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Song Premiere: "Julianna Why" by The Sneetches

The Sneetches; Photo Credit: Erik Auerbach
7 April 2017

The Sneetches; Photo Credit: Eric Auerbach


Form Of Play is San Francisco-based The Sneetches’ first ever compilation album and it traces the ’80s/’90s alt-pop mavericks’ history from 1985-1994, with remastered audio, five previously unreleased tracks (including the one premiering here at The Big Takeover), and liner notes are from Grammy-nominated Sneetches bassist Alec Palao.

Described by Trouser Press as “One of the most tasteful, consistently tuneful pop bands on the American scene,” Form of Play: A Retrospective is a compendium of the best moments from the outfit’s three albums and various singles and compilation appearances.

The Sneetches were formed in San Francisco in 1985 by Mike Levy and Matt Carges, punk veterans who decided to indulge in their love of pop and melody. In the era of grunge and hardcore, the musicians’ heroes constituted the Zombies, Easybeats, the Monochrome Set, Nilsson, and others, as Levy’s songwriting proffered a similar bittersweet blend of musical melody and lyrical misanthropy.

With the addition of Englishmen Daniel Swan (in 1986) and Alec Palao (in 1988), the line-up was complete and began to perform around the Bay Area. Appropriately, their debut release, the mini-LP Lights Out!, recorded by Levy and Carges, was also issued in the U.K.

While that record was a rough-and-ready indie production, the Sneetches’ subsequent albums, Sometimes That’s All We Have and Slow, were expertly produced, carefully nuanced collections that gained the players notices home and abroad. Several tours of the U.S. and visits to Europe and Japan in the early 1990s, along with live and studio collaborations with Shoes and Flamin’ Groovies, cemented the band’s reputation as idiosyncratic power pop of the highest order. The band’s final release was Blow Out the Sun in 1994.

With a playlist hand-picked by the band, Form of Play draws upon the group’s recordings for Creation, Alias, Bus Stop, spinART, and other labels, with rare mixes and five previously unreleased cuts.

The fully remastered set is illustrated with previously unseen photos and comes with a personalized liner notes by Grammy-nominated producer Palao, who also oversaw the assembly of the compilation. About the previously-unreleased “Julianna Why”, Palao states, “There’s not a lot of unissued Sneetch-music left in the vaults, but here’s something that we all agreed upon needed to be heard. At the time, we felt it lacked something, and thus a live version of this song was chosen for a B-side – Now this studio demo seems to capture some of the musical camaraderie the Sneetches shared.”

Pre-Order Form Of Play

Form Of Play Track Listing:

1. Over ’Round Each Other
2. . . . And I’m Thinking (single version)
3. What I Know
4. Voice In My Head
5. Don’t Turn Back
6. Only For a Moment
7. Heloise (Live)*
8. What’s in Your Mind
9. Julianna Why *
10. They Keep Me Running
11. Behind the Shadow
12. Take My Hand
13. Looking for Something
14. A Good Thing
15. I Don’t Expect Her for You (Look at That Girl)
16. Wish You Would
17. Empty Sea
18. Let Us Go
19. Unusual Sounds
20. A Light on Above (Live)*
21. The Weather Scene (Live)*
22. How Does It Feel (Home Demo)*

  • Previously Unissued