A musical pigeonhole loosely associating a group of US bands from the mid-80s. Generally used to describe a sound that draws influence from both The Velvet Underground and late 60s/early 70s psychedelia.

Bands often referred to as being part of the paisley underground movement:

Mazzy Star
Rain Parade
Rainy Day
Dream Syndicate
and also lesser-known acts like The 3 O'Clock and The Feelies.

A few other bands that got lumped in, at least by critics:

The first four on that list were all part of an incestuous scene in LA with the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate. Supposedly those two and the Bangles used to have big communal barbecues and drink bourbon. In time, bassist Kendra Smith left the Dream Syndicate because she hated touring, and guitarist/singer David Roback left the Rain Parade for murky reasons apparently involving a falling-out with RP bassist Steve Roback, Dave's brother. Smith and D. Roback started a band called Clay Allison with drummer Keith Mitchell, which released a two-song Ep and then changed its name to Opal and released a four-song Ep called Fell From the Sun, which subsumed the first Ep. Ultimately, the Dream Syndicate, the Rain Parade, and Opal all threw in the towel; Opal mutated into Mazzy Star after Kendra Smith left because she still hated touring. Smith has made a two excellent records since then. Mazzy Star you probably know about; Keith Mitchell is still on board. Steve Roback's rump Rain Parade made some more good records and eventually mutated into Viva Saturn, which broke up last year. The Dream Syndicate never made a decent record after Smith left; Dream Syndicate honcho Steve Wynn is still making boring records on his own. Somewhere along the way, Rain Parade/Viva Saturn guitarist Matt Piucci floated to the surface on an atrocious Crazy Horse (as in Neil Young) effort called Left for Dead. Piucci is a wonderful guitarist, but Left for Dead is one of the worst records ever made. I think he also made a one-off record with Tim Lee from the Windbreakers, who were from North Carolina or someplace and IIRC more a part of the Mitch Easter/Let's Active orbit than anything else. I think Rainy Day was essentially Opal by another name, and all they did was a cover of "Flying on the Ground is Wrong" for a now-long-OOP Neil Young tribute. This may have been pre-Opal, does anybody know?

I've heard the term "paisley underground" used to refer exclusively to the LA scene above (as Electricsound uses it), but I do recall seeing it thrown around recklessly in the early 1980s in reference to just about anybody who played guitars but wasn't "punk". The more restricted usage seems more sensible, but there was a lot of '60's pop/psych revivalism going on all over at that time so it's probably a judgement call.

Update: Louis Gutierrez never played guitar on any early Opal Ep's; inexcusably, I had him mixed up with Juan Gomez, who wasn't in the Three O'Clock at all. I don't know who the hell he was, as a matter of fact. On the other hand, Rain Parade violinist/keyboard player Will Glenn does appear to have played on the Three O'Clock's Sixteen Tambourines album. For what it's worth.

Update: Steven Roback maintains a website at http://www.rainparade.com which is devoted to the Rain Parade, Viva Saturn, and his post-Viva Saturn solo work; there's also a Mazzy Star link. There are links to news, mp3s, and a complete (like, really complete) Rain Parade discography. Wonderful stuff. Matt Piucci has an album in the works too. (Further update, 10/30/00: Piucci's album, Hellenes, is out; I've heard bits of it; it's crap.)

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