Frame For the Blues: The Powerful Ease of Alex Chilton

Right as he finally began to be recognized as a proto-indie rock figurehead in the late eighties and early nineties, Alex Chilton found himself drifting toward the sounds of his youth. Right as people had begun clamoring for Big Star and the acerbic rock & roll Chilton wrote after that band’s end, he opted to crack open the Great American Songbook and channel his inner Chet Baker.

The Mendoza Line :: Post-War

“We liked bands like the Mekons or Alex Chilton, that kind of vibrated on that strange frequency where you weren’t sure if this was entertaining all of the time, or if the feeling between the band and the audience was more agreeable or adversarial. And that just doesn’t scale commercially …”

Unearthed, Vol. 5 :: Hoboken Nights

For fans of adventurous rock and roll in the 1980s, there was no better place to be than Maxwell’s. The Hoboken, NJ club (which closed its doors for good in 2013) consistently hosted the best and brightest artists of the era, often before they graduated to much larger venues. For our latest Unearthed bootleg mix, we’ve gathered together some choice audience tapes recorded at Maxwell’s between 1980 and 1990. There’s visionary jangle, guitar freakouts, breezy balladry and much more. And if this whets your appetite for more, get thee to the McKenzie Tapes site (where several of these performances were sourced), which is bringing NYC-area taper David McKenzie’s valuable vintage recordings to the digital age.