The Windbreakers: Time Machine (1982-2002)

One of the great Southern jangly-guitar bands, the Mississippi-based Windbreakers mined similar territory as 80s college radio peers like R.E.M., Love Tractor, Guadalcanal Diary, and the Connells, while infusing it with casual, chiming power pop akin to Marshall Crenshaw. Oddly, I don't recall them having a ton of traction back in my mid-80s college radio days, but I stumbled upon them shortly thereafter and have really enjoyed their music ever since.

While I try to avoid greatest-hits collections in this space, trying to maintain the integrity of albums as an art form, the LPs released by the band during their 1982-1991 run (subtitle of this collection notwithstanding) are largely out of print, if they ever saw CD release at all, and it's a great way to get your arms around the highlights of their output. 

Kinda tough to pick favorites, as the whole album is comprised of favorites, but I've always been particularly struck by the delightful "New Red Shoes," a blend of jangle pop and Long Ryders-styled Americana; it's a hook-laden wonder. "You Never Give Up" is punchy garage-band new wave that calls to mind the Plimsouls; the gorgeous "Girl From Washington" is a sterling example of the harmonies that pervade their best songs; and there's a bang-up cover of Television's "Glory" (featuring Rain Parade). But really, if you're a fan of the genre and haven't heard the Windbreakers, pretty much every track here will have you scratching your head and wondering how that can be.

Bandleaders Tim Lee and Bobby Sutliff both went on after parting ways to release a number of solo power pop records, many of which are every bit as great as their work together (if lacking those sublime harmonies).

Here's an audio rip of "New Red Shoes":
...and "Girl From Washington":
Here's a lo-fi live clip of "New Red Shoes":
 ...and "Glory" from the same show:

Comments

  1. Guess who? Don't have this compilation, but have a couple of the out of print vinyl records you referred to. I hope that makes me cool. I was also a fan of the "similar territory" bands you mentioned (you could probably add the dbs to the list!). Once again, it's great that you're unearthing recordings that are in danger of being lost over time.

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