Up until very recently (at least from my vantage point) the going rate for every major-label success, is about ten or so flops. From the '60s to the early '00s, the big five (or is it four?) deliberately and predictably threw their weight behind a proverbial "golden goose," according them with the lions share of the promotional budget, leaving dozens of other signees to languish with nary a thought of recouping their investment. Absurd by any measuring stick if you ask me, but due in part to file sharing, the big boys have wised up, carefully selecting their rosters and making a more substantial priority of their signees. The beauty of the old-school model was that so many of the spill-over bands that were given short shrift by the public and the industry, would occasionally be of artistic, indie-label caliber, adopting small but devoted audiences in the process.
Santa Barbara's Summercamp just so happened to be one of those "major label miracles." Scooped up during the '90s alt-rock feeding frenzy the band signed to Maverick, the Madonna curated division of Warner Brothers. The wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time? Maybe a little bit of each. Summercamp's hyper-melodic power-pop probably came across as rather ordinary to young adults and older. Some of the most potent material on their solitary LP, Pure Juice, flirted at the edges of pop-punk, but the Warped Tour set wasn't convinced. Initially, it appeared that Summercamp had their foot in the door, boasting some regular airtime for their "Drawer" video on MpTytV, but hopes of making a more noticeable dent were soon dashed. A follow-up was recorded, and in classic music industry fashion, it was shelved. Singer Tim Cullen went onto an indie solo career, which resulted in an album, Fun Razor, that didn't stray far from where Summercamp left off.
The Tonight! ep was released shortly after Pure Juice as a Japanese import, with very limited copies swimming their way over to the mainland. It's no substitute for the aforementioned main course, but a nice little appendix, with three live selections and some studio outtakes. The title cut, by the way, is a mere four seconds. Huh.
01. Nowhere Near (live)
02. High Horse (live)
03. The Bright Side (live)
05. Miss Leonard
06. Drawer (demo)
The Prime Movers "Live At The Town And Country Club" 1989-07-23 - The Prisoners split in 1986 after four albums and the sadly inevitable music-industry-induced agony, but the Day / Crockford partnership didn’t stay dorman...
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