|Genres||Alternative rock, post-punk, indie pop, jangle pop|
|Labels||Cherry Red (1981–1985)
|Associated acts||Denim, Go Kart Mozart, Primal Scream|
Felt were an alternative rock band founded in Birmingham, England in 1979 and led by the mononymous Lawrence. The band's name was inspired by Tom Verlaine's emphasis of the word "felt" in the Television song "Venus". They existed for ten years, throughout the 1980s, during which time they released ten singles and ten albums.
Felt have been cited as an influence by Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, as well as by alternative rock bands Manic Street Preachers, Girls, and The Tyde.
Lawrence established Felt in 1979 with the release of the single "Index", a self-published solo recording. A noisy effort unlike Felt's subsequent records, it was later awarded single of the week by Dave McCullough in music paper Sounds.
With Lawrence on vocals and guitar, the band was formed properly in 1980 with the addition of schoolfriend Nick Gilbert (on drums) and local guitarist Maurice Deebank. Becoming co-writer with Lawrence, Deebank's classical style of playing would provide the band's signature sound in its early years.
The band performed as a trio before deciding that bass guitar was needed. Gilbert switched to bass and drummer Tony Race was added. He was replaced soon after by Gary Ainge who would remain the only constant member besides Lawrence throughout the rest of Felt's existence.
Felt signed to Cherry Red Records and their first single as a band, "Something Sends Me to Sleep", was released in 1981. Their first album, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, followed the next year. Gilbert left and was replaced on bass by Mick Lloyd. The band's lineup would then remain unchanged through their next two albums.
In 1985, for the recording of their fourth album, keyboard player Martin Duffy was added and Marco Thomas became bassist. Ignite the Seven Cannons was produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins and featured Elizabeth Fraser on the single "Primitive Painters". The song reached the top of the UK independent singles chart.
Deebank departed soon after, prompting a shift in Felt's sound with Duffy's keyboards becoming more central. The lead guitar position would subsequently be filled by an ever-changing succession of players.
The band moved to Creation Records in 1986 and released Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death, the first of two instrumental albums they would record. Their next album, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, was a conventional collection of songs that gained the band praise and would become regarded by many as their best.
In 1989 Lawrence declared it had been his intention all along to release ten singles and ten albums in ten years and, having done so, announced the end of Felt. After releasing their last album, Me and a Monkey on the Moon, and undertaking a short tour the band split up. Lawrence went on to form Denim and later, Go Kart Mozart. Duffy joined Primal Scream. Ainge would later play with Vic Godard.
The 'Other' Felt
Before Felt was formed, another band by the same name had already existed. Formed in Alabama in the late 1960s, the 'other' Felt featured Myke Jackson (guitars), Mike Neel (drums), Tommy Gilstrap (bass), Stan Lee (guitars), and Allan Dalrymple (keyboards). In 1971 they released an excellent self titled album which drew stylistically from blues, rock, psychedelic rock and progressive rock.
- Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty (1982)
- The Splendour of Fear (1984)
- The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories (1984)
- Ignite the Seven Cannons (1985)
- Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death (1986)
- Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986)
- Poem of the River (1987)
- The Pictorial Jackson Review (1988)
- Train Above the City (1988)
- Me and a Monkey on the Moon (1989)
- Gold Mine Trash (1987)
- Bubblegum Perfume (1990)
- Absolute Classic Masterpieces (1992)
- Absolute Classic Masterpieces Volume II (1993)
- Stains on a Decade (2003)
- "Index" (solo single by Lawrence, September 1979)
- "Something Sends Me to Sleep" (July 1981)
- "My Face Is on Fire" (September 1982)
- "Penelope Tree" (June 1983)
- "Mexican Bandits" (March 1984)
- "Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow" (July 1984)
- "Primitive Painters"(August 1985)
- "Ballad of the Band" (May 1986)
- "Rain of Crystal Spires" (September 1986)
- "The Final Resting of the Ark" (September 1987)
- "Space Blues" (August 1988)
- "Get Out of My Mirror" (free flexidisc, October 1989)
- A Declaration - Live in Concert, London, February 1987 (DVD, 2003)
- Pierce, Kevin (1992). "Nick Gilbert Interviewed". Absolute Classic Masterpieces (CD booklet).
- Taylor, Karl; Reed, John (May 1993). "Felt". Record Collector (165): 28.
- Hodgkinson, Will (9 October 2003), Yes man, The Guardian
- Wallace, Wyndham (18 July 2011), Tim Burgess On Loving Lawrence & Felt, The Quietus
- Mackay, Emily (19 May 2009), Manic Street Preachers Interview, NME
- Pelly, Jenn (7 November 2011), Girls Announce New Single "Lawrence", Pitchfork
- Questions of Doom with Darren Radamaker of the Tyde, Bad Vibes
- Harrison, Ian (May 2012). "Tales of Ordinary Madness". Mojo: 58.
- Felt Biography, Musician Guide
- Felt Biography, Amoeba Music
- McFadden, Lee, Felt, Perfect Sound Forever
- UK Indie Chart number-one singles of 1985
- MacBain, Hamish (1 January 2011), Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, NME
- McGee, Alan (10 December 2007), Lawrence: the pop star who relished failure, The Guardian
- Black, Johnny (October 2002), Where Are They Now?, Q: 61
- Flamm, Christian; Sperlinger, Mike, eds. (2010). Foxtrot Echo Lima Tango. London: Johnston & Vock.
- Brouchard, JC (2011). Ballad of the Fan. Paris: Vivonzeureux. ISBN 978-2-9536575-3-1.
- Couillerot, Fabrice; Findlay, Lora; Kelly, Paul, eds. (2011). Felt: The Book. Paris/London: First Third Books.
- Felt - A Tribute - website devoted to Felt
- "Felt" - article at Perfect Sound Forever
- "Felt Biography" at TweeNet
- Felt Discography
- Felt Discography - featuring detailed pictures
- Felt Reviews