Today Captured Tracks releases Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983 – 1987, the first volume of Captured Tracks‘ new venture into compilations – Excavations. Spread across two LPs, Strum & Thrum includes an 80+ page booklet with an extensive oral history of the ‘80s indie scene, an introduction by Captured Tracks label head Mike Sniper, and tons of archival images and ephemera. The release caught the attention from major music outlets including Pitchfork, Stereogum, BrookynVegan, Paste and more and has already been praised by The Vinyl District saying the comp is “an eye-opener and ear-pleaser (A Rating).” Watch the compilation teaser featuring The Reverbs ‘Trusted Woods’ and archival footage of many of the bands included on the LPs HERE.
Due to the overwhelming excitement and praise for this compilation, all limited editions of orange vinyl + black vinyl have sold out. Captured Tracks will have more LPs coming in the new year, but in the meantime, check your local record store for copies of the black vinyl. You can also listen to the entire compilation digitally HERE.
Mike Sniper on Strum & Thrum: “Strum & Thrum seems like the right fit for the first reissue compilation for Captured Tracks. I’m happy that the first compilation I’ve ever produced features overlooked records that are still affordable – anyone who enjoys this comp can dive deeper into this scene without having to take out a loan. People nowadays sometimes say that guitar music is dead. Strum & Thrum is certainly against that notion. Listening to it and reading the oral history sheds a light on a largely forgotten scene full of great bands with some really great songs. I’m glad to be able to help share this story and get the bands some of the recognition they’ve deserved all along.
Inspired by Pebbles, Killed By Death, Soul Jazz and Numero Group compilations, Excavations is a series dedicated to compiling forgotten music from the 1970s – 1990s that has a connection to Captured Tracks’ sound and aesthetic. Much like the Cleaners from Venus, the Wake, and Saäda Bonaire reissues we’ve put out, Excavations releases will bridge the past to our current roster and showcase the kinds of sounds that inspire us. It makes sense that the first volume of Excavations is Strum & Thrum. As an American label, we’ve often wondered why British, Aussie, and Kiwi indie rock from the ‘80s has had the most influence on modern acts and the collector’s market. Granted, the music released on Creation, Sarah, Cherry Red, Postcard, Flying Nun, et al. during that era was fantastic, but a parallel to this sound existed in the US and Canada as well. Outside of bands like R.E.M., the Rain Parade, the Dream Syndicate, and a few others, most of these bands received little attention from national or international press outlets and markets – unless they opted for a “big ‘80s” sound and signed to a major. The acts on this compilation are the antithesis of that, with a true DiY spirit that lead many of these bands to self – record and self – release within tiny local scenes in small cities and college towns across America.
Though hardcore dominated the American underground at the time, the indie scene was no less vital and operated utilizing many of the distribution channels hardcore set up. The two genres may have sounded nothing alike, but the DiY ethos and dedication to community was the same… But this isn’t the story we’re used to hearing. While noted underground archivist and compilation producer Johan Kugelberg has called the ‘80s the “Dark Ages” of indie rock, Strum & Thrum aims to shed light on this forgotten era of jangly, melodic rock music that emerged from the ashes of post punk and helped kick start the indie rock boom of the early ‘90s that continues to this day. Indeed, many artists featured on Strum & Thrum went on to be part of this boom – Archer Prewitt from the Sea & Cake, Jon Ginoli from Pansy Division, Ric Menck from Velvet Crush, Brent Rademaker from Beachwood Sparks, Barbara Manning, and more went on to be in well known bands in the ‘90s.”