The Connells, Boylan Heights (1987)

My mid-80s college radio days were all about the jangle.  I had a hankering for jangle!  All those great post-R.E.M. bands, from America's south and elsewhere, who eschewed the mighty power chord and relished the trebly Rickenbacker guitar sound.

And of all those bands (i.e. Miracle Legion, Guadalcanal Diary, the Reivers, Let's Active, Winter Hours, Love Tractor, etc.), the Connells have always been one of the most enduring for me. And sure, I was a little biased; the band used to play some shows at our club, and they were super nice guys on top of being a really great band.  But they also built a surprisingly great recorded legacy.

While most of their albums are chock full of terrific songs (1993's Ring is another real winner), 1987's Boylan Heights remains at the top of my list after all these years.  Pretty much every song here is perfect, with a catchy chorus that will stick in your head for hours.  The band has a great way with a melodic hook and a sweet vocal turn. In some ways they sound more like the Smiths than like a southern band, albeit without Morrissey's overwrought theatrics.  They're one of the rare non-mainstream bands in my collection I can recommend to pretty much anyone, of any taste, and get an acknowledgment that, hey, these guys are pretty good.   

Here's "Scotty's Lament":

And "Over There":

And, finally, a live take on "Try":

Buy it on Amazon.  (It's apparently out of print and a little pricey; you'd be well-served by just going for the greatest hits album for starters.)