Lonesome Music and Big Rock Candy Mountain (meanwhile Big Rock’s been busy overnight and has posted some great semi-obscure Tom Waits tracks) have both inspired me by their recent American Music Club posts. So I dug deep into the archives and am going to post some songs from their early years in anticipation of the new disc and tour. Although not their debut Engine is the first time I heard AMC, it was released in 1987 on Grifter Records (distributed by Frontier Records). Now looking back it seems as though they were Emo before there was Emo. No one, besides maybe Jim Morrison of the Doors, ever sang in such an emotionally draining way. It’s almost painfull to experience AMC live with Mark lying prostate on the stage screaming into the microphone about all of his lost hopes and dreams (Mark Eitzel is the lead singer and has several solo records out). “Outside This Bar” became an anthem of sorts for this band and especially for Mark Eitzel, with a chorus of “Outside this bar is anyone alive, outside this bar how can anyone survive” resonated with many when it came out.
Outside This Bar
Art of Love
One year later they released their followup to Engine called United Kingdom. The Cd was released by Demon records. AMC’s sound became a little more polished but the cast of characters surrounding Mark Eitzel were relatively the same. The band is the other aspect of AMC that set them apart. They had a multi-instrumentalist named Vudi who added many of the accents and forboding sounds to the music. They also introduced the pedal steel to the lineup on United Kingdom and the songs sounded even more plaintive. Here’s two from United Kingdom:
Heaven Of Your Hands
It turns out besides being just plain great AMC was also prolific. In 1989 they reached their zenith for me with their forth record in as many years with California. It’s tempting to post every song on California because they are all genius. But I was able to pick three that represent the sound and the themes from this record.