When The Dream Syndicate emerged in the early 80s, front man Steve Wynn declared, “We’re playing music we want to hear because nobody else is doing it.”
He added, “I’ll compromise on what I eat or where I sleep, but I won’t compromise on what music I play.” Both were true, and although their template of Velvet Underground meets Crazy Horse may seem commonplace today (and let’s not forget, the Syndicate spawned many imitators), their raw twin guitar, bass and drums approach was not common during an era when slick, polished MTV bands ruled.
Thirty years later The Dream Syndicate have announced their third album for ANTI-, The Universe Inside, which will be released on April 10. Read a new interview with Steve Wynn about the album and watch the video for new single “The Longing” via PopMatters HERE; a cryptic clip that explores yearning, memories and the passage of time.
“A friend of mine once said, ‘You ought to write a song about longing,’” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained of the song’s titling. “This was a few years back but it stuck with me and when I was listening to minutes 20 through 28 of the improvisation that became The Universe Inside I knew that the suggestion had finally found its proper home. This section of music - that followed in real time the part that became “The Regulator” - felt so mournful and lost and adrift and confused, much like longing itself. You think you know where it’s at? The longing is stronger than that. Our resident visual interpreter David Dalglish picked up on that feeling for a video that connected hauntingly to that feeling of distance and memory. And now? Suddenly it all feels very much of the moment. A chasm, sleepless for day and days, rootless, unsettled and alone. All that’s left is the longing.”
This album could have been called The Art of The Improvisers – The Dream Syndicate were in a Richmond studio after midnight working out ideas when Stephen McCarthy dropped by and became a catalyst for uncharted exploration. In one session, they recorded 80 continuous minutes of soundscapes. Wynn took that raw tape back to his NYC home and played the shit of it and thought, “My god, there’s an album here, damn it!”
Like producers Teo Macero and Conny Plank did back in the day, he hauled ass back to Virginia and edited and sculpted those 80 minutes into an album. Wynn said, "All we added was air," which is to say aside from vocals, horns and a touch of percussion – every instrument is live as it happened. Wynn has also created a ten-song inspiration playlist of artists that have influenced The Universe Inside. From The Byrds to Miles Davis to Can, listen to his Inspiration Mixtape HERE