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THE LEMONHEADS

The Lemonheads

Lovey

    Ltd edition BOOKBACK CD companion to the Deluxe vinyl reissue of The Lemonheads ‘Lovey’ for Record Store Day 2020, housed in a bookback sleeve with expanded liner notes and unseen photos – this is the definitive document of Dando’s first steps towards the mainstream. The lovingly repackaged CD is accompanied by a second disc, ‘Triple J Live at the Wireless’, an unearthed radio session taken from their 1991 trip to Australia.

    The major label debut for Evan Dando’s Lemonheads from 1990, following three “ramshackle punk” (©Select magazine) albums for Taang! Pivoted on a more approachable set of sweet melodies still rife with punky spirit. A light and dark album, polished in the arrangements, nodding to the excess of American culture (Manson and Gummi Bears), hectoring Reagan’s drug laws (‘Lil’ Seed’), riffing on everyday life.

    Remastered with a freshly-dusted off second album featuring a full radio session recorded during their trip to Australia to promote the album and their gorgeous cover of Gram Parsons’ ‘Brass Buttons’.

    “Like Hüsker Dü when they were at their most ferocious or REM when they were at their most Byrdsian hypnotic.” NME

    The Lemonheads follow up the critically acclaimed ‘Varshons’ from nearly ten years ago with another eclectic collection of covers.

    Produced by director Matthew Cullen and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Ramones), their tenth studio album brims with the slowly-matured vocal of Evan Dando as he lures a host of personal faves to his melodic lair. He really has become one of the great expressive singers of our time.

    ‘Varshons 2’ is a hokey jukebox filled with unique versions of Yo La Tengo, Nick Cave, The Bevis Frond, NRBQ, The Eagles, Paul Westerberg, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams and John Prine.

    Like Hank Williams slumped in his car between gigs, strumming and hollering, reasoning and weeping, humming it on over, Evan and his Lemonheads make every tune their own.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Though it's been ten years in the making, the second iteration of their 'Varshons' series sees The Lemonheads covering a host of excellent originals with style and grace. Where else could you get a masterful combo of John Prine and Nick cave on the same LP? Not many places i'd wager. A superb second outing, and yet more proof of the Lemonheads' continuing relevance.

    Fire Records will be reissuing the first 3 albums by the Lemonheads, Hate Your Friends (1987), Creator (1988) and Lick (1989), featuring copious bonus tracks and many never-before released rarities and live recordings. Together, these seminal albums showcase the band's early punk rock roots and trace the Lemonheads’ transformation towards becoming one of the most successful and influential bands in indie rock. Before the 90s. Before the internet. Before Nevermind. Back when something called “independent music” first began reaching a wider audience, through college radio, word-of-mouth, and that small “underground” record store you seem to find in every town…there was a band from Boston called Lemonheads.

    High school friends Ben Deily and Evan Dando, Lemonheads’ primary songwriters, co-guitarists and co-vocalists, first recorded together on 4-track cassette in the spring of 1985; by the end of the decade they—together with bass player Jesse Peretz, sometimes-guitarist Corey Brennan, and successive drummers Doug Trachten and John P. Strohm—had created a body of recordings which would see them on MTV’s fledgling “120 Minutes,” beating out the Grateful Dead on college radio charts, and entering the consciousness of a generation of music fans. Cited as influences by artists as varied as Billie Joe Armstrong and Ryan Adams, these fledgling Lemonheads recordings—part rock, part pop, part unique hybrid of the 80s punk styles beloved by the band members—mark the start of the trajectory that would eventually lead to “mainstream” success and stardom for a later version of the band. But they also represent a distinct, never-repeated phase of the band’s history: one that is finally receiving the attention it deserves.

    Lick is the third full-length album by the Lemonheads, and the last to feature founding member Ben Deily. It was the group's last independent label-released album before signing to major label Atlantic. An odd mixture of brand-new, and considerably older, sounds, 1989’s Lick brings together the output of several distinct recording sources: six brand new songs recorded with Minneapolis-based band friend and producer Terry Katzman, and a collection of older, B-side and never-released material originally overseen by producer and engineer Tom Hamilton. The difficulties of writing and creating a new full-length album every year (Hate Your Friends and Creator were released in 1987 and 1988, respectively) are clearly in evidence on Lick. While the newest material (“Mallo Cup,” “A Circle of One,” “7 Powers,” “Anyway”) hints at promising new song writing directions for both Deily and Dando, there’s an almost valedictory sense of the past in the inclusion of versions of “Glad I Don’t Know” and “I Am a Rabbit” (from the band’s first-ever, self-released EP), and the now-classic track “Ever,” a previously-unreleased tune from the original 1986 Hate Your Friends sessions.

