In the mid-1990s, as the band they were in was fixing to break up, Eric Campuzano and Wayne Everett started writing songs for a new project they eventually would call The Lassie Foundation.
The music was a cacophonous mix of British shoegaze and falsetto-laden West Coast pop — “pink-noise pop,” some long-ago reviewer coined. Over a little more than a decade, the Lassies would release three albums and a handful of EPs, on various small labels and independently, as the roster of band members fluctuated. They cultivated a nice cult following, which grew after Jeff Schroeder, who came aboard for TLF’s second EP, became the Smashing Pumpkins guitarist in 2007.
The Lassie Foundation’s career retrospective, “Through and Through” (released on double-CD only in 2006 and now hard to find), remains a work other bands would envy. Drenched in distortion and/or jangling guitars, but melodic with ephemeral lyrics, the Lassies’ music fit with the likes of Ride, the Boo Radleys, Lilys … or maybe our favorite comparison, heard at a show years ago: What if Medicine did the Beach Boys?
Anyway, due to the vagaries of business, none of the Lassie Foundation’s music has been on streaming services until now.
Today, just past the 25-year anniversary of its release, TLF’s debut EP “California” has been re-released. Remastered by Chris Colbert and including two bonus demo tracks (dusted off by Frank Lenz), “California” is the band’s paint-peeling loud introduction. Of particular note is the grandiose opener, “I Can Be Her Man,” with Everett’s winking, affected British accent introducing the band over big, majestic chords. Go ahead and add that to your “lost shoegaze classics” playlist and enjoy the rest.
Everett, who released a solo album last year, says the re-release is the first step toward remastering and reissuing much of the Lassie Foundation’s music. Next up: Their 1999 album “Pacifico.”
The EP is available on Bandcamp.
||| Stream: “California”