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Felt

Felt was the project of Britain's enigmatic Lawrence Hayward, a singer/songwriter who transformed his long-standing obsession with the music of Tom Verlaine and Television into an impressive catalog of minimalist pop gems and, ultimately, cult stardom. The first Felt single, "Index," was produced by Hayward alone in his bedroom on a portable cassette player; released in 1979, its primitive, impressionistic sound stood in stark contrast to the sleek solemnity of the new wave (as did Hayward's much-discussed "new puritan" stance, a rejection of alcohol, smoking and drugs), and as a result the record became the subject of lavish critical praise, leading to a contract with the Cherry Red label.

Hayward then set about assembling a band, although Felt was clearly his project and his alone; in fact, his control was so absolute that according to legend, original drummer Tony Race was fired primarily because he had curly hair. After a series of roster shuffles, a steady group including guitarist Maurice Deebank and drummer Gary Ainge began to take shape in time to record 1981's Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty EP. The addition of the classically-trained Deebank allowed Hayward to realize a level of guitar interplay similar to the twin attack of Television's Verlaine and Richard Lloyd; Hayward's understated vocals brought comparison to another downtown New York icon, however -- Lou Reed.

After one more EP, 1984's The Splendour of Fear, Felt issued its long-awaited full-length LP The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories, in 1984. The group's ranks swelled to include keyboardist Martin Duffy prior to recording 1985's Ignite the Seven Cannons with producer Robin Guthrie, whose fellow Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser guested on the single "Primitive Painters," a major British indie chart hit. Despite their success, internal friction plagued the group -- Hayward and Ainge were once forced to mount an infamously disastrous two-man improvisational festival performance after Deebank and Duffy abruptly walked out -- and finally Deebank left for good prior to the release of 1986's Ballad of the Band EP, Felt's first effort for the Creation label.

In the wake of the guitarist's exit, the group's next album, 1986's Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads, became a brief instrumental outing, but its follow-up, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, was acclaimed as Felt's masterpiece. Mayo Thompson produced 1987's Poem of the River EP, while Guthrie returned to man the spartan mini-album The Final Resting of the Ark. Two dramatically different LPs, The Pictorial Jackson Review and Train Above the City -- the latter of which did not even include Hayward -- followed in 1988, and upon issuing 1989's Me and a Monkey on the Moon, Felt announced its break-up. Hayward soon resurfaced in the 1970s revivalist project Denim. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Stains On A Decade

1. Something Sends Me To Sleep

2. Trails Of Colour Dissolve

3. Penelope Tree

4. Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow

5. Fortune

6. Dismantled King Is Off The Throne

7. Primitive Painters

8. Ballad Of The Band

9. I Didn't Mean To Hurt You

10. I Will Die With My Head In Flames

11. Sandman's On The Rise Again

12. The Final Resting Of The Ark

13. There's No Such Thing As Victory

14. Be Still

15. Space Blues

x

Track List: Absolute Classic Masterpieces

1. Primitive Painters

2. The Day The Rain Came Down

3. My Darkest Light Will Shine

4. Textile Ranch

5. Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow

6. Crystal Ball

7. Dismantled King Is Off The Throne

8. Fortune

9. Dance Of Deliverance

10. The Stagnant Pool

11. Red Indians

12. The World Is Soft As Lace

13. Penelope Tree

14. Trails Of Colour Dissolve

15. Evergreen Dazed

16. Templeroy

17. Something Sends Me To Sleep

18. Index

x

Track List: Bubblegum Perfume

1. I Will Die With My Head In Flames

2. Stained Glass Windows In The Sky

3. I Didn't Mean To Hurt You

4. Space Blues

5. Autumn

6. Be Still

7. There's No Such Thing As Victory

8. Magellan

9. The Final Resting Of The Ark

10. Sandman's On The Rise Again

11. Don't Die On My Doorstep

12. Tuesday's Secret

13. Book Of Swords

14. Female Star

15. Fire Circle

16. The Darkest Ending

17. Bitter End

18. Rain Of Crystal Spires

19. Voyage To Illumination

20. Ballad Of The Band

x

Track List: The Pictorial Jackson Review

1. Apple Boutique

2. Ivory Past

3. Until The Fools Get Wise

4. Bitter End

5. How Spook Got Her Man

6. Christopher Street

7. Under A Pale Light

8. Don't Die On My Doorstep

10. The Darkest Ending

x

Track List: Forever Breathes The Lonely Word

1. Rain Of Crystal Spires

2. Down But Not Yet Out

3. September Lady

4. Grey Streets

5. All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead

6. Gather Up Your Wings And Fly

7. A Wave Crashed On Rocks

8. Hours Of Darkness Have Changed My Mind

x

Track List: The Splendour Of Fear

1. Red Indians

2. The World Is As Soft As Lace

3. The Optimist And The Poet

4. Mexican Bandits

5. The Stagnant Pool

6. A Preacher In New England

x

Track List: The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories / Ignite The Seven Cannons

1. Roman Litter

2. Sempiternal Darkness

3. Spanish House

4. Imprint

5. Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow

6. Vasco De Gama

7. Dismantled King Is Off The Throne

8. Crystal Ball

9. Whirlpool Vision Of Shame

10. My Darkest Light Will Shine

11. The Day The Rain Came Down

12. Scarlet Servants

13. I Don't Know Which Way To Turn

14. Primitive Painters

15. Textile Ranch

16. Black Ship In The Harbour

17. Elegance Of An Only Dream

18. Serpent Shade

19. Caspian See

20. Southern State Tapestry

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Magnificent band. Somehow improving on the sound television achieved on songs like elevation but never pursued..
Report as inappropriate
Felt is a phenomenal band.
One of my all time favorite bands.
Report as inappropriate
donjp7
Felt was a cool band .
Report as inappropriate
rwitman21
Lou Reed called; he wants his sound back.
Report as inappropriate
Felt sounds a lot like Ultra Vivid Scene to me.
Report as inappropriate
I remember getting the two song EP Ballad of the Band back in the 80's sounds great on Vinyl through tubes.
Report as inappropriate
Love Felt, I use to listen to them way back. Has anyone heard TheThe on the M*M commercials? That's crazy.
Tony

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