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The Feelies at El Club, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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During the punk rock heyday of the mid-70s the Feelies came out of New Jersey with a jangly, melodic and hooky sound that was combined energy and tunefulness. The quintet's debut album, 1980's "Crazy Rhythms," was a seminal influence on a generation of modern rockers that followed in its wake, and the group remained an underground icon until it split up during 1992.

The good news was that the Feelies regrouped in 2008, and since then it's released a pair of new albums, including this year's "In Between." The group isn't hitting it quite as hard as it did during its first incarnation, but when it does it's always worth hearing...

Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer says recording new music -- "In Between," the Feelies' sixth studio album and first in six years -- is a matter of necessity for the band. "We just really feel that to feel vital as a band you really have to kind of create constantly, do new songs," Mercer, 52, explains by phone from his home in New Jersey. "You can't just keep playing the same stuff -- you can, but then it's just sort of nostalgia, and that's not what we want to do."

The Feelies' are not a prolific group, however, which accounts for the long break between albums. "It takes us a real long time," Mercer acknowledges. "We're real slow (at) writing. A couple years went into the writing part and getting ready to record. Even after it was finished we didn't put it out for awhile; We had it done around the time of the deadline, but we wanted to have a little bit of extra space in case anything popped up."

The Feelies turned 40 in 2006, and next year marks the 10th anniversary of the group's reunion. But those are not the kinds of occasions the group chooses to commemorate. "It just flies by, really -- although it seems like more recent years went by quicker than the earlier years," Mercer says. "Who knows what it's supposed to feel like, anyway. You're just experiencing it for the first time; You can't compare it to anything. I guess to a certain extent having the music be a connection to the past and to your youth unifies it all, but we certainly don't ever kind of dwell on it."

The Feelies

Sunday, July 16. Doors open at 7 p.m.

El Club, 4114 Vernor Highway, Detroit.

Tickets are $35-$60.

Visit elclubdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.elclubdetroit.com

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