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Ride the Wild TomTom

The dB's

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Album Review

In his liner essay for Ride the Wild TomTom, former dB's member Peter Holsapple jokingly describes this collection as "the equivalent of our Basement Tapes," and that statement actually describes the contents fairly well, especially when one remembers that Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes were mostly recorded as a goof. A collection of rehearsal tapes, demos, early single sides, and inside jokes, Ride the Wild TomTom is hardly a definitive portrait of The dB's, but anyone looking for a ragged-but-right look at the band's formative days during Chris Stamey's tenure with the band will eat it up. Along with early versions of "Soul Kiss," "Modern Boys and Girls," and "A Spy in the House of Love," Ride the Wild TomTom features a highly individual cover of The Grassroots' "Let's Live for Today," a commercial jingle for the East Coast music magazine New York Rocker (the band was using their offices as a rehearsal space), and the mock-punk onslaught "Hardcore Judy." Committed dB's fans will find this to be hoot, and while it's hardly the best introduction to the band's music, the quality of Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple's songwriting shines through on even the jokiest numbers.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Winston-Salem, NC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Playing sharp, tuneful songs with a hint of psychedelia and some challenging melodic angles, the dB's were the band that bridged the gap between classic '70s power pop (defined by bands such as Big Star, Badfinger, and the Scruffs) and the jangly new wave of smart pop, personified by R.E.M. And while the dB's spent the bunk of their career living and working on the East Coast, they were the among the first and most important representatives of the Southern branch of the new wave;...
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