These past few days I’ve been making conscious decisions to listen to music I used to listen to in University. Now, I really used to love twee pop. Like a lot. I love every sweet little band that popped up on K Records in the 80s/early 90s like Tiger Trap and, of course, the twee movement in the UK (which contained great bands like Talulah Gosh and ever-popular Pastels). Just sweet little bands. Black Tambourine was one of those bands, but they were always a little bit more haunting than the rest and I loved them all the more for it. But they were brought the forefront of my mind for a strange reason.
There’s this game that some people like to play (you know who you are) that drives me bat-shit crazy. Let’s call it the “Do You Know… Game”. I really hate telling people I’m into music because it inevitably ends up in questions like “Do you know…” over and over again with various band names. I can tell you 99.9% of the time I will not know the band. There’s just too much shit out there to know everything. But the other day my co-worker tried played this little game with me in which I answered everything with no. Finally he said, “But I thought you liked music.”
Oh and how my drunk, immature mind didn’t appreciate that statement much. So out of my mouth spewed a slew of American bands that I probably hadn’t listened to in years – including Black Tambourine. Because if there’s one thing these Europeans don’t know…
Does that equate me to having the emotional maturity of a teenage girl? Probably. Worth it, though, if I’m left in peace for the rest of my working life.
But at least that little incident seemed to jog my memory. Even if it was immature. So this week I got to revisit this Maryland band.
Black Tambourine were one of the first bands to be on the indie label Slumberland Records along with Velocity Girl. Black Tambourine is not an album, though. It’s a compilation that was released in 2010 – the very year I bought this. This compilation followed 1999’s Complete, which wasn’t very complete for something with a name making that claim.
There are six additional tracks here not seen on the Complete compilation, including a, well, dreamy cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream”. But the two most familiar original tracks to listeners has to be “For Ex-Lovers Only” and the excellent “Throw Aggi Off the Bridge”.
This is a pretty good compilation. But because of the obvious, it doesn’t play as well as an actual studio album would.
Unfortunately, this album doesn’t have any sort of interesting back story. I found it in Milwaukee brand new and bought it. Doesn’t get more un-sexy than that. In fact, I probably haven’t listened to it much. Newer copies of albums (or remastered songs on vinyl) never made much sense to me. What’s the point in improved sound? Might as well just listen to it on digital form if that’s the case. There are no pops on this baby.
But considering this is a band that is unlikely to find copies of the original EPs any time soon, it’s worth picking this up. If anything, it will be a great name to pull out of the bag to end another stupid game of “Do You Know…”