Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fire Town - live and demos

Oh, to be a footnote in musical.  Madison, WI's Fire Town are sadly relegated to that stature, as whenever they're name-dropped it's surely in the context of their famous drummer, Butch Vig.   As most of us are painfully aware, Vig went onto preform in the far more commercially viable Garbage, and an equally viable production career, commandeering multi-platinum albums by Nirvana and the Pumpkins.  Yet, Fire Town (and like-minded precursors Spooner, whom Vig also had the same funtion in) were responsible for two very strong albums bustling with primo songs that warranted attention purely on their own merits.  Problem was, F/T were a very straightforward sounding proposition, specializing in vaguely edgy, but to most ears, pedestrian AOR.  God knows there was plenty of that filling up the airwaves in the late '80s, and despite sheer consistency and indelible hooks, they just weren't moving the needle, or for that matter records.

 A couple of the most flattering comparisons I can suggest are also some of the most accurate, namely their neighbors to the north Northern Pikes and the Grapes of Wrath.  Good company to be in, so long as you've got the right A&R guy priming the airwaves and press for you.  Their debut, In the Heart of Heart Country, landed on the local imprint Boat Records in 1986, and was scooped up by Atlantic Records a year later.  The move didn't garner them much more in the way of notoriety, nor did FT's sophomore salvo, The Good Life, arriving in '89 which saw the band fanning out from trio to quartet.  Heart Country was the (slightly) hipper sounding of the pair, with Doug Erikson's wielding jangly guitar leads a plenty.  The Good Life, rarely strayed from this formula, but was nonetheless tinted with a faint Americana bent.  The songs presented here, both live and studio, surround The Good Life-era.  Many songs from this management curated promo tape carried over to the record, but we're treated to a healthy amount of outtakes as well.  Established customers will delight in these dozen and a half songs, and if you newbies fancy what you hear, you'll be happy to know that reissues of both Fire Town records are still attainable. 

01. I Could Be the One
02. Baby I'm Not Home
03. Standing in the Light
04. Shadows Fall
05. Train Song
06. Trouble in Mind

07. Sleeping
08. Love Survives
09. Out of the Blue
10. Everything Falls Apart
11. Turn to You
12. Street of Dreams
13. I Could Be the One
14. Baby I'm Not Home
15. She Reminds Me of You
16. Street of Dreams (2)
17. I Don't Want to Lose You
18. Miles Away


binkerbo said...

Thank you! Fire Town is a hometown band for me. Here's a link to some Spooner ephemera.

spavid said...

Thanks binkerbo!

Michael said...

I remember picking up Heart Country back in the day because the band appeared on a Rolling Stone list of up-and-coming acts to watch, and have loved them ever since. Glad to see they're not forgotten.

Jim H. said...

Many thanks!! When i saw that first album cover with the Vox guitar on it, i knew i had to pick it up....i think "Carry The Torch" got some airplay here in Boston at the time...looking forward to hearing these!!!

Phil said...

Would love to hear this one if it is possible to re-post please. Thanks!!