The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

“The Bells Ring,” Again: New Wave Outfit Swimming Pool Q’s Reissue A&M Works on Deluxe Compilation

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Swimming Pool Q'sHere’s a surprising treat from earlier in the summer: New Wave outfit The Swimming Pool Q’s recently re-released their two albums for A&M Records with a host of bonus content.

The Atlanta-based quintet – anchored by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Calder and guitarist Bob Elsey (the band’s principal songwriters) and singer/keyboardist Anne Richmond Boston – enjoyed local success on the DB Records label (alongside acts like Pylon and Love Tractor) before making the jump to the majors with their 1985 self-titled album on A&M. Propelled by a catchy MTV hit, “The Bells Ring,” The Q’s were a little darker than their jangly brethren down south, which was good enough for Lou Reed, who had the band open for him while touring the New Sensations album.


But the band never enjoyed the same kind of college-rock breakthrough as others on the Georgia rock scene, and A&M dropped them after a second album, Blue Tomorrow. Another EP for DB and a 1989 album for Capitol, World War Two Point Five (neither of which featured Boston), was followed by a lengthy hiatus. The band reformed to promote an expanded reissue of their first DB album in 2001, and a new album, 2003’s The Royal Academy of Reality, soon followed.

The Swimming Pool Q’s newest project, The A&M Years 1984-1986, was funded with the help of fans on Kickstarter, and is available in two distinct packages. One is a simple two-disc set featuring remastered versions of both albums, The Swimming Pool Q’s and Blue Tomorrow. The other is a four-disc set that adds a bonus CD and DVD of rare and unreleased material. These include single remixes from New Wave/alt-rock heavy-hitters Mike Howlett and Scott Litt as well as several studio versions of long-unreleased live favorites. Thirteen promo clips, rare television appearances and homemade featurettes feature on the accompanying DVD.

This intriguing portion of New Wave history is available to order now; a full track listing and Amazon links are after the jump.

The Swimming Pool Q’s, The A&M Years 1984-1986 (Bar/None/Cipher Bureau/A&M/Universal Music Special Markets CX 29015, 2013)

Standard 2CD / Deluxe 3CD+1DVD

Disc 1: The Swimming Pool Q’s (released as A&M SP-5015, 1985)

  1. The Bells Ring
  2. Pull Back My Spring
  3. Purple Rivers
  4. The Knave
  5. Some New Highway
  6. Just Property
  7. Silver Slippers
  8. She’s Bringing Down the Poison
  9. Celestion
  10. Sacrificial Altar

Disc 2: Blue Tomorrow (originally released as A&M SP-5107, 1986)

  1. Now I’m Talking About Now
  2. She’s Lookin’ Real Good
  3. Pretty on the Inside
  4. Laredo Radio
  5. Wreck Around
  6. More Than One Heaven
  7. Corruption
  8. Blue Tomorrow
  9. A Dream in Gray
  10. Big Fat Tractor

Disc 3: Pow Wow Hour: Rarities 1982-1986

  1. Power and Light
  2. Baby Today
  3. The Bells Ring (Country Version)
  4. Fading Star
  5. Purple Rivers (Mike Howlett Remix) (from A&M double 7″ single AM 300 (U.K.), 1986)
  6. Big No Vacancy
  7. Pretty on the Outside (1985 Demo)
  8. Think
  9. She’s Lookin’ Real Good (Mike Howlett Remix)
  10. Last Goodbye
  11. Blue Tomorrow (1985 Demo)
  12. Tears of a Clown
  13. Miss Sensitivity
  14. More Than One Heaven (Scott Litt Remix) (12″ promo A-side – A&M SP-17399, 1986)
  15. El Presidente (from The Firing Squad for God EP – DB Records DB 87, 1987)
  16. Make Me Bigger Than The USA
  17. More Than One Heaven (Jeff Calder Vocal)

Disc 4: DVD – Auto Zoom: Scenes from the A&M Years

  1. The Swimming Pool Q’s Visit Turtle’s Records, 1984
  2. Pull Back My Spring (Let’s Dance, North Carolina TV show, 1985)
  3. She’s Bringing Down the Poison (Live @ The 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., 1985)
  4. Sacrificial Altar (Live @ The 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C., 1985)
  5. L’il Drum Dude (holiday promo clip, 1985)
  6. The Swimming Pool Q’s on Tour, 1984
  7. The Bells Ring (This Week’s Music, 1985)
  8. Jeff and J.E. on Atlanta’s Prime Entertainment, 1985 – Host: Jan Hickel
  9. The Wig of Sensation (Live @ The Piedmont Park Arts Festival, Atlanta, 1983)
  10. Tears of a Clown (Live @ The Capri Theater, Atlanta – 1/1/1987)
  11. The Bells Ring (MTV’s Rock Influences, 1984)
  12. The Q’s Boat Tour with Capt. Bill, 1984
  13. Hip Hype (A&M promo video, 1986)

Written by Mike Duquette

August 27, 2013 at 12:30

2 Responses

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  1. Prior to reading this piece, I had NEVER heard of the Swimming Pool Q’s. I’m no new wave scholar by any stretch, but I like to think I’ve heard of many of the bands, both big and small, of the era, but the SPQs totally flew under my radar. Curious, I listened to a bunch of samples online, and, man, what have I been missing all these years! These guys were good! I immediately found the deluxe box for a really nice price and snapped it up, but it seems that it’s getting hard to find. A lot of places are completely out of stock on it, and it didn’t come out all that long ago.

    Chief Brody

    August 27, 2013 at 15:40

  2. FYI, you can get their first album “The Deep End” (dB, 1981) on CD (out-of-print) or MP3 download and their final album,”World War Two Point Five” (Capitol, 1989) on CD (also out-of-print). To my knowledge, though, their fourth album, “Firing Squad For God (dB, 1987), has never been reissued on CD or MP3.

    Randy Anthony

    August 27, 2013 at 16:01

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