Today we’re listening to Scapa Flow by Drop Nineteens
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If you’d told me in 1992 that I’d still be listening to Delaware, the debut record from Boston’s Drop Nineteens, I would’ve likely agreed with you (and you would’ve been right). If you’d told me I’d have to wait 30 years between their last record and a new release, I would’ve laughed.
And you’d have gone 2-for-2.
Greg Ackell (guitar/vocals) & Chris Roof (drums) met at school, and formed the band in 1990. They recruited Paula Kelley, Mitohiro Yasue, and Steve Zimmerman, and Drop Nineteens was born.
The music field in the early 90s was a crowded one, but the band did their part, releasing a killer record out of the gate that still sounds good. As a shoegaze band (a term they grew to resent), Delaware has reverb to spare but never blooms into a monolithic wall of sound.
Think less MBV and more Ride.
Their CV reads like a 90s music box-checking exercise:
Met in college- ✅
Recorded the record in the same building as Pixies Doolittle- ✅
Had a video see some traction on MTV’s 120 Minutes- ✅
Did a random cover- (take your pick- Madonna’s “Angel” or the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right”)- ✅
Played Glastonbury & Lollapalooza- ✅
Caught grief from people for not “paying their dues”- ✅✅✅
The band burned bright but fast, putting out two LPs and two EPs and going through multiple lineup changes before finally imploding in 1995. Roof left in 1992, replaced by Pete Koeplin. Kelley left in 1994 landing in a couple of other bands (Boy Wonder, Hot Rod), before setting out on a solo career. Everyone went their separate ways with frontman Greg Ackell going on to do, well, anything but play music.
And so it went for the next three decades.
Flash forward to early 2022, and Ackell is teasing some new songs and a (possible) new record on the horizon.
Hard Light is the band’s first music since 1993’s National Coma. Paula Kelley is also back to round out the core lineup.
So why now? Ackell says:
"I’ve been struggling to find an answer to the question 'why now?' What was the catalyst for getting back together after so long? The best answer I can come up with is this was the first moment in my life since stopping making music that I got curious to hear what Drop Nineteens might sound like now. And there was only one way to find out!”
We’ll have to wait until later this year to hear what the full record sounds like, but “Scapa Flow” is a gorgeous-sounding track from a band that feels like they’ve only been off for 30 days. If the rest of the record is anything like this, look for it to be a contender on a lot of 2023 best-of lists.
“Scapa Flow” by Drop Nineteens | Hard Light, 2023
Click the record to listen on the platform of your choice.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this track!
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