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Paisley Underground

Music Sound

Paisley Underground

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Paisley Underground
Stylistic origins: 1960's Folk rock, Psychedelic rock, Garage rock, 1970's Power pop, Punk rock
Cultural origins: mid 1980's, Los Angeles
Typical instruments: Guitar - Bass - Drums
Mainstream popularity: mid 1980s, Los Angeles
Regional scenes
Los Angeles, Dunedin Sound
Other topics
Timeline of alternative rock

Paisley Underground is a term used to describe a genre of rock music, based primarily in Los Angeles, California, which was at its most popular in the mid-1980s. (The coinage -- a joke that stuck -- is usually ascribed to Michael Quercio of the band The Three O'Clock.)

Paisley Underground bands incorporated psychedelia, rich vocal harmonies and guitar interplay in a folk rock style that owed a particular debt to The Byrds, but more generally referenced the whole range of 1960s West Coast pop and garage rock, from the Seeds to the Beach Boys. (The Dream Syndicate channeled Crazy Horse and Creedence Clearwater Revival -- via The Velvet Underground -- while The Bangles recalled The Mamas and The Papas, Green on Red came on as a cousin to The Doors, The Long Ryders honored Gram Parsons and the Buffalo Springfield, and so on.) The 1970s Memphis cult band Big Star, whose "September Gurls" was covered by The Bangles, was also influential, as were Britain's Soft Boys. Although there were accomplished musicians among them, it was also rooted -- as was the punk rock that preceded it -- in an inspired amateurism.

Sometimes, bands more peripheral to the shared musical vision of the Paisley Underground but who were part of the same social circle, such as Redd Kross, then evolving from punk rock into power pop ; The Leaving Trains, who had many of the same influences as the above bands but who leaned more towards punk ; The Last, who predated the abovementioned bands although sharing their musical vision; and The Pandoras, who leaned more towards straightforward garage rock revivalism, are included as part of the Paisley Underground.

Paisley Underground bands frequently shared bills, socialized and collaborated. Members of Rain Parade, the Bangles, the Dream Syndicate and the Three O'Clock joined together to make Rainy Day, an album of cover versions of songs by the Velvet Underground, Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Big Star, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who. As "Danny and Dusty," Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate and Dan Stuart of Green on Red made the album The Lost Weekend (A&M, 1985) backed by members of each band along with most of The Long Ryders.

By far the most popular band to emerge from the movement was The Bangles, who have had massive mainstream success, although each of the best known groups released at least one album on a major label.

Penny Feathers on La Cienega Boulevard was a popular meeting point for paisley people.

By the end of the 1980s the movement had passed from public consciousness. However, later acts Mercury Rev and Grandaddy have acknowledged its influence.

The wider movement of which it is a part is named jangle pop after the ringing, light guitar sounds it often features. It was paralleled in other parts of the world by genres such as New Zealand's Dunedin Sound, whose chief exponents (such as The Chills and Sneaky Feelings) were often cited as directly comparable to Paisley Underground bands.

Notable paisley underground bands

The Pandoras
The Fuzztones
The Gravedigger 5
The Chesterfield Kings
Dream Syndicate
The Long Ryders
The Eyes of Mind
Green on Red
Rain Parade
Salvation Army, later called The Three O'Clock
Game Theory and True West (based in Davis, California)
28th Day (based in Chico, California)
Lone Justice
House of Freaks
The Lost Patrol (based in San Francisco, California)

Not to be confused with Paisley, a type of punk, but ironically upbeat, and sung with lyrics that would normally be directed at children.

Southern California venues where bands played

  • Cathay de Grande in Hollywood
  • Radio City in Anaheim
  • Circle City at the Orange Traffic Circle
  • The Palace in Hollywood
  • The Cookoo's Nest Newport Beach
  • The Bullet at The Lhasa Club - Hollywood /Studio City
  • Club Lingerie - Hollywood
  • Music Machine - West L.A.
  • The Palomino - North Hollywood
  • The O.N. Klub - Silverlake

External links

Alternative rock
Alternative metal - Britpop - C86 - College rock - Dream pop - Gothic rock - Grebo - Grunge - Indie pop/Indie rock - Industrial rock - Lo-fi - Madchester - Math rock - Noise pop - Paisley Underground - Post-punk revival - Post-rock - Riot Grrrl - Sadcore - Shoegazing - Space rock - Twee pop
Other topics
History - Indie (music)

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.