Love Tractor - Around the Bend [40th Anniversary Remastered Edition]

Propeller Sound

It is no act of misguided hyperbole to declare the genre-bending, art rock pioneers, Love Tractor one of the most influential bands of the past 43 years. As one of the inadvertent architects of the Athens, Georgia scene and sound, Love Tractor along with Pylon, The B-52’s, and R.E.M. were essential in staking out the jangly and disco-driven rock that would have — and still has—a huge influence on subsequent generations. Of those bands, Love Tractor always stood out as the most artistically brave and willing to fail in order to succeed.

Love Tractor was founded in 1979 by art students Armistead Wellford, Mike Richmond, and Mark Cline as a vehicle to entertain their art school pals in the then backwater college town of Athens. Love Tractor first performed at a house party in 1980 at the infamous “Pylon Park” — a rambling and decrepit Victorian house buried on the back of two acres of land and inhabited by members of Pylon, (hence the name) and Love Tractor. Rocking, drunken, drugged house parties were par for the course with Athens’ art students and fitted nicely with the conceptual art movement popular at the time. Kit Swartz (the Side Effects) and Bill Berry (R.E.M.) Shared drumming duties.

Love Tractor’s innovative debut self-titled album, released in 1981 (while the band members were still in university), was an instant classic, 100% instrumental. Alfredo Villar, of the seminal Atlanta band The Fans, was brought in to add synths, pianos, and string arrangements. it received critical acclaim from music journalists describing it as “a unique blend of rock, post-punk, and art-rock.” The album’s mix of angular guitar riffs, hypnotic rhythms, and funky bass lines, coupled with the band’s art-school sensibility, established Love Tractor as the band to watch. The album featured the classic tracks “Buy Me A Million Dollars,” “Sixty Degrees Below,” and “Fun To Be Happy.” Bill Berry left for R.E.M. and Kit Swartz came on for the first two albums. R.E.M.s Mike Mills sites Love Tractor’s debut album as “a go-to for me when I need to be reminded that there is a reason to listen to music.”

In 1983, Love Tractor released their second album, “Around the Bend,” which was accompanied by a popular MTV video for the song “Spin Your Partner.” The album showcased the band’s growth and evolution, incorporating vocals and other experimentations to enhance their sound. Again, Alfredo Villar was brought in to add synths, pianos, and string arrangements. “Around the Bend” was well-received critically and commercially— topping the college charts, and solidifying Love Tractor’s place in the alternative music landscape. At the same time Love Tractor began 10 years of dedicated touring, gone were the days of one-off shows and mini tours. (continue reading full bio on DISCO)


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