Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Soft Set-First Record (2001)


Here's the first record by The Soft Set which we released ourselves in Austin in 2001. Unfortunately we got lumped in with and dismissed as Belle & Sebastian imitators, though I think that was unfair-we shared some of the same influences having grown up at the same time as those guys- but our record sounds to me much more influenced by Mazzy Star, The Clientele, the Velvets 3rd album and The Modern Lovers.

I made the mistake of name checking B&S in the second song, albeit in a disparaging way -describing what I thought of as their typical fan and the way they were appropriating the outward trappings and experiences of real outcasts as some sort of indie pop pose-"a collection of someone else's bad days"-but I erroneously thought reviewers would actually listen carefully to the lyrics. Anyway that name check and the name of the band itself got us dismissed out of hand by a lot of reviewers. One reviewer likened the sentiment of "Record On" to Kiss's "Detroit Rock City", which was supposed to be an insult but I actually dig Kiss and was not offended. And if you take away from "Detroit Rock City" the drinking, the smoking, the driving and the presence of other people I suppose it is!

Margo Guryan who had contacted me and struck up a correspondence because she liked a piece I had written about her at the Tangents website was sent a copy of the c.d. and I was surprised that her reaction was ambivalent as listening now I almost sound like a male version of her at times. The record does have a somewhat bizarre mix because the bass was accidentally recorded out of phase. But I stand by the songs and guitar parts, and I like the production, low-fi though it may be, especially on "Summer Shower". Brad Banks who went on to play bass in later incarnations of the band, played drums on this record and Matt Baab who was in and out of the Soft Set on several different occasions through the years plays some great guitar throughout. Matt, Kirk and Charlie (our drummer on the following records) went on to play in The Distant Seconds, and Matt is currently in a band in San Diego called the Rightovers check them out here.

Side One

1. Meg Tilly
2. Never Felt That Way
3. No One's Gonna Tell You
4. The Way She Smiles
5. Summer Shower

Side Two

6. Record On
7. The Conversation
8. Lower Yr Eyes
9. Someone Else's Curse
10. Delivered Too Late

William Crain-vocals, guitar, organ
Matthew Baab- guitar
Kirk Miles-Bass
Brad Banks- Drums

all songs copyright Wm Crain 2018

Flyer from one of our first shows,  this was a great show but it was all downhill from here in terms of audience appreciation.  

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