Political Animal


April 07, 2013 8:02 AM Morning music: the dB’s are back!

By Kathleen Geier

The dB’s were one of the great power pop bands of late 70s and 80s. Originally from North Carolina, they were New York City-based. They put out a few outstanding albums that didn’t get anywhere near the attention they deserved (the first two, which were their best, were originally available in the States as imports only). In 2012, they released their first album in 25 years Falling Off the Sky, which, to my surprise and delight, is really, really good! In general I’m highly skeptical of reunion projects, which tend to be sad, lackluster affairs which only serve as a reminder that a band’s original magic is long gone.

The dB’s, though, are a band that still has some juice. I love the organ in this one, which is very Sir Douglas Quintet. One of the many virtues of early punk is that, after years of being mired in what a friend refers to as “Camaro butt rock,” which was monotonously guitar-centric, some of the punk bands had the good sense to restore the organ to pride of place as an instrument with some rock and roll ‘tude. See: the B-52’s, early Elvis Costello, the Human Switchboard.

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • c u n d gulag on April 07, 2013 9:00 AM:

    Maybe slightly OT, since it's a synthesizer, but here's one of my favorites:


    It's "Enola Gay," and it's a 1980 anti-war song by British synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (O.M.D)

  • martin on April 07, 2013 9:54 AM:

    Oh, why not:
    Squeeze - Farfisa Beat

  • D. Murphy on April 07, 2013 10:03 AM:

    Oh, boy. New dB's! Thanks!

  • DiTurno on April 07, 2013 10:48 AM:

    I love the first few B-52s and Elvis Costello albums, but it's really hard for me to how they're punk in any way.

  • tbert on April 07, 2013 11:44 AM:

    If you want to hear the organ as a rock'n'roll instrument, I highly suggest the DC-based band The Apes. Rock with no guitar, but an organ often played almost percussively. This R serius stoner rock.

    Something with more soul and a bit less noise but still using an organ would be Baltimore's Celebration (which also uses a guitorgan, an unholy guitar/organ hybrid).

  • liam foote on April 07, 2013 12:14 PM:

    Good to hear that the dB's are back. Thanks for providing the tune, though I have to say that the keys seemed pretty incidental. The chord progression bore a striking resemblance to "Hello, Mr. Soul" by Buffalo Springfield.

  • JeffInOhio on April 07, 2013 12:52 PM:

    I love the db's and they might have layed a lot ofthe smae venues as the first wave east coast punk bands, but I wouldn't Id' characterize any of the bands you mentioned as punk and punk rock being characterized as "Camaro butt rock" is, um, a bit off. Ubiquitous beater cock rock, maybe.