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Pylon
Gravity b/w Weather Radio
Chunklet Industries

pylon
Simple Definition of pylon
: a tall tower or similar structure
: a tall, metal structure that is part of a series of structures supporting a long stretch of electrical wire
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Pylon is also a legendary underground band from Athens, Georgia who took their name from a 1935 William Faulkner novel. The band was formed in 1978/1979 a few years after B-52's, who were supportive fans and Pylon. R.E.M., who formed a year later, were also fans, adding Pylon's "Crazy" to their live set (later the song appeared on R.E.M.'s compilation album Dead Letter Office, 1987). R.E.M.'s Bill Berry once stated 'We're not the best rock 'n' roll band in America. Pylon was the best.' (after Rolling Stone magazine named R.E.M. "America's Best Band" in November 1987).

Pylon were never as successful but no less important as a punky spirited new wave band than said bands. The single "Gravity" b/w "Weather Radio" is the first, new Pylon release in over 25 years! Both tracks were recorded live on December 1st, 1983, at the Mad Hatter, Athens, GA. This was their final show before they broke up, at the height of their career/powers. Pylon were Randall Bewley on guitar, Michael Lachowski on bass, Vanessa Briscoe (later to become Briscoe Hay) on vocals and Curtis Crowe on drums. In their time they put out the albums Gyrate (DB Records, 1980) and Chomp (DB Records, 1983), and after a six-year break they put out their third and final album, Chain (Sky Records) in 1990. The band folded again, but re-emerged again in mid-2000 throwing sporadic gigs for a few years, until guitarist Randall Bewley died on 25 February, 2009.

Both tracks are taken from their debut album, Gyrate. The energetic "Gravity" (which might have inspired R.E.M.'s "Feeling Gravity's Pull") is a prime example of the power of Pylon's stompy, raw music, with Vanessa's sneering vocals over a steady beat and a snappy, rough guitar. "Weather Report", on the other hand, is a dry and rhythmically spastic short instrumental - a new wave statement of its time (which was a time when Love Tractor, Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, Love Tractor, R.E.M., Talking Heads, and others where the hot news of indie rock. As the press sheet states: 'The sounds of Pylon are nothing new to hard-core fans, but this propulsive and powerful recording will be sure to keep you dancing and waiting in blissful anticipation for their double LP Live which will be due out on Randy Bewley's birthday in late July, 2016.' Hail Pylon.

DFA Records re-released Gyrate and Chomp with extra tracks as Gyrate Plus (2007) and Chomp More (2009). Go get them both! As a curiosity (and quite an ironic fact) their 1979 song "Cool" is being used in a 2016 TV commercial for Lexus cars and that's probably the most exposure Pylon ever received in their 37-year history.

PS! The live recording is mixed by Derek Almstead, who is closely tied to the Elephant 6 Collective (he has been playing/performing with acts like Of Montreal, The Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, Summer Hymns, Great Lakes, The Sunshine Fix, Marshmallow Coast, Major Organ and the Adding Machine, Circulatory System, The Instruments, and several others).

Copyright © 2016 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Pylon article/review: Live.

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