THE FEELIES

THE FEELIES – Barbue, visit this Copenhagen, physician Nov. 27, 1986

While the Feelies aren’t really my bag, a friend requested this one from my collection, so here ya go, chappy! Trouser Press sez:

These New Jerseyites are the stuff of legend and cults. Led by guitarists Glenn Mercer and Bill Million (originally featuring future avant-star drummer Andy Fisher, aka Anton Fier), the Feelies dressed like nerdy preppies and paid only passing attention to the conventional demands of rock’n’roll. Even during the original band’s period of highest visibility, for example, live dates in New York tended to be infrequent and often fell on holidays.

In the mid-’80s, Million and Mercer reactivated the Feelies as a fulltime band with Demeski, bassist Brenda Sauter (also from the Trypes) and percussionist Dave Weckerman. The Feelies finally released their second album, co-produced by Pete Buck, in 1986. “The Good Earth” approaches folk music with its light, airy feel and acoustic guitars, but intensity and obsession lurk near the intricately woven surfaces; slashing leads occasionally pierce the atmospheric tapestry. Million and Mercer display their taut control even as they’re strumming away madly in rapturous acceleration; the quiet sections are extraordinarily beautiful. When their voices join for spirited harmonies, you know it was worth the wait.

Turning to another media, the high school reunion scenes in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” show the Feelies (credited as the Willies) performing shards of five songs, including “I’m a Believer,” “Crazy Rhythms” and “Fame,” with tentative Bowiesque lead vocals by Weckerman.

The Feelies – Barbue, Copenhagen, Nov. 27, 1986 (ZIP file)

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746 Responses to THE FEELIES

  1. BT says:

    Hi, can’t get this link to start initializing DL?

  2. Sam Adams says:

    Yay!

  3. rogue says:

    We LOVE The Feelies!

  4. illlich says:

    I definitely think “The Good Earth” is their best album, it left me nonplussed or bored at first, but eventually grew on me, sorta like Eno’s ambient LPs. It has a certain “background music” feel, like a thought in the back of your head you can’t get rid of, that you semi-consciously mull over while cooking or cleaning.

    In fact I think I’ll go dig that LP out now.

  5. Emerson says:

    Holy crap on a stick! The Feelies were and are one of my faves. Just to let you know there’s Feelies fans around, and our feelings are easily bruised.

  6. chnkltgy says:

    I always felt that it was a good sign that the first night I was in Athens, Georgia I got to see The Feelies at the Georgia Theater. They were tremendous, electrifying and frenetic. Hopefully I get to see a reunion show. Great post (as always).

  7. Rob says:

    Thanks for this. The Feelies took a while to grow on me, but i really like them now. There’s an undefeated yet wistful longing in their music that makes them unique in the new wave / post punk envelope…. If that makes any sense :-) thanks again for this Bret.

  8. Creatured says:

    If anyone is interested in one of the current live shows the Fellies have done, you can find a great soundboard/audience matrix at nyctaper.com maybe my Teenage Jesus recording from 6-13-08 will go up there someday too.
    Fa Ce La

  9. rob P says:

    I had the first LP. I believe it was self titled. It was the one where Weezer copied the album art for their 1st LP. Anyway, i can’t find it anywhere. If you have it, that would make a great post. Its got a great Beatles cover and in my opinion is their best record.

  10. Darjeeling says:

    Thanks for the post — love their records, have mixed emotions about their live performances. The music was great but their stage presence was very off-putting — no talking between songs, modest contempt if the audience showed emotion or enthusiasm. Very much like the New Order shows I saw.

    I remember a Feelies show in Philadelphia during the late 80s. The original date had been cancelled because one of the band members (Bill Million?) had a baby. During the make-up performance some months later, someone in the audience shouted out “Why did you cancel?” or some such thing. The band didn’t respond, but another audience member shouted out “a girl!” and maybe even the baby’s name. Again, zero response from the band. They were one of the coldest, most disaffected performers I’d ever seen. At least Jesus and the Mary Chain had attitude….

    –Darjeeling