Not real sure what the hold up was, not real sure what took so long to get some Archers Of Loaf up here, but the wait is over. The best indie rock band of the 1990s is finally represented on Shiny Grey Monotone, and to celebrate I picked the black sheep of their catalog, this collection of b-sides, demos, compilation tracks, and Peel Sessions. Probably not the best introduction to the band if you never hear them before, but you've probably heard them before...so get on with it.
As a tarheel state native I have a soft spot in my heart for all the bands that came out of the Chapel Hill scene in the early/mid-nineties, but Archers Of Loaf were far and away the best. They took really great pop songs and coated them in noisy punk, then topped them off with Eric Bachmann's gravelly vocals. He wrote lyrics that were funny, vulnerable, and self-deprecating, but unlike some bands of the time, they were never fey, the band always summoned up a muscular heft that set them apart from the others. Everything about this band epitomizes "college rock", you know what I mean?
When the band first started, I was living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina singing in a straight edge hardcore band (yeah, deal with that.) and we went to record our first 7" at Jerry Kee's Duck-Kee Studio in Chapel Hill. I remember getting exciting seeing all the reels piled up in his studio marked "Archers Of Loaf", "Superchunk", and "Polvo", but the other members of the band I was in didn't share my enthusiasm and wanted to concentrate more on our gang vocal choruses. It was a good time for indie rock...even if you were continually wearing a hooded sweatshirt and waiting for that Face Value show next month.
Archers Of Loaf played a few times in my home town, and then when I went off to school in Athens they played a bunch more, even once as part of a "Chapel Hill Night" at Hoyt Street, which I found an offensive piece of marketing. Hot show though. I also caught them on their final tour while I was living in San Diego and they killed. Live, they were almost a different band some nights, they had the potential to play a really loud, fast, sloppy punk set, giving the mellow songs in their catalog new life.
They broke up in 1998, one of the members joined up with Superchunk, one guy is making music as Spookie J, and Eric Bachmann started up Crooked Fingers, and also releases records as Eric Bachmann. Both of those projects are well worth your time.
By the way, I'm trying Sharebee for the first time since Mediafire doesn't want to "verify" any of my files. So, if you have any problems with the DL let me know in the comments.