Bedhead's single for "Bedside Table"

BEDHEAD  “Bedside Table” b/w “Living Well”  (Direct Hit Records DH005RJN1, May 1992)

It seems like a lifetime ago.  I had been living & working in New York City for a few years, and I really needed a break.  Working two jobs, taking odd night gigs playing bass, sleeping on a little cot in a warehouse.  It all was taking its toll on me fast.  I needed a change of scenery, so I did what any sane person would do in this situation:  I borrowed a car & drove to Texas. 

Remember The Alamo?  The “Chirping” Crickets?  Janis Joplin?  The Butthole Surfers!  Fuck yeah, and Fuck Emo’s, The Lone Star State was the place I needed to be.  So I looked up an old friend when I got to Dallas, & we proceeded to hit every rib joint, thrift store, bowling alley, strip club, country bar, record store & porno shop from Houston to Austin to San Antonio, & all points in between.  We left no stone unturned, no beer undrank, no spliff unsmoked.  Braised rabbit and buffalo brisket in Deep Ellum.  The Grassy Knoll/The Book Depository.  Emo’s.  Threadgill’s.  Late-night coffehouses in Denton.  Waterloo.  And oh, yeah…The Alamo, too.  You name it, we did it, saw it, made fun of it & laughed at it.  But I only kept one souvenir.

During our record store excursions, I kept hearing about a (then) brand-new band called Bedhead, a project helmed by two Dallas-area brothers, Matt and Bubba Kadane.  They were the talk of the town in Dallas and Austin at the time, and tales of their incendiary live shows were just starting to circulate.  Supposedly they used 3 guitarists to get this beautiful, delicate sound that would erupt into gorgeous explosions.  “This might be just what the doctor ordered,” I thought to myself as I plunked down a few bucks for their first single.  Years later, it still is.

With mumbled vocals buried, “Bedside Table” starts off gentle, like a lullaby, and slowly, slowly builds.  Around the 2-minute mark, the guitars, which until now almost seem to be meandering, latch onto a brightly-ringing D-E-A progression, which gets immediately inverted into a darkly beautiful E-A-D pattern.  This duo of “riffs” is so gorgeous and hummable that I have never been able to exorcise them from my head lo these many years.  This is indie guitar rock that STAYS WITH YOU, man.  But that’s not the end.  Bedhead’s instruments gradually crescendo to a crashing wave of noise before the needle lifts.  A true tsunami of music, an orchestra of guitars.  Pure beauty.

The B-side, titled “Living Well”, is more of a straightforward rocker, if Bedhead could ever be accused of such a thing.  In the spirit of Eno’s “Here Come The Warm Jets” or Yo La Tengo’s “Blue Line Swinger”, it’s a satisfying wall of guitars.  Both of the tracks on this 45 are featured in their original “4-track” versions.  The first proper Bedhead album, 1994’s “WhatFunLifeWas” (Trance Syndicate), features both of these songs, but I believe they are re-recorded versions.

Bedhead continued to put out great music until their breakup in 1998.  The Kadane brothers have since continued as The New Year.  Info on both acts can be found here.

NEXT WEEK:  They took their name from a Velvet Underground LP, were produced by a member of the Velvet Underground, yet sounded nothing like the Velvet Underground.