    At moments, Lick almost sounds like an elegy for itself—or an elegy for a band that has reached the end of the beginning. Also audible in the heterogeneous songs are the tensions of line-up changes—and inchoate, growing frustrations. After various band break-ups or threatened break ups (such as Dando’s brief departure to play bass for Boston band the Blake Babies), the Lemonheads convened to record new material for Lick now featured Dando on drums, Peretz on bass, Deily on guitar (and “piano,” according to the album credits) along with the addition of long-time band friend—and former member of TAANG! labelmates Bullet LaVolta—Corey Loog Brennan on lead guitar. And yet the frenzied, quasi-ironic hammer-ons of Corey’s axe provide some of Lick’s most entertaining moments—like the unaccountably-translated-into-Italian paen to 70s detective Ironside, “Cazzo Di Ferro.” (The song’s music was originally composed by Brennan for his Italian punk band, Superfetazione.) After the album’s completion, Deily opted out of the subsequent European tour, before leaving the band permanently. Jesse Peretz stayed on to record their Atlantic records debut Lovey, but left after the supporting tour in '91. Since then, Dando has been the Lemonheads' sole permanent member.

    BONUS TRACKS: Features bonus tracks including several never-before-released live tracks from a 1987 radio session, live tracks and an interview from the 1989 European tour, and the 4 tracks of the Lemonheads self-released debut EP, Laughing all the way to the cleaners.

    Creator is the second album by legendary Boston band The Lemonheads. Still featuring the full original line-up of Evan Dando, Ben Deily, and Jesse Peretz, the album also includes John P. Strohm (of the Blake Babies, Antenna, and Velo-Deluxe) on drums. From the oddly surreal album cover image (a snapshot of friend and high school classmate Ivan Kreilkamp, originator of the name “Lemonheads,” clutching a box of Cheerios) to the themes of death, dreams, obsession, and mayhem that haunt the material, Creator is weird, ambitious, and markedly moodier than its predecessor—without having lost the band’s irreverent sense of humour. Also evident in this sophomore effort is a newfound attention to idiosyncratic detail—from the precisely timed inter-song pauses and sound clips, to the carefully-crafted song order of the album’s original 13 tracks.

    Creator finds Ben Deily once again slipping in quotations from Emily Dickinson (“Burying Ground”) and references to Matthew Arnold (“Come to the Window”), while Dando breaks new ground in song writing complexity (the rich sonic tapestry of “Out”) as well as arrangement, ushering in the band’s first-ever acoustic recording (his cover of Charles Manson’s “Your Home Is Where You’re Happy”). At the same time, the band still fires off blistering punk rock (“Clang Bang Clang,” “Die Right Now,” “Take Her Down”) and finds time to lovingly trash Kiss’ 1977 classic “Plaster Caster.” Recorded in one coherent series of sessions—unlike its predecessor, Hate Your Friends, and its follow-up Lick—Creator is, for all its musical schizophrenia, arguably the most coherent of the Lemonheads’ TAANG-era recordings.

    BONUS TRACKS: This Fire Records re-issue features bonus tracks including never-before-released live tracks from a 1988 radio session (featuring a never-before-heard configuration of the band, including guitarist Ben Deily on bass and vocals); also includes an original song (“Cease to Exist”) never released on any album, and a performance by Juliana Hatfield.

    Hate Your Friends is the 1987 debut album by the Lemonheads, one of only three full-length releases to feature the original band line- up of Evan Dando, Ben Deily, and Jesse Peretz. The album showcases a hardcore-punk-to-pop-rock sound and sensibility as playfully fierce as it is surprising…especially to listeners who know the band only from their better-known major label recordings of the 1990s.

    The roots of Hate Your Friends begin with the genesis of the band itself: when high school friends Ben Deily and Evan Dando—inspired by a shared love of the 70’s absurdist comedy troupe the Firesign Theatre, literature, and punk rock—began playing their own songs together in 1985. Dando and Deily first started out as a two-piece ensemble: swapping back and forth between a shared Guild guitar (and a crappy amp) and vocal mic, and pounding a drum kit “borrowed” from the high school jazz band. With the addition of classmate and friend Jesse Peretz on bass, the two-man outfit quickly became a power trio. With a handful of original songs, a passionate love for their favourite bands—from Husker-Du, the Replacements, Black Flag and the Germs, to the Saints, Wire and ‘77 UK punk—and a tiny recording budget, the Lemonheads set about their first studio session within days of their high school graduation in June of 1986.

    During that summer, a significant amount of what would become the band’s debut album was recorded in Brookline, Massachusetts, with Deily and Dando sharing vocal, guitar and drumming duties. Above and beyond bass, Jesse proved pivotal as the band’s manager, booker and tireless promoter—helping arrange for the Lemonheads self-released debut EP, Laughing all the way to the cleaners, later that summer, and shortly thereafter helping establish the relationship with Curtis Casella of TAANG! records that paved the way to full-length LP Hate Your Friends. Finally, with the addition of full-time (and fairly short-lived) drummer Doug Trachten, the last songs of Hate Your Friends were recorded in the winter of 1986-7.

    BONUS TRACKS: This Fire Records re-issue features bonus tracks including 12 never-before-released live tracks from a 1987 radio session, rare tracks from the early compilation Crawling From Within, and additional tracks not included on the original release of Hate Your Friends (“Buried Alive” and “Gotta Stop”).


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