Thursday, September 18, 2008

Slowpoke - Virgin Stripes (Geffen, 1998)

Long before Wind-Up Records became quite possibly the worst record label in existence, responsible for lowest common denominator music like Creed or Evanescence, it was a credible indie rock label known as Grass Records. Grass released albums from The Wrens, Commander Venus (Conor Oberst pre-Bright Eyes), and New Radiant Storm King (just to name a few) before being bought out and transformed into Wind-Up Records in 1997, with any trace of taste or integrity being thrown out the window. 

During its heyday, Grass Records was home to Slowpoke, a band little known outside of their hometown of Dallas, Texas. Grass released Slowpoke's debut full-length, Mad Chen, in 1994 as well as their split 7" with their soon to be semi-famous fellow Texans The Toadies. Slowpoke at this point exemplified the type of earnest, slightly discordant yet melody driven indie rock that Grass was known for. Yet Grass was in the middle of being sold when it came time for Slowpoke to release their second album, recorded with Wally Gagel (a member of the previously featured forgotten treasures band Orbit and noted engineer for the likes of Superchunk and Sebadoh). This situation was made even more complicated by the fact that Geffen Records, smelling a hit in Slowpoke, was now trying to buy the band out of their indie deal. Eventually Grass, now Wind-Up, sold the band to Geffen - a lengthy and difficult process that delayed the release of the album by almost two years. Geffen released this second effort, Virgin Stripes, in 1998. A considerably more pop-oriented and radio friendly affair than their previous releases, Virgin Stripes ultimately failed to stand out in the overcrowded alterna-pop world of the late 90s. Slowpoke would later change their name to Prize Money and make the move to indie label One Ton Records, who released their debut (and final) album, All Eyes On the Prize, in 2000.

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Slowpoke playing "Railroad" live circa 1998: 

you can find more Slowpoke live videos here.


Ivan said...

Hey bro! that's a great disc, i had it! but i think someone took it last summer during my vacations! and i want it again.... Do you have a Megaupload link? i need to download this amazing disc!!! Pleeease!!!!

Ivan said...

3 years a go!!!