Friday, November 27, 2009

FDF Vol 2 Issue 165: Guadalcanal Diary - Flip Flop

By: March

Album - Flip Flop
Artist - Guadalcanal Diary
Key Players - John Poe - bing bang, sing-sang and ping pong (drums). Rhett Crowe - mamagama bam-boom, yee-haws (bass). Jeff Walls - jamalama, flophouse 88's, chin music (guitar). Murray Attaway - sing song, jing-jang, ding dong (guitar and lead vocals).
Produced By - Don Dixon

Release Date - 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I use a web site called where you can list, and trade cds with others. I listed this cd, and someone out there wants it, and every time I see it on the list that someone wants I think "I need to listen to that cd again".

Overview - Marietta Georgia "jangle poppers" Guadalcanal Diary formed in the early 1980's and would release and ep, a live record and four full length records in between. Flip Flop would be the bands final album as a band and on a major label. The band would be well known for having upbeat rhythms, strong vocals and bright guitars. Sadly, they'd never get the larger recognition they should have.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The band is often compared to R.E.M and its evident right at the outset as "Look Up!" opens with a flurry of bass, drums and guitar before clicking down into a strong beat. Attaway has a fantastic tenor voice and the jangle pop starts right away and the guitars chime, and the drums are tight. There is even some cymbal crashes on those cymbals that go "spooosh" when they are struck. The tempo of the song is perfect and the band even changes tempo at the mid point before Walls does his guitar solo. The band breaks down as the drums get pushed in the mix and Poe shows his rhythmic chops. The song repeats the instrumental break down with a second solo on guitar. Two guitars bounce off a few single bass notes and "Always Saturday" begins. This was the song that got me in to the band, with a video that was show on 120 Minutes on MTV. As the chorus draws closer Poe hits the drums to get the band in line and then there is a nice series of harmonies with Attaway and the band. The band really shines on this track with musical interludes, powerful pop hooks and great vocals. A real gem of a track. "The Likes of You" has a fuzzier guitar intro before the second guitar comes in. The intro section feels like a Smithereens (FDF looks at "11" here) tune with those powerful guitar riffs. The band is tight, but not flashy so it adds to the punch. Attaway is a little held back vocally, but still powerful. Come the second verse he gets a lot more urgent and really shines once more. Another really strong rock pop tune. "Barometer" changes a little direction with a more laid back feel, but no instrument is left unplayed. The band falls into an easy swing groove with Attaway crooning over the top. The band keeps a tight ship on this track, but it doesn't way from its set course. Acoustic guitars open "Happy Home" and Attaway comes in quick on the vocals. It is the bands first swing towards a ballad (or at least mid tempo track). "Whiskey Talk" comes back with a much more aggressive guitar. The drum line from Poe is given with machine gun rapid fire snare drum snaps. The guitars circle one another in this 4/4 marching tempo track. The bass is sort of buried in the mix since the guitars get the focus. Walls gets a real good run on a guitar solo about 2 minutes in before they suddenly slow it down. Crowe is brought up on bass and Poe rolls across the floor toms. The song ends with bottles clanking for an added mental picture. "Pretty Is As Pretty Does" blends nice with the prior track as the same buzzy guitar abounds and the drums are hit hard, but keep a strong back beat. Another quick track is "Everything But Good Luck" that follows suit of the prior two. The band sounds great, but its nothing that really stands out from anything else on the record. They mellow out some on "Ten Laws". The vocals are much more laid back and it is a lone guitar with the drums slowly rolling under before there is more urgency come the second verse. The album closes with "...Vista" a track that slowly builds with swirling buzzy guitars and deep drum hits. The track locks in to a tight groove and has a false ending, but what leads to it is a strong closer. There is a hidden track a fun run through, but the liner notes don't match he back cover. On list "Fade Out" and another lists "Vista" as the final track. In reading it looks like it should go "Fade out-->..Vista"

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1989 but would reform in 1997 to tour (without any new material on record) and then call it a day again in 2000. Jeff Walls continues to play guitar and has worked in Southern Culture on the Skids and Man or Astro-Man?. He is currently a member of "The Woggles". Attaway recorded a solo record that was released in 1993, and then worked with Poe on a second solo record, but it has never been released. The band claims to be on "hiatus" and has not ruled out working with one anther in the future.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take
- I will honestly say I have no other experience with this band but I realized when I dug this out again it was everything I had hoped for. I love REM and their sound and this is similar. The guitar sound on this record is crazy good and everyone adds to one collective unit. It is time for me to go see if I can track down their other releases. Let the quest BEGIN!


Neither the official site or the myspace page seem to have been updated in a fair amount of time.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been removed...
Always Saturday
The Likes of You
Everything but Good Luck

Tracks are from "Flip Flop". The record is out of print, and even used might set you back a pretty penny, but give it a shot starting here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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