Wake Ooloo (Feelies spin-off): A Mix

My thoughts on the discography of the legendary Feelies (and some related projects), including my picks for their Top 10 songs, are online today at Toppermost. (This joins my prior write-ups on Brian Eno, King Crimson, and Wilco.) (Next up for me: The Jesus and Mary Chain.)

Keeping on topic, I put together a Spotify playlist for Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer's post-Feelies band, Wake Ooloo. Wake Ooloo didn't get a lot of attention at the time (I was a massive fan of the Feelies, and didn't even learn that Mercer had soldiered on until some time later), but there's some great material for Feelies fans to be found on their three albums (released rapid fire from 1994-1996, a much quicker turnaround than the Feelies ever managed).

The albums are hit-or-miss. Most of the songs continue in the harder rocking, more garage band-sounding style of the Feelies' final album, Time For A Witness, with occasional signs of the more pastoral, jangly aesthetics of the band's prior work. The rawer sound and at times less focused playing doesn't prevent a few songs per album from gelling, and several rise to the levels of Mercer's earlier work, certainly deserving more prominent attention from band fans. Mercer shares vocal duties with Feelies percussionist Dave Weckerman (who also sang lead on Shore Leave, the lone album the Feelies recorded as Yung Wu). I'm less partial to Weckerman's vocals (as much as I liked Shore Leave).

The mix here sticks to the Mercer-fronted tracks, favoring the more melodic stuff over the noisier tunes. Favorites include the rocking "Time To Go" and "From Afar," and the jangly, Feelies-reminiscent "Too Long Gone" and "Too Many Times." Plus, they do a fantastic take on the Love Tractor surf-y instrumental "Fun To Be Happy," a mainstay of the Feelies' live set that they never got around to recording in the studio.

Here's an audio rip of "Too Man Times":
And here are the Feelies performing "Fun To Be Happy" live: