My first introduction to Love Tractor — one of the pillars of Athens’ ascent as an indie capital — came via their 1989 album Themes From Venus. I imagine this may have been the case for quite a few others as well. With Mitch Easter pushing them towards radio’s embrace, while also being notable for its several instrumental tracks that seemed to jolt the band away from that goal entirely, this was probably their highest profile moment. The record would prove to be their final, at least in their early stages, but that focus on an instrumental mash of jangled angles, post-punk rhythm, and a lounged fluidity had long been an anchor of their sound. The band had set themselves apart from many of the Athens peers with the exclusion of vocals, but no one can deny that their sound doesn’t bear the town’s rhythmic stamp. The band was quickly scooped up by Danny Beard’s DB records, home of their friends in Pylon and the eponymous LP followed shortly.
The LP that emerged out of their two day session came quickly, but feels like it landed fully formed. There’s something of a soundtrack quality to the record, but it’s equally at home pushing the listener to dance. They let sweat-stained grooves give way to cross-legged nodding while good natured strums succumb to caffeinated fits of guitar. Its a record that’s singular in vision — there are few others of the time that feel as loose, yet completely driven as this record. The band would mutate as they established themselves and wove vocal pop into the mix, but the debut is a moment in time that warrants returning to now and again. This reissue from Happy Happy Birthday To Me presents the record, remixed and referbished by David Barbe and Bill Berry. Plus there’s a wealth of liner notes by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, The B-52’s Kate Pierson among others.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.