December 6, 2006

Tell The Miss Alans That They Are The Only One [MP3]

The Miss Alans -- LedgerA funny thing about mix tape culture is the strong associations drilled into your mind about how two songs just must go together because you've heard them that way on a cassette that you played to death. It's the sort of thing that we suspect happens less and less as we all increasingly interact with music digitally, and not in the linear, Side A/Side B world of cassettes and vinyl. Anyway, last week as we were getting blown away by that live Texas Is The Reason material we posted, it triggered a memory of a song from a long lost mix tape. The memory was of an act whose name had the word "Miss" in it (but wasn't erstwhile Northampton, Mass. act Miss Read), sounded like The Stone Roses, and put out a 10" record in 1995 or 1996. Stumped as to the band's identity and with only a melody and snippets of lyrics to go on, we drafted an email to our former college radio cohorts. And as we expected, as soon as we pressed send on the email the name of the band popped right into our head. Never fails.

The Miss Alans, according to their Trouser Press entry here, were formed at Fresno State University in California and owed a great debt to R.E.M. (we still contend they sound like The Stone Roses without John Squire). We were only familiar with The Miss Alans' Big Sun 10" released on Mach in 1995, but after the band dropped off our radar it re-released most if not all of that EP on the 1996 full length Ledger. Ledger, incidentally, was issued on once and future Gang Of Four and Intel man Dave Allen's World Domination label, which also released much if not all of the catalog of under-rated Philly indie rawkers Latimer around the same time. Anyway, after the name "The Miss Alans" popped into our head we did all the research that resulted in this entry, and we also ordered a used copy of Ledger for *a cent* plus shipping off the Internet. The set is really pretty good, although the high points are almost solely the cuts from the Big Sun EP, at least at first listen.

Anyway, here is an MP3 of the song that started us down this line of inquiry in the first place. And to bring the item full circle, we are also posting an MP3 of the song that in our mind will always be inextricably related to "Big Sun" because of their being adjacent to one another on the mix tape referenced above: Boys Life's "Two Wheeled Train," from the amazing and out of print Christie Front Drive/Boys Life split 10" issued by Crank! in 1996 or so. "Two Wheeled Train" is a capital R Rocker, and for months and months after the record came out we would scream along in the car to the line "WITH THE RADIO OOOOOOONNN, YOU MAKE THE WHEEEEEEELS TUUUUUURRNNN."

The Miss Alans -- "Big Sun" -- Ledger
[just click]
[buy Miss Alans stuff from Music Stack here]

The Miss Alans: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

Boys Life -- "Two Wheeled Train" -- Christie Front Drive/Boys Life Split 10"
[just click]
[buy Boys Life stuff from Crank! A Record Company here]

Boys Life: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr


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1 comment:

Jim Connelly said...

Jay,

I went to Fresno State (and hung around) with The Miss Alans, so I'm not the most unbiased witness, but if you liked Ledger, you should check out Blusher. Or their early indie releases: Smack The Horse and All Hail Discordia! I still think that Manny Diez was some kinda jangly-guitar genius.

They were actually pretty great and very prolific -- only a fraction of their songs (they were together in one form or another for a decade or so) ever got put out.