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Down By the Old Mainstream

Golden Smog

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Album Review

Like most supergroup projects, Golden Smog's Down By the Mainstream is a loose, relaxed affair that sounds like it was a lot of fun to record. Unlike most supergroups, the members of Golden Smog improve on their regular bands. Comprised of a number of alternative country-rock stars — including Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, and Soul Asylum's Dan Murphy — the musicians are releaxed and loose, giving the songs a raw, rootsy kick. Since the album wasn't carefully considered, it has an offhand, relaxed charm that is sometimes lacking from Jayhawks and Soul Asylum albums. Not all of the songs are first rate — "Pecan Pie" and "Red Headed Stepchild" are a bit too cute to be effective — but the performances are full of grit and fire, which is what makes Down By the Mainstream such an engaging listen.

Biography

Formed: 1989

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A boozy, side-project covers band that gradually evolved into a kind of roots rock supergroup, Golden Smog was a loosely affiliated unit comprised, at various times, of members of Soul Asylum, the Replacements, Wilco, the Jayhawks, Run Westy Run, and the Honeydogs. The group first came together in the Minneapolis area in the late '80s as a country-rock reaction to the punk and hardcore sounds that dominated the Twin Cities' musical scene at the time; eventually Golden Smog became something of a fixture...
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Down By the Old Mainstream, Golden Smog
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