Athens band Pylon to release comprehensive box set

Athens band Pylon will release a career-spanning box set of recordings, including remastered versions of the quartet's two studio albums, long unavailable on vinyl. HANDOUT
Athens band Pylon will release a career-spanning box set of recordings, including remastered versions of the quartet's two studio albums, long unavailable on vinyl. HANDOUT

Credit: THRASHER

Credit: THRASHER

Athens has given us some of the most distinctive and influential bands of the 20th century, including the B-52s and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees R.E.M. Their contemporaries in Pylon never reached the commercial heights of those two bands, but the quartet’s influence is still felt in the independent underground music of today.

Today, the band’s surviving members have announce a new comprehensive box set to be released on Nov. 6, 2020.

Pylon: Randy Bewlay (from left), Curtis Crowe, Vanessa Briscoe Hay and Michael Lachowski. Photo: Brian Shanley
Pylon: Randy Bewlay (from left), Curtis Crowe, Vanessa Briscoe Hay and Michael Lachowski. Photo: Brian Shanley

Credit: Brian Shanley

Credit: Brian Shanley

There’s never been anything else quite like the Pylon’s sound: barbed-wire guitars that skitter across taut, propulsive rhythms as Vanessa Briscoe Hay alternately murmurs, coos and barks her hypnotic incantations. Dancing was mandatory. Just listen to current bands such as Shopping and Savages for hints of Pylon’s enduring stamp on modern rock.

Pylon was, from left, Vanessa Briscoe (now Vanessa Hay), Michael Lachowski, Curtis Crowe and Randy Bewley. (Curtis Knapp)
Pylon was, from left, Vanessa Briscoe (now Vanessa Hay), Michael Lachowski, Curtis Crowe and Randy Bewley. (Curtis Knapp)

Credit: Curtis Knapp

Credit: Curtis Knapp

The box set will include remastered versions of the studio albums “Gyrate” (1980) and “Chomp” (1983) which have been remastered from their original tapes. “Gyrate” returns to vinyl for the first time in 32 years, and this is the first vinyl pressing of “Chomp” in 37 years.

Fans will be even more excited about the rarities the set includes. Among the 47 total tracks, there are 18 unreleased recordings spread. “Razz Tape,” a previously unreleased 13-track session recorded by longtime friend of the band and Athens record store owner Chris Rasmussen, predates the band’s 1979 debut single “Cool”/“Dub.” It also includes 11 song recorded before frontman Vanessa Briscoe Hay joined the band.

“Pylon Box” will also include a 200-page hardbound book autographed by the surviving members of the band: Hay, Michael Lachowski, and Curtis Crowe. It includes writings by the members of R.E.M, Jon King and Hugo Burnham of Gang of Four, Kate Pierson of B-52′s, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and many more fans of the band.

In addition to the box set, the University of Georgia Special Collections Building will host an exhibit called Pylon Collection, which will showcase photographs, artifacts and more from Sept. 18-Dec. 24.

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