Golden Smog - Down by the Old Mainstream

Golden Smog
Down by the Old Mainstream


First Appeared in The Music Box, April 1998, Volume 5, #4

Written by John Metzger


XTC had the Dukes of Stratosphear, and The Jayhawks, Wilco, and Soul Asylum now have Golden Smog. Included in the band are Kraig Johnson, Marc Perlman, Gary Louris, Jeff Tweedy, and Dan Murphy, though they all have donned new names to hide their involvement with the group.  The result is Down by the Old Mainstream, a delightful collection of material that draws heavily from both the individual ensembles' common love for country-rock fare. Even without the songwriting credits, which are properly attributed, it's pretty easy to tell whose contribution is whose just from the style of the song and from the vocals. Though the disc is less cohesive than any of the groups' separate efforts, there are some great tunes included in the package, and the collaborations yield some terrific twists upon a familiar formula.

Some of the best songs on Down by the Old Mainstream include Tweedy's acoustic Pecan Pie, which features a nice touch of slide guitar from Murphy; the country-ballad Yesterday Cried; and the Tweedy/Louris-penned Radio King. There's even a sweet cover version of Ronnie Lane's Glad & Sorry that features Louris and Tweedy on vocals. starstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Ryan Adams - Demolition

The Autumn Defense - The Autumn Defense / self-titled

Poor Little Knitter on the Road: A Tribute to The Knitters


Down by the Old Mainstream is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright 1998 The Music Box