Listen to this song by Queens New York garage-dwellers The Fleshtones. It’s ‘Shadow Line’ as taken from the band’s 1982 debut album Roman Gods.
In some ways, the band hearkens back to the 1965-1968 garage band era, yet also captures some of the darkness of late 70s post-punk. This made them something of a throwback, and a welcome addition to early 80s college alternative radio in the modern era as well. It can be argued of course that it is the pursuit of that 60s sound which fueled college radio at that time, when the simplicity of garage rock was something of a touchstone for post-punk groups like the Fleshtones.
Yet, with this song in particular, it is something of a curious listen in the sense that it sounds entirely timeless, even if at the same time it is tied to a specific era. There is as much Joy Division in there as there is the rough-shod R&B influence of bands like the 13th Floor Elevators.
The result is a highly potent strain of guitar-driven rock music that was able to endure the changing sounds of the 80s, through to the 90s when guitar bands had won back their favour, and onto this decade where the Fleshtones enjoyed something of an renaissance at Yep Roc records with a new release in 2003, Do You Swing?. Since then, they’ve put out a number of releases without any sign of slowing.
For more information about the Fleshtones, be sure to investigate The Fleshtones on Yep Roc.
One thought on “The Fleshtones Perform ‘Shadow Line’”
Ah, Clippernolan … another brilliant move! You are just so masterful in pulling out the great stuff from the delete bin. I owned this album in another incarnation and may still. I am thinking it might exist in one of the many boxes of vinyl LPs sitting in my mother’s basement and it may be worth going through the laborious process of bringing it back to my ultra-modern pad and converting it to digital format, just so that I can hear this brilliance again. It may well be worth the effort, but then again, maybe this brief snippet is all that is necessary. Truth is beauty and beauty is truth. That is all ye know on earth an all ye need know Thanks, as always.