Listening to Anthology Recordings’ collection of obscure 70s FM wannabe superstars Sad About The Times is a bit like tuning into a classic rock station beamed in from an alternate universe. Instead of Uncle Lou taking us for a “Walk On The Wild Side,” Randy and The Goats introduce us to the “N.Y. Survivor” or instead of the harmonies of CSNY, imagine Kevin Vicalvi’s “Lover Now Alone,” in steady rotation for the last 40 years. These are just two examples of the aural delights, and cognitive dissonance that await the listener on this double LP.
As implied by the compilations’ title there definitely is a sense of melancholy that hangs over much of the music collected here. Most likely the result of a hangover from the idealism from the 1960’s that came crashing down or maybe it was just too much wood paneling. It’s hard to say for sure. Most of what’s collected here runs that gamut from power pop to gorgeous loner folk, though there are some psychedelic rock elements that linger on tracks such as on Oliver Klaus’ “Here Comes The Sun,” and Space Opera’s “Holy River.” It’s hard to deny the acoustic beauty of Sky’s “Sing For Me,” which channels the same sort of shimmering downer acoustic vibe that dominated side 2 of Big Star’s #1 Record or Antonia Lamb’s tale of an outlaw on “Wolf.” Hoover’s “Absolute Zero,” with its minor key bleakness gives Neil Young’s ditch trilogy a run for its money.
Unfortunately, at the time there was only so much room on radio programmers’ playlists, and only so many slots at the top. The music presented on here sank mostly without a trace, and doomed the artists to obscurity. Now in our modern age, we’ve got plenty more ways to hear. So it seems fate has given these songs a second chance at being heard, which they certainly do. A lost history awaits the listener. What a bunch of beautiful losers.
Buy the album via Anthology Recordings.