Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First BYOP, now this!

Earlier this week a band I really love announced they were calling it quits. Throughout their very short tenure, Sheffield, England’s The Long Blondes released a handful of stellar singles and two full length records on indie stalwart Rough Trade.

Today, those singles have been collected on a compilation called, well, Singles.

It’s the definitive Long Blondes disc. You should buy it. It’s great and if you’ve been a fan of this band, the news of their demise will surely be met with sadness. Especially, if, like me, you never got a chance to see them live. I had tickets to their co-headlining tour with the Gossip, but then Rick Rubin made the Gossip cancel that tour. Just another reason to hate Rick Rubin, you guys!

The Long Blondes have not broken up because of creative differences or because the band members hated each other – nothing salacious at all. The Long Blondes have “called it a day” because four months ago guitarist Dorian Cox suffered a stroke and may never be able to play again.

It’s sad, for sure, but the music will continue to exist and hopefully people will continue to discover the Blondes. A lot of fans of those early 7”s were put off by their debut full length, Someone to Drive You Home because it was a bit more polished. I never subscribed to that. I love that record. I think it’s a from top to bottom classic and can’t recommend it enough. It’s mix of girl group melodies and punk rock swagger was immediately catchy for sure, but the record resonated for me to the point where I still go back to it quite often.

Their next record, Couples, was a real revelation. It sounded different. The immediacy the Blondes portrayed on Someone…, while still a factor took a backseat to more challenging material - an unexpected sonic palette that relied less on pop-punk’s sheen and more on post punk’s artsy pretentions. But in a good way. Some were put off, but for the most part fans welcomed the new direction of the band. It was a direction that suggested we may never know where the Blondes would go next.

Unfortunately, now we never will. They will have to live on in just two great records and a perfect singles collection. I’m not sure how many people fell in love with this band the same way I did, but I hope that some still may.

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