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Location: Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Friday, August 18, 2006

Don't say we're alone...

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In a way I'm a bit surprised that a band with the sound of the Raincoats would come out of England and not from Berlin or New York. Minimal and experimental, the vibe of the Raincoats would probably fit in well with some of the scenes in those two areas, while more straightforward punk seemed to be happening at the same time (the Raincoats recorded from 1978 to 1984) in the UK. In turns they can have elements that sound like the Velvet Underground (in part because of the prominent violin playing) or even the sparseness of Joy Division. Keep in mind this is all with pretty unique female vocals to go along with it. Jagged guitar lines, thick bass lines, violin stabs, and singing from a range that includes ominous half-spoken lyrics to more feminine vocals with prominent British accent all add up to a great, unique sound.

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Much like the Vaselines and the Meat Puppets, the Raincoats got a wave of renewed interest in the early Nineties when none other than Kurt Cobain expressed his admiration of the band, even going so far as to describe his meeting of Ana da Silva in the liner notes of Nirvana's album Incesticide. In fact, the Raincoats were even invited by Nirvana to open for the band until those plans were cancelled following Cobain's death. This didn't stop the band from touring again with a lineup that included Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks- in fact the Raincoats have continued to play occasionally at special events and recorded a song for the Monks tribute album Silver Monk Time, which is to be released this fall.

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If you have any interest whatsoever in post-punk, give the Raincoats a well-deserved listen...

"I don't know anything about The Raincoats except that they recorded some music that has affected me so much that whenever I hear it I'm reminded of a particular time when I was (shall we say) extremely unhappy, lonely and bored. If it weren't for the luxury of putting on that scratchy copy of The Raincoats' first record, I would have had very few moments of peace. I suppose I could have researched a bit of history about the band but I feel it's more important to delineate the way I feel and how they sound.

When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I'm a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I'm listening in on them. We're together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it's their thing. They're playing their music for themselves. It's not as sacred as wire-tapping a buddhist monk's telephone or something because if The Raincoats did catch me, they would probably just ask me if I wanted some tea. I would comply, then they would finish playing their songs and I would say thank you very much for making me feel good."

Kurt Cobain, June 1993.



The official Raincoats site

The Raincoats on Myspace

The Raincoats- And Then It's O.K.

The Raincoats- Shouting Out Loud


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