When The Dream Syndicate emerged in the early ’80s, front man Steve Wynn declared, “We’re playing music we want to hear because nobody else is doing it.” He added, “I’ll compromise on what I eat or where I sleep, but I won’t compromise on what music I play.” Both were true, and although their template of Velvet Underground meets Crazy Horse may seem commonplace today (and let’s not forget, the Syndicate spawned many imitators), their raw twin guitar, bass and drums approach was not common during an era when slick, polished MTV bands ruled.
Thirty years later The Dream Syndicate have announced their third album for ANTI-, The Universe Inside, which will be released on April 10. The cryptic video for new single “The Longing” explores yearning, memories and the passage of time…“
A friend of mine once said, ‘You ought to write a song about longing,’” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained of the song’s titling. “This was a few years back but it stuck with me and when I was listening to minutes 20 through 28 of the improvisation that became The Universe Inside I knew that the suggestion had finally found its proper home. This section of music — that followed in real time the part that became “The Regulator” — felt so mournful and lost and adrift and confused, much like longing itself. You think you know where it’s at? The longing is stronger than that. Our resident visual interpreter David Dalglish picked up on that feeling for a video that connected hauntingly to that feeling of distance and memory. And now? Suddenly it all feels very much of the moment. A chasm, sleepless for day and days, rootless, unsettled and alone. All that’s left is the longing.”
ALL MUSIC GUIDE: Dream Syndicate are at the foundation (alongside the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, and R.E.M.) of contemporary alternative music simply because at the time when most bands were experimenting with new technology, the Syndicate deigned to bring back the guitar. Fronted by Steve Wynn (b. Feb. 21, 1960) and including Karl Precoda (guitar), Dennis Duck (drums), and Kendra Smith (bass), the band formed in Los Angeles after Smith and Wynn had relocated there from Davis, CA. They debuted with a self-titled, unbelievably Velvet Underground-like EP on Wynn‘s own Down There label. It was shortly off to Ruby/Slash for Days of Wine and Roses, the most lauded record on the college charts that year. The record has been cited as influential from artists as diverse as Kurt Cobain to the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson. Live, they had developed into an assaultive guitar band prone to jamming, which helped earn them the tag as leaders of L.A.’s paisley underground movement. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: “Regulator” Video
PREVIOUSLY: Q&A W/ Steve Wynn Of The Dream Syndicate