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Digging Up the Paisley Underground

by Jim Allen

Digging Up the Paisley Underground

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The Paisley Underground is one of the few music movements named by one of its practitioners (The Three O'Clock's Michael Quercio) rather than the press, and it did indeed encompass a more cohesive coterie of like-minded artists than most scenes. In the early '80s, Dream Syndicate, The Three O'Clock, Rain Parade and other West Coast acts assimilated the influence of '60s garage rock and psychedelia (and in some cases, "cosmic" country rock), and filtered them through a contemporary post-punk/New Wave sensibility. The spirit of the Paisley Underground spread throughout the decade, with some artists (The Bangles) achieving mainstream success, though most fell by the wayside before the decade was over. A few branches from the extended family tree (Mazzy Star, Jigsaw Seen) reached beyond the movement's initial era, though, and a soupcon of the style can still be heard in some of today's neo-psych soldiers.

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