Eno and Lou Reed (and, in a bit of a stretch, Phillip Glass).

The Feelies (on record, at least) were trying to abstract the rock backbeat, much like Reed, who (often) went for jaded ennui and Eno who took it toward the mechanical or robotic or hypnotic. The Feelies used highly repetetive, slowly shifting rythms to more traditional rocking effect, in almost the flip side of the Reed/Eno idea, and in a nod to the Phillip Glass material of that time.

Anyone remember Polyrock? That was a band that Glass directly assisted around the same time and they were a more keyboard driven variation of this approach. The distinction I'm trying to draw is that The Feelies were definitely screwing around with the basic rythmic conceits of rock music in a way the other bands (to my knowledge, anyway) weren't.

The result - for me - is less heartfelt than Westerberg or Mould/Grant, admittedly more mannered, but (again, to me) more interesting. Don't really know Sonic Youth well enough to compare.

Just one more take for you.

Download a free mp3 of the Feelies "When You Know" here.

Listen to "Way Down" here.

Listen to "Should Be Gone" here.
Saw the Feelies live for the first time at Maxwell's in Hoboken. Amazing! I have to agree with the previous posters that their live show is a completely different experience than listening to their albums. Recordings just can't capture the energy of a Feelies live show.

Check out this Feelies Documentary from 1985.

And these Facebook fan photos of the Feelies.

And these live video clips.

And this amazing "Seven Days" Dylan cover.