December 23 — “Secrets of The Blind” by Siddal

Siddal

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Secrets of The Blind” by Siddal (1996, from the album The Crossing).

Siddal was a dream-pop band from Portsmouth, Virginia who were active between 1991 and about 1997. They released two albums and about four EPs on the amazing Bedazzled Records label. That Washington, DC-based label was short-lived but they made a huge impact on me. That label specialized in gothic/dream-pop, they only had about ten bands on the roster, and they only released 40 titles in their ten-year history, but I was a big fan of them all. I mail-ordered a bunch of records from that mom-and-pop label, and they were always very friendly and very quick with their shipments. Plus, they always included some swag with their shipments. A holiday sampler, a couple of bumper stickers, all sorts of things.

I really miss that label. See also The Curtain Society and An April March as examples of other brilliance from Bedazzled. I might squeeze in one more Bedazzled artist before the year ends. We’ll see.

When Siddal started in 1991, they were four. Then, for a while, they had five members. Before they released their debut long-player The Pedestal in 1995, the band was just Richard Brinkley and Elaine Winters. That’s the way it stayed until they called it quits in about 1999.

They were the first Bedazzled band that I discovered, and they were always my favorite, and the only Bedazzled band that I got to see. I went way out of my way to do it, too. I drove about three hours on a weeknight just to see them, turn around and go right back. That’s the kind of thing that I used to do in 1997. Of their two records, The Crossing is my favorite. I love every song on the album, and this is just the one that I chose today.

“Secrets of The Blind” by Siddal

There’s a lot to like about this. I especially like the piano and the heavily affected, warbly guitar. If I remember correctly, those are the bits that were played with live instruments, while the rest of it was on a loops pedal. This was back before laptops and things like that. The bass and drums are pretty nice, but I’m still more drawn to the piano/guitar bits.

After about two and a half minutes, it starts to turn kind of ‘blah’, but there’s a nice turn at 3:12 to wake you back up. It slows down again, then there’s ten seconds of silence between 5:50 and 6:00. The rest of the song is Winters’ angelic singing, that piano bit that I like so much, and bass.

At 8:24, it’s a longish song, and it’s a little bit challenging, but I think it’s well worth the time investment.

Put it on while you’re doing something else, and you’ll probably find yourself playing it again. And again. Or, if you play it in a dark room with the lights low, you’ll become really relaxed. I used to listen to this record a lot to get me to settle down at bedtime.

Bedazzled Records shut their doors in 2000, so everything has been out of print for a long time. Legal digital copies of this album don’t exist. Physical copies are hard to find, and the ones in the amazon store are crazily expensive. Check it out for yourself.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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