Every once in a while, I feel obligated to tap out a new ode to the “C Stacks,” the part of my college radio station’s music library that inspired the most affection in me. When I arrived at the noncommercial broadcast outlet in the late nineteen-eighties, the main music library was divided into three sections, delineated by the first three letters of the alphabet. The “A Stacks” were home to those artists that we expected everyone knew, like Peter Gabriel and U2. The “B Stacks” were for the bands and performers that college radio kids held up as titans but were fairly likely to make Top 40 fans wrinkle up their noses in confusion were they unwittingly exposed to one of their songs — let’s say the likes of Jesus and Mary Chain, Hüsker Dü, Kate Bush, and Hoodoo Gurus.
The “C Stacks” were for everyone else, which meant it was crammed full of the artists that practically no one had heard of, save for the station staffers who had perhaps once loved individual records as they tracked through the new music rotation. Digging into that section of the stacks offered both the delight of constant discovery and, when retrieving a remembered record, the proto-hipster thrill of playing something that was personally familiar but that no one else really knew.
There are a whole slew of artists who jockey for the designation of quintessential C Stacks act for me. One such band is the Chant. Their sophomore album, Two Car Mirage, arrived at the station in 1989 and built a minor cult following within the staff. That led to the discovery of its predecessor, Three Sheets to the Wind, there in the C Stacks. Released in 1985, it was clearly part of the wave of records that were pressed into existence because the music sounded just enough like the R.E.M. offerings that dominated the college charts at that time. That doesn’t mean its derivative. Instead, it sounds like its capturing a time perfectly. This, friends, is precisely what college radio sounded like when I arrived in its enthralling splendor. It was a good time to be there.
Listen or download –> The Chant, “All Behind Me”
(Disclaimer: When I previously posted a song by the Chant, there was no flickers of availability of their music online. Maybe that’s changed. I’ll confess I haven’t taken the time to check. I suspect the band’s two albums are not being offered for purchase as physical items at your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. If they are, snap them up. They’re great. Although I don’t believe sharing this song in this space at this time is causing duress, I know the rules, and I will gladly and promptly remove the file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)