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The Optic Nerve

Although born from the '80s New York garage scene, the Optic Nerve had nothing whatsoever in common with the movement other than their single-minded idealism to act as if the '80s and the synthesized music that surrounded them was not happening. Rather than using the blaring fuzz tones and screaming the "put down" anthems of the garage rock revival, they took the jangling motifs of the Byrds, the Beatles, and a hint of the mid-'60s protest singers to create a sound that, if spawned in 1965, would have brought them success. In the mid-'80s however, '60s-styled folk-rock was not a huge seller -- even with fans of the neo-garage scene. Acts like the Fuzztones, the Cynics, and the Lyres may have achieved cult underground status, releasing a number of records between them and touring across Europe, but the Optic Nerve only released two singles during their brief existence and rarely played outside of Brooklyn. Bobby Belfiore (main songwriter and singer) formed the nucleus of the band in 1985. Over their two-year tenure, a number of musicians went in and out of their ranks -- including members of garage bands the Fuzztones and Gravedigger V. However, lead guitarist and harmony vocalist Tony Matura was a mainstay, and the combination of his and Belfiore's sweet harmonies and folk-rock jangling gave the Optic Nerve their distinct quality. In 1993 and 1994, both Screaming Apple and Get Hip released an album, each consisting of Optic Nerve demos recorded throughout the mid- to late '80s. Every song deserved to be released at the time of recording, but in an era when garage revival and paisley pop were so popular, the Optic Nerve's country-tinged folk-rock was out of sync with both movements and caused little attention. Thankfully, these albums have gained some belated exposure. In 1999, they re-formed for a performance at Cavestomp in New York. ~ Jon "Mojo" Mills
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Children Of Nuggets

Disc 1

1. Vanishing Girl

2. Help You Ann

3. The Real World

4. We're Living In Violent Times

7. Strangers When We Meet

8. Wading Through A Ventilator

9. I Can't Hide

10. The Girl From Baltimore

11. It's A Good Thing

12. She's Fine

15. (My Girl) Maryanne

17. You Are My Friend

18. Mr. Unreliable

19. (I Thought) You Wanted To Know

22. Slave Girl

23. I May Hate You Sometimes

24. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape

27. I Want You Back

Disc 2

1. This Damn Nation

2. Tell Me When It's Over

3. Whenever I'm Gone

4. New Kind Of Kick

5. And She Rides

6. Motorbike Beat

8. 25 O'Clock

9. Don't Give It Up Now

10. If And When

11. Pabst Blue Ribbon

12. There She Goes

16. Everyday Things

17. I Wanna Destroy You

19. Apology

23. Flowers In The Sky

24. Metal Baby

Disc 3

1. The Unguarded Moment

2. I Can't Pretend

3. Out Of The Unknown

4. L.A. Explosion

5. I'll Cry Alone

6. Sunspots

8. Death And Angels

10. Pink Frost

12. Beauty And Sadness

16. She Goes Out With Everybody

19. God Knows It's True

21. Don't Break Down

22. The World Has Changed

23. Baby What's Wrong

25. My Name Is Tom

Disc 4

1. Gentle Tuesday

2. With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend

3. Like Wow - Wipeout!

4. Bad News Travels Fast

10. Transfiguration

12. Where The Wolf Bane Blooms

14. Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden (And It's Wintertime)

16. Weakness

19. Far Away

22. Tight Turn

23. One Way Ticket

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