By Megan Routledge.
Rain Parade were one of the key US guitar-based acts in the fabled LA Paisley Underground scene in the early 1980s and a huge influence on the UK indie scene that emerged later that decade. Having recently issued a well received new album entitled ‘Last Rays Of A Dying Sun’ (their first in 38 years and only their third full-length studio recording), and with their much admired back catalogue soon to be reactivated, they will tour the UK and mainland European in June 2024 on what will be their first visit to this side of the pond since 1985. The trip culminates in an appearance at the Azkena Festival (near Bilbao), their first ever show in Spain.
06.06.24 OSLO (NO) John Dee Club
07.06.24 STOCKHOLM (SE) Kafé Himlavalvet
08.06.24 MALMO (SE) Medley
09.06.24 COPENHAGEN (DK) Loppen
11.06.24 HAMBURG (DE) Nochtspeicher
12.06.24 AMSTERDAM (NL) Paradiso Zonnehuis
13.06.24 ANTWERP (BE) Djingel Djangel
14.06.24 BRISTOL Strange Brew
15.06.24 LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
16.06.24 MANCHESTER Night & Day
18.06.24 NOTTINGHAM Metronome
19.06.24 LONDON 229
21.06.24 VITORIA-GASTEIZ (ES) Azkena Festival
Founded in 1981, Rain Parade quickly gained attention as a leading light of the Paisley Underground scene in Los Angeles. Their signature sound has always combined hypnotic, melodic songwriting and ‘60s psych-inspired instrumentation (chiming guitars, eastern-inflected motifs, multi-part vocal harmonies) with ‘70s punk influences and a darker lyrical approach fully informed by late 20th (and early 21st) century themes.
Their debut album, ‘Emergency Third Rail Power Trip’ (1983), featured the songwriting, vocal and instrumental talents of founding members Matt Piucci, Steven Roback and David Roback in equal measure and is internationally recognised as a masterpiece. Its follow-up, the ‘Explosions In The Glass Palace’ EP (1984), was recorded after David Roback’s departure (to join Rainy Day prior to forming Opal and Mazzy Star) and received similar high praise. Sid Griffin of contemporaries The Long Ryders states that “‘Explosions In The Glass Palace’ is and will forever be the BEST recording from a Paisley Underground band, be it us, The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles, The Three O’Clock or whoever.”RAIN PARADE | This Can’t Be Today video (from Emergency Third Rail Power Trip 1983) + No Easy Way Down recorded live in Japan (from Beyond The Sunset 1985)Both records were a direct influence on subsequent UK outfits such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride, The Stone Roses, Teenage Fanclub, The Charlatans and Creation Records boss Alan McGee, while the mid-‘80s had seen the band tour the UK and Europe extensively and make multiple TV appearances on the BBC’s Whistle Test.
Andy Bell of Ride recalls that “Rain Parade was the one that changed me like an explosion in my mind. I saw them perform ‘No Easy Way Down’ on TV and it was like, ‘Here is something I can fully get behind.’ It’s just incredible, and I have to say would have been pretty influential on the early Ride sound for sure.”Guitarist John Thoman joined Piucci and Steven Roback in 1984 to record the album ‘Crashing Dream’ and Japanese live set ‘Beyond The Sunset’ (both released on Island in 1985) before Rain Parade broke up the following year. Their reputation and diehard following has continued to grow ever since and their songs have been covered by The Bluetones, Buffalo Tom, Bangles and a host of others not beginning with ‘B’. They eventually reunited for a handful of one-off shows in their home territory and recorded three new songs for the ‘3x4’ compilation (Yep Roc, 2018) along with their friends The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate and The Three O’Clock.
This has led to ‘Last Rays Of A Dying Sun’ (2023), which sounds like both a lost classic and the groundbreaking work of an unknown new artist emerging from their secret lair with a record ready to change the world. Wrapping sweet nuggets of pop confection in swirling clouds of interstellar psychedelia, it is a record at once eminently engaging and delightfully ornate. Everything old is new again, and it’s easy to see the line that runs from Jangle Pop to the Summer of Love, through to the Paisley Underground of which Rain Parade was a pivotal component, on to the late-’90s Elephant 6 Collective and the neo-psych indie rock of the present day.
'Last Rays Of A Dying Sun' features Piucci, Roback and Thoman alongside guitarist Derek See (The Gentle Cycle, Dean & Britta [Galaxie 500], Chocolate Watchband), drummer Stephan Junca (The Hellenes, Billy Talbot, Boatclub), with guest vocals by Debbi and Vicki Peterson (both of The Bangles).
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