A year or two ago, a friend and coworker loaned me several CDs by the British shoegazer band Swervedriver. This was among the incidents that renewed my interest in the music from my youth, because I immediately identified similarities with the “last great, undiscovered, first-generation” Seattle band, Love Battery.
Ron Rudzitis (aka, Ron Nine) formed the band after his previous pop band, Room Nine, folded. Love Battery had several iterations, and they also underwent the cross-pollination common among the great bands from that scene: at various times, the band included Dan Peters (of Mudhoney), Bruce Fairweather (formerly of Green River and Mother Love Bone), Jason Finn (later to join The Presidents of the United States of America), and Jim Tillman (formerly of the U-Men). (Amazingly, Jason Everman never played with them.)
The term “psychedelic” often appears in descriptions of their music—their Wikipedia entry uses that term, for example. I, too, classified their music using this term when first heard them, but the band actually shares little in common with music made during that 60s movement. Persons expecting to hear Nuggets-style jangle like the Cynics or a hard-psych band like Dungen would be in for a rude awakening. Their psychedelic influence appears to have filtered through some of the loopier British pop bands of the early 80s, such as Echo and the Bunnymen or the Teardrop Explodes. Swervedriver likely sipped a little from this same cup.
(This is not to imply that Love Battery actually sound like Echo and the Bunnymen; they don’t. What do they sound like, then? I’ve seen the term “shimmery grunge” used to describe Swervedriver, and that term works with Love Battery as well: the guitars sound grungy, yet they also shimmer.)
Their first release, Between the Eyes, was both a grunge lover’s dream and a record collector’s nightmare: SubPop originally released “Between the Eyes” as a 7” (with “Easter” as the b-side), and over the course of 2 years, it grew into a 10” EP and a full-length LP. The CD version my friend Dave loaned me to extract the mp3s contains seven songs, but the definitive version of Between the Eyes contains ten songs, three of which were culled from their subsequent record’s sessions. I culled my favorite tracks from the EP but am opting not to post the entire record, as it appears to still be available, at least via iTunes.
I recommend ignoring the lyrics. Make sure and visit Love Battery's official home page.
Love Battery--"Between the Eyes"
Love Battery--"Highway of Souls"