So, this weekend Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 are playing ATP. They were a fairly late addition to the bill, apparently at the behest of Animal Collective, who are hosting this one, although it seems they’ve been trying to set something up for a couple of years, so maybe not. On the whole I’m pleased about this, I’m pleased they’re doing something. Even though there’s no London date. Even though I sort of should be going to celebrate a friend’s birthday but couldn’t afford it and now a band I love are brightening up an otherwise so-so bill with only their second show in years (they played in Boston a couple of nights ago). Now, if you’re bothering to read this then you probably already know of them. If you don’t, I’ll try. The Fellers are an abstract, experimental, absurdist rock band. They started in the late 80’s and fizzled out at the close of the nineties following a disastrous tour supporting Live, putting out one final album in 2001. You may not remember Live – they were a crushingly dull and worthy anthemic rock band in a vaguely Pearl Jam kind of way. Tedious in the extreme they probably still pop up on the kind of radio stations that keep Train’s ‘Drops Of Jupiter’ and Deep Blue Something’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ on permanent rotation. It was not a good match. I’m not sure they have much in common with Animal Collective, maybe in approach, but it’s definitely a lot more than they had with Live. So try and imagine a mid point between The Flaming Lips and The Butthole Surfers . Only less psychedelic, which is odd because they come from San Francisco. Imagine No Means No and The Dog Faced Hermans but less hardcore, less overt politics. If you follow all those references then you’ve probably already heard them, I’m not sure it’s helping. A lot of it is dense and chewy, alleviated by interludes of ambient sound and lopsidedly beautiful melodies. Matador, who put out most of their stuff in the nineties, have this to say about masterwork ‘Mother Of All Saints’
Thinking Fellers continue their indiscriminate flirtations with pop fragility, rhythmic propulsion, metallic glamour and idiosyncratic lyrical insight. Which is exactly what YOU want to say about them, but sometimes it just comes out like “they fucking rule.” TFUL 282 have an uncanny sense of what’s epic and what isn’t; when they fall on the side of the former (most of the time), the results are personal, direct and resonant, like no other group we know.
Which kind of covers it. In tiny little writing. From what I can tell pretty much all their stuff is out of print. You can get old imports on Amazon and mp3s of ‘I Hope It Lands’. Matador only seem to have a couple of tracks on compilations available. Which is a damn shame. This is a best of/favourites mix of their stuff for the curious, starting with the first thing I ever heard by them and staggering in a rough chronology through to the late 90’s – If you’re going to ATP check this out and don’t miss them. Matador or the band themselves should sort something like this out, maybe they are….
change your mind
2 x 4s
hummingbird in a cube of ice
star trek (peel session)
cup of dreams
waited too long
cuckoo at the world
my pal the tortoise
selections from a few dollars more