R.E.M. and B-52’s dance-punk neighbors finally get heard
In the liner notes to R.E.M.’s Dead Letter Office, Peter Buck recalls how hearing the debut of fellow Athenians Pylon (released around the same time as R.E.M.’s Chronic Town) made him “suddenly depressed by how much better it was than our record.” And yet few heard the feisty quartet, even when Pylon opened for both R.E.M. and The B-52’s back in the day. The 21st century post-punk reissue craze passed them by too, at least until longtime fan James Murphy and The DFA got their hands on Pylon’s ﬁrst single, EP and LP, compiled now as Gyrate Plus. Comprised of four University of Georgia art students, Pylon made jangly, danceable pop much like its neighbors did, yet with Vanessa Briscoe's yelps and growls, they were prickly and punk, too. Testimony from the above bands, and Gang of Four (who share a similar jaggedness), in the liners recounts how Pylon emphasized grooves (see “Danger,” “Cool” and “Precaution”), all the while sounding completely unique.