Tag Archives: Outrageous Cherry

Week 6: Outrageous Cherry – Out There in the Dark

9 Apr

This week I’m pretty excited because I get to share an exciting band with you. Okay, I know, I get to do that a lot, but this is a really cool band if you’re into the whole retro-neo-60s sound thing. The band is Outrageous Cherry, and the album is Out There in the Dark, from 1999.

I first discovered the band when my all-time favorite band The New Pornographers covered their song Georgie, Don’t You Know for a bonus track on their “Togetherness” EP. The cover really made me sit up and pay attention, because it was a slight departure for the band. They also covered another song called “Togetherness”, though that sounded a little more in the band’s wheelhouse and stayed under my radar for longer. A little research, and I learned that the “Georgie…” song was by a band called Outrageous Cherry. Well, who the hell was that? Not a clue, so time to do some digging.

Well…it turns out there’s not much out there on the band. They’re from Detroit, and started as a vehicle for singer-songwriter Matthew Smith. This guy:

As far as I can tell, the band is still together and going strong. Here’s their bio from last.fm:

Named after a brilliant red hair dye, Detroit’s Outrageous Cherry explores the sunnier side of droning, fuzzy indie rock. The band started as a recording project in 1992 but blossomed into a full-fledged group when singer/guitarist/producer Matthew Smith, bassist Chad Gilchrist, guitarist Larry Ray, and drummer Deb Agnolli began performing live in 1993. Outrageous Cherry’s wistful noise-pop debuted with a limited-edition 7” of “Pale, Frail Lovely One” on the local Third Gear label. The song’s deceptively simple, garagey sound formed the template for the group’s style: on albums like 1994’s Outrageous Cherry and 1997’s Nothing’s Gonna Cheer You Up, Smith’s and Ray’s alternately jangly and feedback-laced guitars and Agnolli’s minimalist, floor tom-and-snare drumming combine with sweet vocals for a sound that falls between nostalgic and experimental.

Along with his duties in Outrageous Cherry, Smith also performs in the country-tinged Volebeats and often collaborates with His Name Is Alive’s Warren Defever on producing and recording projects, as does Gilchrist, doubling as Outrageous Cherry and His Name Is Alive’s bassist. In 1999, Aran Ruth replaced Gilchrist on bass, and the group released its first album for Del-Fi’s new music imprint, DF2K, Out There in the Dark. The group also contributed a version of “Keep Everything Under Your Hat” for that year’s Skip Spence tribute, More Oar. The band moved to Alan McGee’s new label, Poptones, for their next album, 2001’s prog- and space rock-influenced The Book of Spectral Projections, which was reissued the following year by Rainbow Quartz.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to stumble across a promo copy of this album about a month after I discovered the band. Quite timely, considering that the CD was going for a decent amount on Amazon and eBay at the time (it’s since come down, but $5 for a used CD tells you something about the rarity).  If you’re a big fan of 60s music, especially Donovan, the Byrds, or the Velvet Underground or more recently The Shazam, The Coral, Scott Bomar, or Bobby Rush, I think you’d like it.

  • Year: 1999
  • Label: Del-Fi Records
  • Found: Bethesda, MD
  • Notes: Rip of Promotional Copy
Track list:

  1.   Georgie Don’t You Know
  2. Togetherness
  3. Where Do I Go When You Dream?
  4. Corruptable
  5. Eclipsed
  6. Easy Come, Uneasy Glow
  7. Tracy
  8. Only The Easy Way Down
  9. Song For Inoshiro Honda
  10. A Bad Movie
  11. It’s Always Never
  12. Out There In The Dark
  13. There’s No Escape From The Infinite

Part 1 of Out There in the Dark can be found here.

Part 2 is here.

You can also hear that New Pornographers cover of “Georgie Don’t You Know” here.