Review: Pylon’s Final ‘Live’ Set Before Their Hiatus Was Ahead of Its Time
Every scene has a spirit. In New York and Los Angeles, it’s all about competition, turf wars fought with guitar riffs and unique aesthetics, while San Francisco runs on free love and open-mindedness. In Athens, Georgia — the laid-back, Southern college town that may have midwifed alternative rock as we know it — community and respect are everything, especially in a town full of talented musicians. Nobody’s left behind, especially the underdogs — and what’s why when, in 1986, Rolling Stone declared Athens’ own R.E.M. “The Greatest Band in America,” drummer Bill Berry shrugged off the honor. The true American heroes, he insisted, were Pylon: four visual art students-cum-amateur musicians from of the University of Georgia who wrote the dance-punk handbook that would go on to be studied by everyone, including Savages, Shopping, !!!, and LCD Soundsystem (whose leader, James Murphy, reissued Pylon’s first two albums on his DFA label not too long ago).
While they never achieved even a crumb of the commercial success that R.E.M. or fellow Athens art-weirdos the B-52s tasted, Pylon — made up of vocalist Vanessa Briscoe-Hay, drummer Curtis Crowe, bassist Michael Lachowski, and the late guitarist Randall Bewley, whose passing in 2009 ended the band for good — snagged a deal with DB Records in nearby Atlanta, released two LPs, and were beckoned onto the road with U2. And then they hit a wall. via Spin