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Black Tambourine

The short-lived Black Tambourine endure among the truly seminal American indie pop bands of the 1980s, creating a dark, feedback-rich sound that predated the shoegazer movement of the decade to follow -- a period when the now-defunct group's members all went on to enjoy even greater recognition within the flourishing Amerindie scene. Formed in Washington, D.C., in 1989, Black Tambourine were comprised of vocals from Pam Berry and music by Velocity Girl's Archie Moore and Brian Nelson and Whorl's Mike Schulman. In defiance of the D.C. scene's predominantly punk aesthetic, the group drew inspiration from Phil Spector's classic Wall of Sound productions of the 1960s as well as contemporary British noisemakers like the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Shop Assistants.

Black Tambourine debuted in 1990 with "Pam's Tan," a contribution to the 7" What Kind of Heaven Do You Want?, the first release on Schulman's own Slumberland label. Another track, "We Can't Be Friends," appeared on spinART's One Last Kiss compilation before the group issued its first official single, the Pastels homage "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge," on the fledgling Audrey's Diary imprint. "By Tomorrow" followed on Slumberland, but with just nine officially released songs and four live performances under their collective belt, Black Tambourine dissolved in 1991.

From there, the peripatetic Berry shuttled through a series of bands ranging from the Shapiros to Glo-Worm to the Castaway Stones, earning perhaps her most enduring fame as the co-founder of the influential fanzine Chickfactor. Meanwhile, after recording a handful of singles for Slumberland, Moore and Nelson's aforementioned Velocity Girl signed to Sub Pop, becoming one of the more beloved indie bands of the early '90s. As for Schulman, Slumberland continues as one of the preeminent American indie labels, with a catalog that spans from Rocketship to the Aislers Set to 14 Iced Bears; in 1999, the label issued the Black Tambourine retrospective Complete Recordings.

In 2009, when Slumberland began planning for a new reissue of the group's complete output, they decided to record some tracks they had originally featured in their live set. The four songs (two originals and covers of Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat" and Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream") were included along with demos for "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge" and "For Ex-Lovers Only" on 2010's Black Tambourine collection. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Comments

the collection of ramones covers couldn't be a nicer discographic a l cherry on top
Just get on the 60s bandwagon add baroque and punk start a band golden age revival psychedelia themes and stuff too .. Your welcome
You've got to be kidding me, they were around before Lush even released their first single. They are much aurally closer to C-86 and JAMC than the shoegaze movement, anyway. You haven't the faintest idea of what you're talking about.
Indie owes more than it knows to Black Tambourine and Pam Berry!
Damn if they were doing this in 89 they were definitely ahead of their time. Asobi Seksu does sound like them.
this is a new record here i'm seein? the one with the canadian tuxedo jacket? really?
4 live shows? really?
Front to back one of my favorite albums. As much as you say they sound like this or that, Black Tambourine is distinctive. There is as much 50 girl-group in there as there is Lush or J&MC or MBV, for that matter. Yeah, they're in the shoegaze pantheon but they have a very different take on it. Modern analogue for me is more Asobi Seksu than Vivian Girls (who they're most often referenced with).
Like Kitchens of Distinction, only it's a chick that's mumbling the lyrics.
Fantastic! "By Tomorrow" reminds me A LOT of J&MC! Can't believe I'd never heard of them before!
Can you hear the beginning of trance in this?
.
Black Tambourine does sound like Lush, but since they started working at around the same time, it's not quite right to say they owe a debt there.
crching
they're alright... hadn't heard of 'em either.
i was shocked never heard of them before pretty decent songs. to bad the band didn't last long or get any airplay what an injustice.
...umm, nice, but there's this band Lush who wants its sound back.
burke.g
I can't believe I never heard them before!
Ooh, sweeeeeeeeet .
katielw
Similar to Stone Roses

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