Friday, September 9, 2011

Alter Boys - Soul Desire +1 (1987, Big Time)

This album came recommended to by virtue of it's hefty jangle presence.  True, New York's Alter Boys baked plenty of ringing chords into the cake they dubbed Soul Desire, but that's that facet doesn't purvey itself as their dominant feature.  In fact, I'm not sure if there is a "predominant feature," so to speak, occupying these ten grooves.  The image of the scruffy, young nerf herders adorning the album sleeve belie a band that's (at least a little) wise beyond their years, pumping out taught, left-of-the-dial pop-rockers.  I'm not sure if the clean, airtight production job (courtesy of Dictators alum Andy Shernoff) does the Alter Boys justice.  In fact, I had a perfectly valid reason to be suspect upon later hearing a pre-Soul Desire a-side, "Piles" which I'm including as a bonus.  That 1986 track, which plays like early U2 by way of Minneapolis, is fantastically raw, stirring and altogether endearing, whereas ...Desire requires a little more patience.  Download, unzip, listen, and you'll see precisely what I mean.

01. One Step Ahead of the Rain
02. One Eye Only
03. Sweet Blossom Mary
04. Staring at the Walls
05. Beautiful World
06. Daily Word
07. Put Me In Another Head
08. Mid-Winter Deathtrip
09. Dry-out Center
10. All I Remember
bonus: Piles


armenite said...

I love this record. I don't dislike the production either, but I've always liked Adny too. There was a later Alter Boys record that does have a "rawer" sound - or maybe you just need to play this one LOUDER.

Thanks for posting.

spavid said...

Another AB album, Rreally? What was the title of it. Thanks for commenting.

armenite said...

The other one I know about is called Counter Intelligence. It cam out in 1995, although I didn't come across it for another decade. It's a bit low key compared to first and clearly they'd been listening to a lot of other things in between the two records- a little bagpipes here, Gordon Lightfoot cover there - actually the bagpipes song could have fit on the first record. It sounds pretty different, maybe because they were older, but it's not without its own charm.

spavid said...

Interesting. Really appreciate the info armenite. Thanks again.

Johnny C said...

Hey, I was in the A-Boys. Thanks for finding our records and getting a kick out of them. About the production- We were huge Dictators fans and very excited to have Andy work on it. We did some great pre-production demos and chased that sound for a year. I think all involved were trying for a "big hit record", which is fine. We tried and in light of other things we did, I think it sounds like a cool 80's artifact. The real problem was that the label folded as we were recording, so it never had a proper release or any promotion. I'll always "Stand Tall" w/ Andy because what he really taught us, was how to be a tight, rocking band. We immediately recorded another album on our own that, If I say so myself, came out great. It had some solid Velvets, Television styled rockers and Feelies inspired rhythm workouts. Unfortunately, it never came out. Frustration w/ that brought the band to an end (we reformed to do Counter Intelligence almost 10 yrs later). We carried on w/ The GasHounds, JZ Barrell solo, and I eventually formed Lancaster County Prison (foreshadowed by the bagpipes). If anyone has an idea about how to release the "lost album" in this digital age, let me know. Oh yeah, "Piles" was always my favorite.

spavid said...

Hey Johnny! Thanks for checking in. Really appreciate the info. Just bought Counter Intelligence a few weeks ago in fact. The "lost" album sounds intriguing. Please send me an email and we can talk further (see my profile towards the top, right margin of the blog ). I apologize for not noticing your comment until today. Cheers!

mk said...
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mk said...
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Lee said...

@Johnny C: perhaps it's been mentioned to you already, but the best route for digital releasing stuff quickly and cheaply is bandcamp. There's also the CDBaby way, which would also get it on iTunes automatically.

John P said...

@ Johnny C Appreciate the good tunes man. Me and my dad used to jam to a tape he had from one of your pressings. I guess he saw you open up back in the day.
Hope things are going well.


bat29 said...

I just posted this Altar Boys live show for anyone interested:

fudd said...


Any chance of fixing the link as it says Netkups but takes you to a defunct Rapidshare site?


PaintedBird said...

Man. I would love love to hear that record. Might be able to put you in touch with some friends who could release it for you. I’ve been DJing beautiful world from soul desire into the Feelies sooner or later recently, so cool to know you were into them!

lolo said...

Hi again
could you please re-up the 2 links for the Alter Boys?

Thank you very much