SMART ALEX “CHITTER CHAT / TONIGHT” 7″ (ST. PAUL, MN- LICKETY SPLIT, 1978)
This record is further proof that something was in the water (or the
big snowbanks) in late 70’s and early 80’s Minnesota, ‘cuz that area
churned out some awesome and memorable stuff that has definitely stood
the test of time 30+ years later- go Midwest! And go ahead with those
plaid, polyester Caddyshack-ish golf pants with white shore on the cover
of your single!
It has been far too long between postings but the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s were extremely busy both on the home front and work front. Being busy on the home front was fine since my kids had a blast at Christmas so all that hard work to bring it all together was totally worth it.
New Year, and I determined to get more postings up here in a shorter amount of time! I have a long queue of postings so I am not hurting for ideas of stuff to post- that’s not the problem! The issue is that I’m a research nut so that’s where the disconnect/log jam happens with postings since I want to make each post a novel-length dissection of each record. So fuck all that sometimes ‘cuz it slows shit down! Plus, who reads my long postings anyways?! Most people probably want to get to the point and hear the music without all of my chitter chat.
Speaking of chitter chat, I have been addicted to the Smart Alex’s amazing song “Chitter Chat” since blog commenter Nesho hooked me up with rips of it last Summer (thanks again!). The guitar hooks in it are totally addictive and are so perfect. The band fucking nailed it on this song, and I can listen to this tune over and over and not tire of it. I guess it kinda sorta qualifies as a power pop song but that’s more than just that going on here. A review on Collector Scum said: “Great stuff that blurs power pop and art pop and poppy punk”. However you want to categorize it, it’s great and it’s very sad to me that it is still so obscure instead of being a household classic that everyone knows. Some other more well-known songs are much less deserving, me thinks. Since I gravitate towards raw, frothing, over-the-top stuff I am usually not much into stuff in the poppy realm (maybe I am mellowing out in middle age?) so the song ALMOST loses me during the “Oooooo” parts in the chorus BUT the hooky guitar kicks in afterwards and draws me back in. Great lyrics with a leisurely theme that you can singalong to as well. The B-side is more straight ahead pop and I am not that much into it but it is not unlistenable or anything. If you’re a powerpop fan you’ll probably dig it.
I have learned a lot about the history of the band, which apparently existed between 1977 and 1981, and the backstory of the record (done in one take!) thanks to the great posting I found from last April on the Go Johnny Go site. Read the whole thing, and dig the streams of unreleased demos and photos of rare flyers and photos that they have posted as well!
P.S. However obscure this disc is to most poeple, please don’t think that it goes for an obscure price. A search of Popsike shows that copies have gone for hundreds, including one copy in July 2007 for $763 (!). Ouch!