Here's the almost totally unknown album "Dark Ages" by David Nigel Lloyd, 400 copies of which got pressed up in 1984.
DNL pretty much wrote the story of his life with the first track of this his first album, 'The Streets Are Wet With Tears,' an impassioned yet slyly self-deprecating, sarcastic tale of coming to LA. I'm not sure if it's true, but hearing it it's almost impossible to imagine that it's not:
I was only 21
Too stupid to feel sad
when I got on that Greyhound bus and the only things I had
with me were clothing, a novel, an electric guitar
and that womb-warm feeling that that bus would take me far
into the night, the west, to California.
That chosen boy in the promised land of milk and panacea,
I did feel discomfort sleeping upright in my seat.
I did not entertain the slightest prospect of defeat...
And so the whole album goes, dense with poetry and an unusual blend of witty modesty and deeply self-conscious pretentiousness. Musically it's a killer piece of work, brilliantly arranged, complicated song structures with great guitar leads and deft use of violins and female backing vocals. Somehow it's not dated and sounds like the last good record before the 80s singer/songwriter tradition turned to total shit. (Please note-- Yoga will soon be releasing the last classic SSW album of the decade that I know about, the self-titled 1985 album by Scott Seskind.)
"Dark Ages" is not an easy work to get into, and I've converted like three people into fans because most people don't like to work when they listen to music (duh), but I can honestly say that few albums have ever yielded more over a longer period of time than this one -- it's the epitome of what you call a "grower." The more you get to know DNL, the more you'll like him and his sweet-natured take on the despicable world around him, and the more you'll realize that he's that rare misunderstood genius who'll never let the world's indifference turn him into a malcontent, and that he'll keep right on being a genius whether or not anyone notices. Dig it.