Babylon Dance Band – When I’m Home /Remains of the Beat

Babylon Dance Band – When I’m Home // Remains of the Beat (Self Released) 1981. Excellent early new wave / punk tracks from the future underground rock mecca of Louisville, KY. The Babylon Dance Band was for a brief moment the great new wave hope of Louisville. The story goes that when most of the members of the proto-punk band No Fun moved to NYC (where they kinda morphed into the ultra-abrasive and excellent Circle X), the guitar player Tara Key, stayed behind and joined up with Dave Bradley (drums), Chip Nold (vocals), Marc Zakem (guitar) and Tim Harris (bass) to form the Dance Band. They then rapidly started shredding up stages and blowing minds across the region. A subsequent interview in The Village Voice blossomed into a full-blown cover story and next thing ya know they were the toast of the town. By the time they recorded this 7inch they were a four piece with Tara handling all of the guitar parts and Sean Mulhall had replaced Dave on drums. If you read up on the band, you may come into listening to this with the expectation that this is some crash-n-burn punkasfuck thing but in true Louisville tradition, this defies expectation. Tara keeps the guitar relatively clean and Chip sings with a desperate tunefulness. If anything this is most similar to The Embarrassment, another unassuming band from the American Mid-West. The standout track is the A-Side, which will earworm its way into your head for days if you let it. After the Babylon Dance Band broke up, Tara went on to form Antietam, a band that was a staple on the Homestead label when I was rabidly collecting records on that label. The band reunited in the mid-90s and did a pretty good album but it lacks the new-wave agitation of this classic single. Pardon the scratchiness of the rip; I picked these up somewhere over the years. I would love to have my own copy of this but it has eluded me thus far.

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4 Responses to Babylon Dance Band – When I’m Home /Remains of the Beat

  1. Ken Katkin says:

    FYI, I recently located an unsold box of the *second* Babylon Dance Band 7″45, “Someday,” which came out on Trash Flow Records in 1990. The handful of never-played 20-year-old vinyl copies are temporarily available, cheap, via Drag City at: http://www.dragcity.com/products/someday.

  2. Douglas Maxson says:

    The only unfortunate element of the “Remains” single is that the guitar is so low in the mix–when Tara Key plays guitar, you wanna frickin’ hear it in all its shrieking glory!!!

    5 bucks for the “Someday” single? Better jump on that, peoples! A posthumous recording, it is a better reflection of what the vintage band sounded like than either the later album or the first single.

    BTW, something we discovered early on–and maybe it was the weed talking–but give “Remains of the Beat” a spin at 33-1/3…sounds pretty awesome!

  3. Joe says:

    I agree with Douglas..The 7inch Ken has is great. The B-Side in particular which is an instrumental with a strong knack for dynamics points to some of the future music Antietem would be doing. Y’all should buy a copy!

  4. Douglas Maxson says:

    oh and YEA! the embos reference. out of motherfuckin’ wichita kansas…30 years later still one of my all-time favorite bands.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N9E3mv_D6c

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