Category: American Music Club

American Music Club – San Francisco

ARTIST: American Music Club            Amc_sanfrancisco

TITLE: San Francisco

YEAR RELEASED: 1994

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Can You Help Me, Wish the World Away, Hello Amsterdam

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No, and that’s a shame

LINEUP: Mark Eitzel, Vudi, Tim Mooney, Dan Pearson, Bruce Kaphan

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Moody and lachrymose band’s last album before a hiatus is their most accessible without sacrificing quality.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Mark Eitzel and American Music Club added some production elements and brightened their sound a bit for this album, and despite some carping, the new elements and clarity enhances the songs.

It’s also the same ol’ AMC, though, with a beautiful sadness that’s sometimes almost too much to handle at once. “It’s Your Birthday”, “Wish the World Away”, and “Can You Help Me” should have had some radio play, but the sophistication of the music ran contra to the post-grunge elements dominating the airwaves.

They went out on a good note, as they went on hiatus for nine or so years, and they were unfairly ignored by most.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They contributed “All Your Jeans Were Too Tight” for the No Alternative project.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A: In the wrong mood, this could be too much, but overall the music and tone are excellent, especially if you know AMC isn’t the happiest bunch of souls.

American Music Club – Mercury

ARTIST: American Music Club               american_music_club_-_mercury

TITLE:  Mercury

YEAR RELEASED: 1993

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Keep Me Around, Johnny Mathis’ Feet

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’ve Been a Mess

LINEUP: Mark Eitzel, Vudi, Danny Pearson, Bruce Kaphan, Tim Mooney

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Dense, sadly beautiful, eclectic record from the masters of down and out mood music.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: In the early 90’s, thanks to the breakthrough of Nirvana, etc., alternative bands were signed by major labels and released albums that even seemed more daring than their independent label works. This was the case here.

The album is a bit more varied than previous AMC releases, if only that the sadness at the core is balanced at times with almost upbeat sounding tunes (“Keep Me Around” – the melody and hooks mask some dark stuff) and some arrangements that move toward the avant-garde a bit (“Challenger”). But songs like “If I Had a Hammer” and “I’ve Been a Mess” are the core of the record and there’s nothing happy about songs like this, really.

It’s another record for drinking whiskey by yourself in a dark room after a bad day. That’s a complement.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They signed with Reprise and Virgin after five independent albums.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A: Beauty and sadness.

American Music Club – Everclear

ARTIST: American Music Club MI0001711514
TITLE: Everclear
YEAR RELEASED: 1991
CHART ACTION: No
SINGLES: Why Won’t You Stay, Rise
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Sick of Food
LINEUP: Mark Eitzel, Vudi, Dan Pearson, Mike Simms, Bruce Kaplan
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Lachrymose, moody band makes a great record for those who are bummed out to commiserate.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Can you feel good about being depressed? Maybe. This record from American Music Club is a great record for those who want others to share in their despondency. Now, some of the tunes sound like they have a lift and a happy sound, but nah, the mood is one of being sad and lonesome.

The production is perfect, framing Eitzel’s songs just so, and the band’s performances are also very sympathetic. Maybe it’s TOO real, AMC never quite made it. It touches a lot of nerves that may be too real for us. It’s a record of a full ashtray and an empty bottle.

So, this is all to say that this is great. Most everything works. It’s a shame they didn’t get the recognition they deserved.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Eitzel was named songwriter of the year by Rolling Stone in 1991 for this album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. The time has come for a complete re-release and expansion of AMC’s back catalog.

GRADE: A: Elton John said sad songs say so much – but Eitzel’s sad songs stay with you.