Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Go-Betweens

The Go-Betweens are the songwriting tandem of Grant McLennan and Robert Forster. These two blokes from Australia make timeless, guitar-based pop that’s got a romantic beauty that most modern music seems to lack.

Forster and McLennan have been putting out records together since 1981. Like many immensely talented singer/songwriters, their discography has been criminally neglected by the masses. While so many lesser lights receive the lions share of acclaim and accolades, bands like the Go-Betweens keep putting out music that dwarfs the flotsam and jetsam of much of the modern marketplace.

I first learned about the band during the mid-1990's, while doing my best imitation of a college radio DJ. At the time, I was doing a once-a-week gig as a community person on WBOR, the Bowdoin College radio station. I heard a song by another Aussie band, Smudge, called "Don't Wanna' Be Grant McLennan". This led me to find out who the hell Grant McLennan was. This led me to his music and happily, the Go-Betweens.

Both songwriters are intelligent, literate and possess a wonderful pop sensibility. That might very well be part of their problem. If they wrote crass, commercial pabulum, I’m sure they’d have become household names.

Irene Trudel had them live on her program on WFMU. They play music from their latest release and Irene hosts a couple of great interview segments. The show is archived, so check it out when you get the chance. The live segment begins at around the 1:01:49 mark of the archived program.


Listmaker said...

For some reason, I've never really been able to get into them. Maybe I haven't heard the right stuff? But that one album - 16 Lovers Lane? didn't impress me a few years ago when I listened to it. I do love the Lee Remick song they do.

That Smudge song is fantastic! If you want, I'll send you the link to a few lyrics of the song "Don't Want to Be Lloyd McClendon" that a friend and I penned a couple of years ago at a Pirates- Mets game.

Jim said...

Musical tastes are so subjective. I still contend they were an under-appreciated band and their new album is very good.

I'd love to have the lyrics of "Don't Want to Be Lloyd McClendon"; that's too funny!

Listmaker said...

check the first game for the new chorus. not all that impressive in retrospect but still kind of funny.