For the latest installment of Hidden Gems I asked James Hoare (of Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls, Permanent Ornaments) to pick a lost piece of his personal music landscape. As always, Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. They’re the kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle… the ones that truly got away. For this installment in the series James picked overlooked UK jangle gem Drop Out from East Village. I asked James how this lovely record came into his life and what the record means to him.
James recalls, “I’d heard of the East Village through a friend, David Feck from Comet Gain, some years back. David strongly recommended I listen to the band and made me a mix tape which I took on holiday to Cornwall and was instantly drawn to, the music perfectly fit the mood, driving in the late summer evenings, melodic guitar lines looping over each other [in] beautiful melodies. I was instantly taken with the band and knew they had something special. It also sounded strangely familiar, like I’d been listening to them for years, yet completely fresh.” Due to timing and a stylistic opposition to their surroundings the band was fated from the start, as Hoare explains, “The band had split up some two years previous to Drop Out‘s release in 1993 so any serious impact was unlikely. They were also at odds with the period it was recorded in (1990) during acid house/Madchester, over the years it has gained a cult reputation but [it was] somewhat lost at the time.”
On whether the record’s seeped into his own writing, James muses, “I can hear shared influences with the band but they came out with something of their own. The Byrds, The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield are all there but the record sounds undeniably like the East Village and unlike the groups of the period. when I listen to the Drop Out it almost reminds me of my own guitar playing which is obviously from listening to the same records they were.”
The record remained out of print for several years following its release, building up the kind of mystery and appropriate collector lore that pushed its prices a bit in original pressings. Heavenly finally reissued the LP in 2013, which is now working its way back to hard to find, though not impossible to locate. It remains in print digitally, though. Fitting that it pops up at Heavenly, as the band’s Martin Kelly helps head up opps over there. As James mentions, the record is a true gem and one that, like so many, was a victim of circumstance rather than substance with a public just unready to embrace their sound when it was released. Its well worth a spot on your shelf for sure.
James has just released Dusk, Ultimate Painting’s third LP and is prepping the release of his second with The Proper Ornaments early next year.
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