Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Go-Betweens

The Australian band The Go-Betweens came up in conversation the other day, probably for the first time since college, when their comeback album The Friends of Rachel Worth was released to critical acclaim. They were always pretty obscure in this country - they received extensive airplay on college radio in the 1980's, alongside The Smiths et al, but never broke into the mainstream in any significant way. In fact, I'm only familiar with them because some of the Canadian indie stations I used to listen to back at home would occasionally play their stuff.

Motivated by that conversation and curious to get my hands on a cd of theirs, I stopped by Music Matters, an excellent hole-in-the-wall record store on 7th Avenue and 13th Street in Park Slope. If any record store in New York would stock music by an obscure foreign group that only got airplay on college radio twenty years ago, it would likely be Music Matters, tucked away as it is in a neighborhood of young professionals, indie artists and thirty-something hipsters. When I told the proprietor that I was looking for The Go-Betweens, his eyes lit up, and he said that he used to play their album 16 Lover's Lane in his store every Sunday, and customers asked about it all of the time. Then the album went out of print a couple of years ago, and he had to stop playing it in the store, because he was tired of disappointing customers by telling them that the music he was playing over his speakers wasn't available for sale. He suggested Amazon.com, which does in fact carry The Friends of Rachel Worth, for the import-tastic price of $50.99. I've never bought anything but singles off of iTunes, but their $9.90 price was just too good to pass up, so I pulled the trigger. Its really, really good - keep an eye open for their stuff the next time you're in a used record store.

Sadly, no songs off of that album are up on YouTube, but here are a couple of tracks of their earlier albums. Check it out: