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Black Tambourine

Black Tambourine made dark lovely indie pop back at a time (the end of the '80s) when there weren't any other bands making that kind of music and in a city (Washington, DC) where punk was the thing to do. What's remarkable about Black Tambourine isn't just that they were swimming against the tide, but also that the kind of music they were making caught on big time in the '90s, and that the songs they recorded proved so durable. Sadly there aren't many of those, just ten, all of which have been collected on Complete Recordings, which commemorates the band's brief two-year career.

What you'll hear in these gorgeous, wistful songs is an obvious affection for '60s pop, especially shimmering Phil Spectorish arrangements, coupled with a love for the The Jesus and Mary Chain and late '80s British shoegazer bands like Ride. Dense, soupy guitar and bass bounce along together, cloaked in soft, fuzzy layers of feedback and distortion. Sometimes it sounds like singer Pam Berry's dreamy, reverby vocals are on the verge of getting lost in all this warm noise, but they never do. The sound is somehow both intimate and classic; it's music for all seasons, all situations, and all times of day.