Salem 66 - 1983-1987, Your Soul is Mine, Fork it Over (1987, Homestead) MP3/Flac

It was the early '90s when I happened upon Salem 66's Frequency and Urgency album in a dollar cassette rack at Camelot Records.  Impressed by their Homestead Records pedigree (and an endearing album title) I thought, how could I go wrong?  After all, they shared the same hallowed imprint as Naked Raygun, Big Black and Squirrel Bait.  Well, when tape met tape deck, I was unmoved, due in large part to my general indifference at the time with female singers, of which Salem boasted two, Judy Grunwald and Beth Kaplan

Fast forward roughly twenty years to 2011, which is when I had the opportunity to reevaluate Salem 66 at a price I couldn't refuse - free.  Your Soul is Mine, Fork It Over is a summation of the band's first four years of operation, and it proved to be a more impressive introduction than my random tape grab of Frequency..., when at that time what I was really hankering for was the next Dinosaur Jr. or Nirvana.  For whatever the reason it took a good two decades of left-of-the-dial schooling for me to truly appreciate Grunwald and Kaplan's sweet, clangy fretboard runs and lovingly awkward vocal interplay.  Blending the Feelies subtle reverb with a more modest variation on REM's early aesthetic, Salem 66 weren't innovators, but luckily the worst I can say about these Massachusetts denizens was that their schtick tended to be too unidimensional for their own good.  Culling together eighteen songs from their first ep, a single ("Across the Sea") and a generous swath of A Ripping Spin and the aforementioned Frequency LPs, the long out of print Your Soul is Mine... is your only ticket for hearing these tracks in a digital, surface noise-free realm.  The brunt of this hardly knocks me dead, but Salem 66 deserved far more than the cursory listen I accorded them before I wised up.

01. Sleep on Flowers
02. Pony Song
03. Lemon Rind
04. Across the Sea
05. Playground
06. Ancient Eyes
07. Chinchilla
08. The Well
09. Postcard
10. Holiday
11. Bad News
12. Grunezella Daze
13. Wanderlust
14. Broken Bottles
15. People Express
16. Blue
17. Desk Clerk
18. Widow's Walk