Who Owns Our Dreams?
Recorded 1994-1996. All recordings except LONG DARK NIGHT previously released on the World Service/Rough Trade Deutschland or Normal labels. X-Tal on these songs were: J NEO MARVIN: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, etc. MICK FREEMAN: Drums, percussion, vocals ALLISON MOSELEY: Vocals, bass guitar MARK ZANANDREA: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, etc. (plus guest appearances by CARRIE BRADLEY, MERI ST. MARY, WALLY SOUND, and MARTY BRUMBACH.) San Francisco's X-Tal were one of the great unsung bands of the 1990s. Combining the sly pointed lyrics of J Neo Marvin (and others) with a Velvet-y wall of guitars and the twangy crunch of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, X-Tal forged a distinctively American sound while daring to shine a light on the flaws of both their country and themselves. WHO OWNS OUR DREAMS? collects, for the first time domestically, some of the best songs from their final albums, which were previously only available on German labels. Ranging from the rousing glam-rock anthem to workers' solidarity 'Union Sunrise', to the melodic Fairport-influenced talk-radio critique 'Windbags', to noise-improv freakouts like 'Never Been Young' and a never-before-heard live version of 'Long Dark Night', to bassist Allison Moseley's haunting Sandy Denny-like vocals on her song 'Edge Of The World', to 'Mark Time''s scathing roast of faux-alternative rock, to ex-Housecoat Project leader Meri St. Mary's passionate guest vocal on the desperate, decadent yarn 'Misadventure', WHO OWNS OUR DREAMS? shows a band at their creative peak, thriving from the attention of a loyal audience an ocean away. A decade later, these recordings are finally available in the US, and sound as up-to-the-minute as ever, if not downright prophetic in places. 'At a time when most bands are trying to fit their sound to increasingly narrow formats, X-Tal draw inspiration from both reggae and thrash, folk-rock both British (Richard Thompson) and North American (Dylan, Neil Young), and the snarl and drone of the Fall and the Velvet Underground---quite often all within the same tune. But listing influences and resemblances would hardly do justice to X-Tal's achievement in creating...songs soaked in strong emotions---passion and rage, grief and defiance---in which music and lyrics constantly spur one another on...The effect is anything but a bleak one. If the energy here often derives from rage and frustration, X-Tal nonetheless succeed in giving their songs a very positive charge and tremendous dynamism. They're a joy to listen to.' Steve Connell, Puncture Magazine.