Jun 092012

One of the bittersweet delights of being a music fanatic is to be sitting on a band that history has passed over: to listen, investigate, enthuse, and have lived through the creativity of that which has been ignored by the many. It is a special and intangible intimacy.

I’ll make such a case for Felt.

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/17-Something-Sends-Me-To-Sleep.mp3|titles=Felt: Something Sends Me to Sleep] [audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/15-Evergreen-Dazed.mp3|titles=Felt: Evergreen Dazed]

Led by the eccentric and singularly named Lawrence, they are one of those groups who, despite musical talent, indie looks, and influence on others, never quite managed to garner the success they deserved. They remain fairly underestimated.

Now, your average RTH reader may find Felt an acquired taste. Clear and jangly ’80s guitars wedded with swirly organ (from future Primal Scream-er Martin Duffy), and Lawrence’s relish of failure expressed through vocals which recall The Fall, Dylan, or Tom Verlaine of Television.

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/08-Fortune.mp3|titles=Felt: Fortune] [audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/07-A-Wave-Crashed-On-Rocks.mp3|titles=Felt: A Wave Crashed on Rocks]

Felt wove together a tapestry of Verlaine and Richard Hell, inlaid with the gold filigree of Maurice Deebank’s classicly trained arpeggios. The guitars don’t just provide noise in the background, but have a leading melodic voice that conveys the poetry. The guitars chime and ring, often aided by the production of Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie.

All that New York ’70s talk that Dylan and Patti Smith kept making about Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry of hallucinogenic imagery finds a place in the music of Felt. Lyrics are rife with black ships, Homerian vinyards, bejeweled knives, the Nazca Plain, and dying of shame.

Felt released 10 records in 10 years, and then called it a day, leaving the crown they never reached to the likes of Belle & Sebastian; the entire Creation Records roster; The Clientele; and current “it” bands, such as Minks and Beach Fossils.

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/01-Primitive-Painters.mp3|titles=Felt: Primitive Painters] [audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/09-The-Final-Resting-Of-The-Ark.mp3|titles=Felt: The Final Resting of the Ark]

Lawrence of Felt


  10 Responses to “Dismantled King Is Off the Throne”

  1. Did this appreciation of Felt come recently to you, Mr. Mod? I must confess, after reading this post, I thought someone hacked into your RTH accout. This is so outside what I perceive your wheelhouse to be that I may need to take a long walk through the nearest overcast moor to fully digest the implications. For Felt is not at all about the Power and Glory. This traditionally has been a band for college sophomores wearing scarves and smoking clove cigarettes and feeling arty and sarcastic. I say this as a long-time appreciator of both Felt and Power and Glory. Kudos to you, sir.

  2. I am not Slim Jade, tvox. It’s another Townsperson who’s using that RTH handle. I do appreciate the joke.

    Do not fear; I have not been holding out on such an unexpected appreciation. I am, however, looking forward to giving Felt another try based on the words Townsman Slim Jade has used to describe this guy’s music. If only “Lawrence” would have used his last name – or at least referred to himself as “Larry.” (No disrespect to our vast readership named Lawrence/Larry.) My how that’s always bugged me:)

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    I am guessing that as a college sophomore Slim Jade did indeed wear a scarf but would have substituted eyeliner for those clove cigarettes.

  4. Tvox, have you been a fan of Felt? The second song Slim Jade gave us, Evergreen Dazed, sounds a lot like something you would cook up.

    I’m hearing the Tom Verlaine ties. I could see myself letting this stuff play in the background while I work,l the way I do some of Verlaine’s mellow solo albums. I remember when I last heard Felt, about 82 years ago, hearing similarities in the attention to chording and tone. DC5, was it EP who owned every album by this guy?

    The thing I struggle with with an artist like is a lack of tension in the foreground. No one challenges the main thrust of the song. The drums and bass are just there, as far as I hear. I like to hear some musicians on the sides mixing it up, getting in the lead musician’s way. Is is nice to hear other textures, including the organ solo, in the “Waves” song. Did this Lawrence guy ever do an album with a strong musical presence alongside him, the way Richard Lloyd is causing his own mess in the middle of Verlaine’s Television song? “Primitive Painters” allows more of a mess to create vibrancy. I could see that being a bit of a “hit” song in its time, which the other songs you’ve included are too laid back to be.

    Interesting to learn, too, that the Cocteau Twins guy produced some of these records. He definitely had an interesting take on guitars, and I can hear how his ears would work with Lawrence.

  5. jeangray

    Slim Jade:
    You are a-reading your target audience wrong if’n you think we are all not already familiar with the Felt oeuvre.

  6. jeangray

    The Cocteau Twins connection is the only reason anyone ever listened to these guys in the first place.

  7. Slim Jade

    I don’t make any claims about familiarity, they’re just not a band that gets investigated in this forum.

  8. jeangray

    There is a reason for that! ;-0

  9. misterioso

    jg, you are probably right, but in all fairness I have to say that either I had forgotten about them completely or else I totally ignored them first time around. Either is possible. The most enthusiastic comment I can muster based on the songs posted is “inoffensive.”

  10. underthefloat

    I like Felt and didn’t really listen to them until 7-8 years ago. It’s not really a sound I typically am looking for but I do like them quite a bit actually. But, the one name this is silly to me.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube