the pysch-pop of UV TRANSMISSION
Have you ever walked into a bar intimidated by the row of hogs and Harleys parked out front? Wondered about the reception you’d get from the biker trash partying down inside? It wasn’t quite that way with the dozen Vespa, Lambretta and Velocette knock-offs lining the sidewalk in front of the Fabulous Dingo Bar (now Burt’s Tiki Lounge) when UV Transmission was headlining. Rather than wielding chains and wearing leathers, these riders sported Raffia one-button blazers, Cuban heel boots and M65 parkas with the Royal Air Force insignia on the back. The crowd was there not to pogo or mosh (thankfully! ) but to dance.
|this, from back when not only were the shows multi-genre. multi-style but when the crowd would stick around for all of the bands and not just one narrow favorite|
While acknowledging Ride and the early Stone Roses, UV Transmission took a step back from the nascent Britpop scene with an American take on ‘60s English Discotheque guitar pop and added dashes of Mod manner and swirling psychedelic leads. “Psychedelic” here taken from the time that it meant carefully coiffed lads in Edwardian threads taking a handful of Preludin and a puff or two instead of the stateside acid-rock aesthetic.
Far from the vapid Austin Powers stereotype that everyone seemed to be goofing on at the time, UV was serious about their music. Every show was refreshing. You could step away from the dozens of “third wave punk” / alt-rock bands popping up in every garage and dance to songs with melody and just enough crunchy edge to keep things interesting. The band even earned a passing mention in CMJ New MusicMonthly in 1997 as an “up and coming” outfit.
The proper gear is important to any band but UV Transmission assembled just the right pieces to do justice to their ideals. Robert Urias sang lead while playing a 12 string 370 Rickenbacker guitar, heavy on the super reverb. He occasionally manned a Viscount Organ for an authentic sound rather than tabletop synthesizer blips and bleeps that have cheapened many a band. Matt Dickens (later of the ‘Burque’s ultimate Brit influenced band The Mindy Set ) supplied harmony vocals and bass on a Rickenbacker 370. His brother Chris provided a steady popping backbeat on the drum stool. Pulling out any one of a half dozen guitars in his arsenal, Mike Easton matched Urias reverb for reverb.
Released in 1997, the CD Transmission Received contained three and four minute tracks slightly polished but raw enough to capture the band’s live performances. LetMe Turn You On (To A Little Love) would’ve been the swinging hit single if it had managed to garner any but local airplay. Grittier by far was the rockin’ self-titled seven inch vinyl single. Both discs were self-released on the unfortunately named Shag Records. Unlike many of UV Transmission’s local contemporaries (The Rondelles, Scared of Chaka, The Eyeliners), the band’s slim discography rarely appears on hipster record collector websites which means everyone is hanging onto their copies. So am I.
originally appeared in Weekly Alibi