For Squirrels - Baypath Rd (2008 remaster) & 1993 demos
I've had For Squirrels on the brain ever since namedropping them in my Naomi's Hair entry a few days ago. Before they pondered the significance of Kurt Cobain in "Mighty K.C." (from their 1995 Example album), and more notably before the tragic van accident from the same year that claimed the lives of singer Jack Vigliatura, bassist Bill White, and tour manager Tim Bender, the Gainesville, FL quartet issued a self released CD in 1993, Baypath Rd. Limited to one thousand copies (or so I've heard) Baypath Rd. became an almost instant collectors item as word of For Squirrels misfortune got out, and in years to come would routinely fetch over $100 or so on Ebay. I don't have an original copy, or even a cd-r of an original, but MP3s weren't hard to come by, and in fact are available from the For Squirrels fanpage linked above. The Squirrels aforementioned sophomore disk, Example, sounded like a perfect fusion of Nirvana-esque tantrums amidst the esoteric folk/pop tenor of Fables/Pageant-era REM. On the other hand, the preceding Baypath Rd plays out almost as if Nevermind failed to see the light of day altogether. The REM influence on Baypath is unmistakably pervasive, and for that matter signals where Michael Stipe & Co. would have gone were it not for all the "innovations" they dabbled in during the '90s. Vigliatura bears a cathartic, yearning timbre that would be deemed "emo" in todays marketplace, but Michael Tooke's ringing chords countered the Squirrel's angst factor in ways their contemporaries didn't contemplate attempting, "Go On Up" and "Flagboy" were terse, driving rockers, while on the opposite side of the coin, Baypath offered more than it's fair share of reflective ballads in the form of "Kill the Birds" and "Left Behind," among a few others. To this set of ears the album's crescendo is struck on "Nathaniel's Song" a brisk, strummy pop jewel buttressed on a backbone of sublime multi-tracked harmonies. A highly endearing set of songs
As mentioned, copies of Baypath Rd are long gone, but one particularly enthusiastic For Squirrels supporter with some studio know-how took it upon himself in 2008 to "remaster" the whole enchalada, giving it a louder mix and boasting the album's sonic attributes in general. The original Rapidshare link where I obtained this from has expired, so I created my own and have provided it below, but do yourself a favor and view this Live Journal page for more details. As an additional download, I'm also sharing six demos the band tracked in 1993, including a handful of songs that didn't make the cut for Baypath. There's also a bevy of F/S live shows, more demos, and evan a radio appearance up for grabs over at Forsquirrels.net.