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Down By the Old Mainstream
Golden Smog
Down By the Old Mainstream
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

Made by a sloppy bunch of midwesterners with names like Jarret Decatur, Raymond Virginia, and Leonardson Saratoga (better known to us as the Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Mark Perlman, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Soul Asylum's Dan Mu...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Golden Smog
Title: Down By the Old Mainstream
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rykodisc
Release Date: 1/16/1996
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Americana, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 014431032523, 014431032547

Made by a sloppy bunch of midwesterners with names like Jarret Decatur, Raymond Virginia, and Leonardson Saratoga (better known to us as the Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Mark Perlman, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Soul Asylum's Dan Murphy, and a couple of their friends), Down by the Old Mainstream is like a piece of pecan pie, both literally and figuratively. Literally because, well, the CD design looks like a pecan pie. Figuratively because more than a dozen slices of wholesome goodness are packed inside--a little messy and syrupy at times, but altogether filled with the comforts of home. It's best not to question why guys from successful rock bands--roots, country, and mainstream--would get together ad hoc, apparently to make a record none could make in their main gigs, and then fill it with the same kind of roots, country, and mainstream rock songs we've heard from them all along. Sure enough, Golden Smog sounds a lot like the Jayhawks on Louris's "V," like Wilco on Tweedy's "Walk Where He Walked," and like Soul Asylum on Murphy's "Red Headed Stepchild." Still, there's a joy, looseness, and conviviality that comes across in songs like "He's a Dick" and "Pecan Pie" that only Down By's brand of stress-free anonymity and lack of purpose could produce. What Golden Smog misses in factory polish, it makes up for in homemade warmth--just like the goodies Grandma used to make. --Roni Sarig

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CD Reviews

Stars Behaving Badly
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 05/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Though one might call Golden Smog a supergroup, the fact is that this collaboration is actually the exact opposite. Depite bringing together a bunch of musicians who have achieved fame in other places, "Down By the Old Mainstrem" features them kicking back and having fun without letting individual egos get in the way. "Mainstream" is a particular triumph for the Jayhawk's Gary Louris and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Louris because the style of the album represents a more rocking departure from his usual work and Tweedy because he lightens up like he never has before (or since) in his career. Tweedy's throaway ode to "Pecan Pie," in fact, is highlighted by the visuals both on the CD booklet and the CD itself.The other highlights include an ace cover of Ronnie Laine's gorgeous "Glad and Sorry," "Won't Be Coming Home," Kraig Johnson's hilarious "He's a Dick," "Friend," the rocking "Red Headed Stepchild," and the fine closer "Radio King." Every song has the kind of loose, devil-may-care feel that is all-too-lacking in much of today's rock music. In fact, "Mainstream" is more fun than the more recent "Weird Tales," from this same bunch.Overall, a rollicking, spirited album showing the playful side of some very fine musicians."
"Mainstream:" Golden Smog is ultimate Stuporgroup
Nathaniel D Grotte | Wisconsin | 04/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"People who criticize this album really just don't get it, I'm afraid. Yeah, the lyrics are kinda silly, and a couple of the songs are throwaways, but what did you expect when you squeeze The Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum and Run Westy Run into one band? If you expected Son Volt, then you're on the wrong side of the alt-country fence, hombre. This album is for people who like Wilco's "A.M." because Jeff Tweedy sounds like he's smiling throughout the whole album, and the Jayhawks' "Tomorrow the Green Grass" because Mark Olson and Gary Louris sound perfect together. The songs on "Mainstream" don't break any new ground, but that's not why you like these bands anyway, right? You like them because they have a warm, familiar sound that it would be a shame to mess with. It's great to hear these bands having such a good time together. Even if you don't buy into Golden Smog (which would be a shame, because "Weird Tales" is even better), think of it this way: no Jayhawks collection is complete without "V," and if you see Jeff Tweedy at the Lounge Ax, he's gonna play "Pecan Pie." Give this album the shot it deserves, and Golden Smog might end up knocking these individual bands out to become your favorite."
Just a hint of what was to come
N. Race | SC | 05/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This album, while not up to the level of the Jayhawks, is great nonetheless. V and Ill Fated are phenomenal tunes, and there are a bunch more thrown in to boot with minimal trash. Much like the Jayhawks, the music grows on you becoming more and more delightful everytime you hear it. If you only buy one Golden Smog album, make it Weird Tales(an excellent album on all levels). If you like that(and you will), come back and buy Mainstream. If you like the Jayhawks, buy both and don't look back."