Friday, April 22, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days (2009 Edition), Day Eleven: Vigil by Tribe

And now, a little sidetrack into Obscure Bands of The 90's.

This is one of my favorite bands that just Never. Went. Anywhere. It wasn't until recently that I learned from this article by David Medsker that they were a massive phenomenon in their home town of Boston (which once again proves, given my music proclivities and my love for a certain baseball team, that I may have been born in the wrong city).

And the odd thing is that when I first saw them, I didn't like them. They opened for Toad The Wet Sprocket one night during my years as a college student-cum-music journalist and I just didn't get them, even though I was rather struck by lead singer Janet LaValley--try to imagine Emma Peel strung up on heroin and finding herself stuck in front of a dream pop band. It wasn't until I came across their first album, Abort lying around my friend S. Guy Guimento's house and listened to it did I become a fan. It must've been a bad show I caught that night, because on the album their music was amazing--creepy at times, sweet at others, and with a massive swirling soundscape I just fell in love with. I then made it a point to catch their next show...and the show after that...and the show after that...and....

Well, you get the idea. I became a follower of the band, and loved them to death. I became so enamored that some of the members used to recognize me from show to show...which I guess makes me sad. But at least I now know I wasn't the only one who was going to shows by Ethyl Meatplow and the like because they were opening.

Tribe is one of those bands that, like Big Dipper, was a victim of the Signing Frenzy of the early 90's. Abort, from which this paen to night terrors comes from, did poorly, and their follow-up Sleeper did even worse despite some national coverage of their first single "Supercollider." In light of that poor showing, Slash Records released them, and the band went their separate ways. Granted, the separate ways included the husband and wife team of Terri Barous and Eric Brosius creating a video game called Guitar Hero, so it seems to have worked out okay for them.

(About that national attention--I remember quite vividly hearing a piece of NPR that interviewed LaValley and Brosius, as well as members of the Supercollider about strange transpositions).

If you like dream pop, you really need to give these guys a listen. I was fortunate enough to come across a website that includes everything you need to know about them, including mp3s of the demos for what would have been their third album. They're one of those forgotten bands that really don't deserve to be forgotten.

Here's a video that contains a live version of this song....

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