post-punk gems, v. 23 — The Feelies

Welcome back to radio-K-SAT, and I hope you’re having a nice kick-off to summer. Today I turn our attention to the western edge of the Atlantic to hail The Feelies, the paterfamilias of the Hoboken scene (see: Yo La Tengo and others), just across the Hudson from Manhattan isle. In September 1979, Stiff Records announced the recording deal on the same day Bauhaus released their nine-minute (!) debut 12″ single, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” The Feelies’ arrangement with Stiff/Rough Trade got started with the October 1979 release of the super-fun “Fa Ce La,” the lead single of the appropriately titled debut LP, Crazy Rhythms (Feb 1980).

If bands like Monochrome Set and Pere Ubu were already modeling new and anxious modes of shoe-gazing masculinity, The Feelies upped the ante in terms of the emotional timbre (tremble?) of the times, leaving their mark on bands such as R.E.M., The Smithereens, Sebadoh, and Sonic Youth.

It was de rigeur, of course, for bands in the UK & US to cite the Velvet Underground and The New York Dolls as key influences, so it was especially gutsy for The Feelies to speedily cover this track by The Beatles on their debut LP, and to infuse with more energie nervosa than even Lennon displayed in the fab four’s final concert at Shea Stadium. Enjoy!