Tooth and Nail Records was this fun little record label out of Seattle that specialized in pop and punk records in the mid 1990's. Not the hardcore punk stuff coming out of NY and LA but the softer edge stuff (MxPx and the like). Then they shifted gears to more of a traditional indie rock fare and sent me this little gem of a record called "Watermelon" by the band DRIVER EIGHT. Now any band that uses one of my all time favorite R.E.M. songs as it's name automatically got at least a cursory listen but the more I listened to the record the more I fell in love with it.
The band is nothing really special; just a typical three piece rock group. Their songs had all the markings of REM and other Alt Rock heroes. The best analogy I could come up with at the time was BUFFALO TOM. I just kept thinking to myself, wow I really dig this record and can't really say why. I must have played it a hundred times and was still entranced by the simple yet direct musicianship and the conviction of the music. Whether it was the fuzzed up guitars of "Getting This Thing To Go" or the sunny poppiness of "Waiting for Godot", the record was just contagious.
I hadn't listened to it for a long time but as I was pulling things out of the collection I dropped it into the pile and now I am re-listening to it again. It still has that same feel. Good records rarely get worse with age.
p.s. The lead singer, Matt McCartie, seems to have continued to record music under the name THEFT. Check out some of his new work here.
(mp3) Driver Eight -- Sunbitten (love the way this one keeps building and building to it practically explodes from the speakers)