Mercury Rev

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Mercury Rev
Mercury Rev at Tel Aviv 7.jpg
Jonathan Donahue fronting Mercury Rev in Tel Aviv, Israel, 2010
Background information
Origin Buffalo, New York, United States
Genres Psychedelic rock, alternative rock, neo-psychedelia, dream pop
Years active 1989–present
Labels Jungle Records, Rough Trade, Columbia, Beggars Banquet, V2, Yep Roc Records
Associated acts The Flaming Lips
Website http://www.mercuryrev.com
Members Jonathan Donahue
Grasshopper
Jeff Mercel
Carlos Anthony Molina
Dave Fridmann
Jason Miranda
Past members David Baker
Suzanne Thorpe
Jimy Chambers
Justin Russo
Jason Russo
Adam Snyder
Paul Dillon

Mercury Rev is an American alternative rock group, that formed in the late 1980s in Buffalo, New York.[1] Original personnel were David Baker (vocals), Jonathan Donahue (vocals, guitars), Sean Mackowiak, a.k.a. "Grasshopper" (guitars, clarinet), Suzanne Thorpe (flute), Dave Fridmann (bass) and Jimy Chambers (drums).

History[edit]

The first years with David Baker[edit]

With their early records, Mercury Rev offered experimental, psychedelic rock, which gradually shifted to a melodic, ornate sound. Mercury Rev is often compared to The Flaming Lips,[2] and in fact share close ties: soon after the band's formation, Donahue also joined the Flaming Lips as second guitarist and appeared on two of their albums; and since the 1990 album In a Priest Driven Ambulance, Dave Fridmann has co-produced every Flaming Lips studio album to date except 1993's Transmissions from the Satellite Heart.

Despite considerable critical acclaim,[3][4][5] their early releases never gave Mercury Rev more than cult popularity,[2] though they appeared on the smaller second stage at some 1993 Lollapalooza stops. Baker left after their second record, Boces (1993), citing musical and personal disputes; he later recorded an album as Shady. With his departure, the thematically darker and musically experimental features of the band began to disappear.[6]

The bands original name, Mercury Trev, was derived from Bakers admiration of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury as well as a tribute to his friend Trevor Merchant who had recently died after battling AIDS. It was shortened to Mercury Rev when it was incorrectly printed on a poster for an early show.[citation needed]

Transitional period[edit]

The band's first post-Baker album, See You on the Other Side (1995), found them in transition. The album was varied: Like the first releases, it still featured a sprawling psychedelic opening track and noise rock numbers like Young Man's Stride (for which a music video released), but also more melodic songs, such as Sudden Ray of Hope.

The same year the group also recorded and released the album Paralyzed Mind Of The Archangel Void under the moniker "Harmony Rockets". This album features a single forty minutes track of mostly instrumental psychedelic improvised music. It was rated four and half stars, out of five, by AllMusic. The group performed it again in the Don't Look Back concert series in 2009.

Wide critical and commercial success[edit]

The 1998 release of the acclaimed[7][8][9][10][11] Deserter's Songs (which featured appearances by Garth Hudson and Levon Helm of The Band) made Mercury Rev unexpected pop stars. In the UK, NME magazine made Deserter's Songs their Album of the Year.[12] Donahue's earnest, high-pitched vocals and concentration on relatively concise, melodic songs gave the band's material an entirely new feel and much increased popularity (Deserter's Songs spawned three UK Top 40 singles).[13]

All Is Dream was issued in 2001. It included, "The Dark is Rising," which reached No. 16 in the UK Singles Chart.[14]

Later years[edit]

Mercury Rev's The Secret Migration was released on January 24, 2005. This was followed up in 2006, by a compilation album, The Essential Mercury Rev: Stillness Breathes 1991-2006 and the film soundtrack album Hello Blackbird. More recently, the band released a pair of albums on September 29, 2008: Snowflake Midnight, and a free MP3 album of instrumentals, Strange Attractor.

Members[edit]

Film Music Live Improvisation for the short movie The Red Balloon

Discography[edit]

Chart positions listed are for the United Kingdom; the band has not charted in the United States.

Albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
[15]
AUS
[16]
BE (Wa)
[17]
BE (Vl)
[18]
FRA
[19]
NOR
[20]
SWE
[21]
1991 Yerself Is Steam - - - - - - -
1993 Boces 43 - - - - - -
1995 See You on the Other Side
  • Released: 19 September 1995
  • Label: Beggars Banquet Records
- - - - - - -
Paralyzed Mind of the Archangel Void (as 'Harmony Rockets') - - - - - - -
1998 Deserter's Songs
  • Released: 29 September 1998
  • Label: V2
27 85 - - 36 15 38
2001 All Is Dream
  • Released: 11 September 2001
  • Label: V2
11 36 - 46 27 4 55
2005 The Secret Migration
  • Released: 24 January 2005
  • Label: V2
16 66 48 27 30 27 -
2008 Snowflake Midnight
  • Released: 29 September 2008
  • Label: V2/Yep Roc
52 - 94 48 150 - -

Compilation albums and soundtracks[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • 1992 - "Lego My Ego'" (re-released with 1999 re-issue of "Yerself Is Steam")
  • 1992 - "Car Wash Hair"
  • 1992 - "If You Want Me to Stay"
  • 1993 - "The Hum Is Coming From Her"
  • 1993 - "Chasing a Bee"
  • 1993 - "Bronx Cheer"
  • 1993 - "Something for Joey"
  • 1995 - "Everlasting Arm"
  • 1995 - "Young Man's Stride"
  • 1998 - "Goddess on a Hiway" - UK No. 51
  • 1998 - "Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp" - No. 26
  • 1999 - "Opus 40" - No. 31
  • 1999 - "Holes" (Australia only)
  • 1999 - "Goddess on a Hiway" - No. 26 (1999 re-issue)
  • 2001 - "Nite and Fog" - No. 47
  • 2002 - "The Dark Is Rising" - No. 16
  • 2002 - "Little Rhymes" - No. 51
  • 2004 - "Secret for a Song" (internet download only)
  • 2005 - "In a Funny Way" - No. 28
  • 2005 - "Across Yer Ocean" - No. 54
  • 2008 - "Senses on Fire"
  • 2009 - "Butterfly's Wings"

Other contributions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Band Bio, MercuryRev.com, Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Trouser Press". 
  3. ^ "Melody Maker 1991". 
  4. ^ "Boces Review". 
  5. ^ "AllMusic". 
  6. ^ "Allmusic". 
  7. ^ AllMusic 4.5/5 stars link
  8. ^ Fluffhouse Music (10/10) link
  9. ^ NME (9/10) link
  10. ^ Pitchfork Media (8.5/10) link
  11. ^ "Entertainment Weekly Deserter's Songs Review Sep. 25, 1998". 1998-09-25. 
  12. ^ "NME Album of The Year Index". 
  13. ^ "Everyhit.com". 
  14. ^ "The Official UK Top 40". BBC News. January 27, 2002. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Chart Stats - Mercury Rev". theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  16. ^ "Discography Mercury Rev". Australian-Charts.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  17. ^ "Discography Mercury Rev". ultratop.be/fr. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  18. ^ "Discography Mercury Rev". ultratop.be/nl. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  19. ^ "Discographie Mercury Rev". lescharts.com. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Discography Mercury Rev". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Discography Mercury Rev". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  22. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved on 2011-12-26. Note: User needs to enter "Mercury Rev" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.

External links[edit]