The Sneetches

Another one that passed me by, the Sneetches were a Bay Area group that formed in '85 and dissolved in '95. It seems they were sort of a band out of time—too dry and composed to be part of the rock scene of the day, too hooky to be part of the college circuit, too rough to be a product of the jangle obsession, and too clean to be a shoegaze act riding a wave of distortion.

Mike Levy, the vocalist, had a certain twang that evokes David Crosby, and, instrumentally, everything feels as though it was written in paisley, daffodils, sunflowers. There's this pastel romanticism and sunbleached peacefulness to them that puts them in line with psych and baroque pop acts of the 60s and 70s more than their peers, though their production is undeniably sharp, clean, a product of the 80s. Their drumming is, too. Forceful, pure, and tight.

Interestingly, their drummer, Daniel Swan, was a founding member of the Cortinas, a clear-eyed and earnest English punk band from the 70s.