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Acetone

Acetone

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Acetone’s languid, shimmering sound stood in polar opposition to the guitar grunge that defined the mid-‘90s “alternative rock” explosion from which this album emerged. The trio transposed the understated, groovy interplay of the Velvet Underground’s third album to the whitewashed sprawl of Los Angeles. Everything Richie Lee ever sung emitted from his body as a fragile breeze, gently falling across the undulating, tidal motions of his band’s music. Like breaking waves, Steve Hadley’s cymbals linger reluctantly with every tap. Throughout the album, Lee’s bass remains interlocked in symbiotic friendship with his two bandmates, but it is Mark Lightcap’s stunning guitar work that puts Acetone in another class. Lightcap’s deliberation and liquiform soul phrasing is learned directly from Curtis Mayfield and Sterling Morrison. Perhaps the most pelagic album ever made by a guitar group, Acetone captures the lolling, forlorn rhythms of the California coast while simultaneously translating the undercurrent of loneliness and unease endemic to L.A. living. Few bands have been able to listen as closely to their city.

Customer Reviews

brilliant

some of the best guitar and bass tones ever recorded. this album is a classic. hit after hit.

beautiful

simply a beautiful album. RIP Richie Lee.

gem

One day I was walking around the track listening to Acetone. And I caught a few lines I wasn’t impressed by. Before that point I had never listened closely to the words; a few lines here and there had caught my attention, but for the most part their self-titled was just a piece of great, sad, countrified slowcore--good for late-night driving. When I heard those unimpressive lines, I resolved never to listen to the words. What if I did, and it turned out the album wasn’t so great after all? What if Richie Lee just wasn’t a great lyricist?
Well, tonight while driving around, I put on Acetone and broke my rule, listened to the words. “All you know has just slipped away / Still you go on waking up each day / How’d you get into this state? // Countless hours with no end in sight / Counting promises that turned into lies / Everyone got in your way...” Turns out, he’s a great lyricist. The occasional flubs, like what I thought I heard that one time, just serve to make the album more earnest. They add to its aura of wasted potential, given Richie Lee’s suicide. Here was a person whose life was utterly stripped of joy, as washed out as the jeans on the album cover. No wonder the music never reached a large audience; not many people can identify with that kind of depression, or would even want to hear about it. But for anyone who does choose to listen, by the time Richie sings the opening line of “Dee”--“What happened to you?”--over spidery guitars and sleepy drums, you’re completely roped in, so right there with him, enraptured, feeling what he feels.
The band is very tight throughout the album. Listen to the counterpoint between Richie’s bass and Mark Lightcap’s guitar. Every guitar solo is unpretentious, casually beautiful. Every bridge goes off without a hitch. No song breaks the mood.
Acetone may be the most perfect (and underrated) album I know.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Largely passed by in the alternative music sweepstakes of the mid-'90s, Acetone pursued indie rock with influences from two of their Southern California forebears, the Beach Boys and Gram Parsons, with plenty of the Velvet Underground thrown in as well. Officially formed in 1992 by guitarist Mark Lightcap, bassist Richie Lee and drummer Steve Hadley, the group had actually existed as early as 1987, when the trio began playing around Los Angeles. After working for several years with a succession of...
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Acetone, Acetone
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