In late 1986/early 1987, I was a cassette-only sort of guy. I hadn't made the switch to CDs yet. I was mainly buying a lot of import tapes at the Tower Records near George Washington U. in D.C. and a few other select stores -- hands up who remembers the Melody Record Shop in Dupont Circle? -- and my friend Wolfgang was still buying both import cassettes and vinyl.
We were standing in Olsson's in Georgetown looking at this record by a band called Felt. In early 1987, in the grim pre-internet days, the best you could do to find out about a band was to read a British music mag or ask some hip friends. As Wolfgang and I had better taste than anyone else either one of us knew at that time -- though that was about to change when I started working in record stores -- we had no one to ask but each other. We stood looking at this record and wondering who the hell the band was. The song titles hinted at some kind of artiness, the type of thing we'd been bonding over via David Sylvian, Cocteau Twins, or early, pre-Pixies-era 4AD releases. But what was on that Felt record was something else entirely.
Wolfgang took the plunge and bought the vinyl. If there had been an import tape I might have been the experimenter.
He called the next day:
"Dude, the lead singer sounds like Tom Verlaine and it's got an organ on it!"
I think he was mildly disappointed. The tape of Gold Mine Trash would change my mind and make me a fervent fan...especially with that rare cassette-only flip-side of instrumentals.
This is from the September 11, 1986 Andy Kershaw radio session.
And, yeah, that dude does sound like Tom Verlaine.