Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Optic Nerve - Lotta Nerve (us 1994)

The Optic Nerve - Lotta Nerve (us 1994, Get Hip GH 1015CD)

* Bobby Belfiore (guitar, bass, vocals)
* Tony Matura (guitar, vocals)
* Orin Portnoy (bass)
* Tom Ward (bass)
* Frank Manlin (drums, 12-string guitar)
* Greg Clark (drums)
* Ken Anderson (drums)

01. Ain't That a Man   2:38
02. Mayfair  (Tony Matura)  2:51
03. Happy Ever After   2:38
04. Take Me   2:24
05. Leaving Yesterday Behind (Robert Belfiore, Elan Portnoy)   2:56 06. Samy Way Too   2:35 (Tony Matura)
07. Kiss Her Goodbye   3:08
08. What's She Tryin' to Do   1:57
09. What's Been Missin'   2:36
10. Like to Get to Know Her   2:47
11. She's a Drag   2:32
12. I See the Turth (Robert Belfiore, Elan Portnoy)   4:26
13. The Girl With the Beautiful Eyes (Tony Matura)   3:00

All songs written by Robert Belfiore, except as noted:
* Bobby Belfiore (guitar, bass, vocals)
* Tony Matura (guitar, vocals)
* Orin Portnoy (bass; 1-4, 10)
* Tom Ward (bass; 12-13)
* Frank Manlin (drums, 12-string guitar; 1-4,10)
* Greg Clark (drums; 8-9, 11)
* Ken Anderson (drums; 5-6,12-13)

Produced by Dave Amels (1-11)
Produced by Al Houghton, Dave Amels (12-13)

Although born from the '80s New York garage scene, the Optic Nerve had nothing whatsoever in common with the movement other than their single-minded idealism to act as if the '80s and the synthesized music that surrounded them was not happening. Rather than using the blaring fuzztones and screaming the "put down" anthems of the garage rock revival, they took the jangling motifs of the Byrds, the Beatles, and a hint of the mid-'60s protest singers to create a sound that, if spawned in 1965, would have brought them success. In the mid-'80s however, '60s-styled folk-rock was not a huge seller -- even with fans of the neo-garage scene.
Acts like the Fuzztones, the Cynics, and the Lyres may have achieved cult underground status, releasing a number of records between them and touring across Europe, but the Optic Nerve only released two singles during their brief existence and rarely played outside of Brooklyn. Bobby Belfiore (main songwriter and singer) formed the nucleus of the band in 1985.
Over their two-year tenure, a number of musicians went in and out of their ranks -- including members of garage bands the Fuzztones and Gravedigger V. However, lead guitarist and harmony vocalist Tony Matura was a mainstay, and the combination of his and Belfiore's sweet harmonies and folk-rock jangling gave the Optic Nerve their distinct quality.
In 1993 and 1994, both Screaming Apple and Get Hip released an album, each consisting of Optic Nerve demos recorded throughout the mid- to late '80s. Every song deserved to be released at the time of recording, but in an era when garage revival and paisley pop were so popular, the Optic Nerve's country-tinged folk-rock was out of sync with both movements and caused little attention. Thankfully,
these albums have gained some belated exposure. In 1999, they re-formed for a performance at Cavestomp in New York.
 ~ Jon "Mojo" Mills, Rovi
Read more:
Formed around singer songwriter Robert Belfiore and lead guitarist Tony Matura, this New York group (not to be confused with the more recent Aussie group of the same name) explored the folk-rock side of the mid-80s garage revival, taking in the sounds of the Byrds and their jangle-rock L.A. contemporaries. This collection includes both of their singles on Cryptovision (1986's "Ain't That a Man" b/w "Mayfair" "Happy Every After" and 1987's "Leaving Yesterday Behind" b/w "Kiss Her Goodbye"), along with eight more demos that deserve to have found their way out at the time. The group's home page features additional tunes and lists a 2006 release on Cryptovision that doesn't seem to be available anywhere.
 ~ by Soapy.
The jangle of the Byrds early records lived on through New York City's the Optic Nerve in the mid-'80s. Get Hip Recordings has compiled their existing 45s with several unreleased tracks to make up Lotta Nerve, A blistering 13 songs that evoke a number of trippy psychedelic folk-rock bands that emerged from London and California during the late '60s. Listening to the crisp Rickenbacker 12-string guitars and frail harmonies it is difficult to believe this music isn't actually from 20 years earlier, but the Optic Nerve's sense of authenticity belies the fact that their chronological contemporaries were mid-'80s icons like Madonna and Culture Club.
Lotta Nerve is a refreshing follow-up to the debut of the Rolling Stones' brash swagger and a logical precursor to the Stone Roses' swirling guitar rock.
 ~ Zac Johnson.

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The Optic Nerve - Lotta Nerve (us 1994).rar (85.63 MB)

1 comment:

Gary said...

Great to see this band on here.Very underated then and now.Cool stuff indeed!!