Gone Digital: Fire Town, Redd Kross, Denzil, Francis Dunnery, and The Wild Swans

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Denzil PUB Cover

If it’s Tuesday, then it must be time for Gone Digital, our weekly look at five albums which may not even realize are part of Rhino’s digital catalog. As ever, the types of music we’ll be covering will be all over the place, but that’s Rhino for you: we’re all about variety!

•    Fire Town, IN THE HEART OF THE HEART COUNTRY (1987): Formed from the ashes of Spooner, this Madison, Wisconsin band is arguably best known nowadays for providing honest work to drummer Butch Vig, future producer of Nirvana’s NEVERMIND (and even more future member of Garbage). Vig or no Vig, however, this is still an album filled with catchy, jangly tunes that should please any fan of R.E.M., Guadalcanal Diary, and the like.

•    Redd Kross, THIRD EYE (1990): After spending several years working their way up from the indies to the majors, the McDonald brothers – Jeff and Steven – and guitarist Robert Hecker showed that they had the stuff to compete with the big boys, with songs like “Annie’s Gone,” “Bubblegum Factory,” “Love is Not Love,” and “1976.”  Only that first track managed to catch the ear of Alternative radio, but a minor hit is better than no hit!

•    Denzil, PUB (1994): Though they were, in fact, a band, Denzil was also a person – Denzil Thomas, thank you very much – who had been a solo singer/songwriter before teaming up with bassist Steve Ennever, guitarist Craig Boyd, and alternating drummers Andy Place and Jeremy Stacey. Denzil the band was signed to the Warner Brothers subsidiary Giant Records and released their debut album, PUB, but this wonderful album also ended up being their swan song. This is a tremendous shame, as it is absolutely wonderful, particularly if you’re a Squeeze fan.

•    Francis Dunnery, FEARLESS (1994): After spending eight years fronting the band It Bites, Dunnery headed to Los Angeles, where he released his debut solo album. This was not it, however, as that album – WELCOME TO THE WILD COUNTRY – was released on Virgin. His sophomore release, on the other hand, was released on Atlantic, and that’s this one. The opening track is perfect for spinning right now (“American Life in the Summertime”), but the whole thing is a nice showcase for Dunnery and the musical diversity he had little opportunity to display in It Bites.

•    The Wild Swans, MAGNITUDE: THE SIRE YEARS (2007): Formed in 1980 by Paul Simpson after his brief – we’re talking one single – stint in The Teardrop Explodes, The Wild Swans have actually had three incarnation over the course of their existence, but this compilation covers the second version of the band. Mind you, all of these versions still included Simpson, but we just wanted to clarify the point. Anyway, this is a nice look into a band that released two albums on Sire, neither of which sounded anything like the other, but they’re both fantastic.