I used to relentlessly dig through music magazines to fulfill my information cravings about bands we played at the college radio station back when I was a student. Those were the resources we had. No MySpace pages, no Facebook, no Google searches. I don’t submit this as some 21st century variation on complaints about uphill treks through snow both to and from school (though I had to deal with that too), but simply as preface to noting how often I knew next to nothing about the bands that I played repeatedly on the radio. If their releases were significant enough to get the attention of CMJ we had about as much biographical information as they could slip into a sentence or two before getting down to the business of describing the chiming guitars. This was at the cusp of the nineteen-nineties, when R.E.M. had enormous influence on the music pitched to college radio. CMJ had cause to describe chiming guitars a lot.
While I can find all sorts of info on The Chant now, my recollection is that they were one of the many mystery bands that took up honored shelf space in the C Stacks of the station, that part of the music library reserved for those artists we were reasonably sure would stir no recognition whatsoever from the general populace. I could be wrong. Maybe I knew plenty about The Chant. Maybe I knew where they were from and all sorts of intimate details about their touring schedules and writing process. But I think of them as completely unknown except for the songs that popped off of their records. In a way, that’s the most complimentary way to frame them in my mind. I completely romanticize those bands.
The only thing I knew about them was the only thing I needed to know. Their music was great. And it did include some chiming guitars from time to time.
(Disclaimer: Searching The Chant at Amazon brings up a bunch of Benedictine Monks records. Some real digging is required before finding listings for this The Chant and even then the albums are represented by those big blank panes that are the colossal online retailer’s way of admitting defeat. So I’m going to speculate this material is out of print and unavailable for purchase in a way that will provide remuneration to both the band and the proprietor of your friendly neighborhood record store. The song is posted here with that understanding. Still, if someone who’s been authorized to make requests and demands regarding the distribution contacts me and says “Hey, knock it off,” I will absolutely go ahead and knock it off.)