Record Review: Trees – Sleep Convention DLX RM [part 1]

Rubellan Remasters ‎| UC | CD | 2018 | RUBY05CD

Trees: Sleep Convention DLX RM US CD [2018]

  1. Come Back
  2. Shock Of The New
  3. Delta Sleep
  4. No Stranger
  5. Midnight In America
  6. 11:00 A.M.
  7. Wildwood
  8. India
  9. Gotta Moon
  10. Red Car
  11. Come Back (Alternate Version)
  12. 11:00 A.M. (Alternate Version)
  13. Fire
  14. Never Believe It
  15. Searchin’
  16. Runnin’ Wild
  17. Devil On A String
  18. Move On
  19. Don’t Look In Her Eyes
  20. In A Booth
  21. Live Like You
  22. Pandora’s Box

I heard about Trees, a.k.a. Dane Conover for the first …and last time in issue # 79 of Trouser Press magazine from November 1982. Publisher and founder gave the album “Sleep Convention” the kind of rave review that always made me stand up and take notice. But that and six dollars will get you a chai latte. In spite of having a great interest in buying this album, I can honestly say that I had never seen a copy for sale until last summer, when I was shopping for music in Los Angeles. By which time it was already out on CD format with a dozen bonus tracks! I stayed my hand on the LP then, but after hearing this CD, I am doubting my decision to forego the LP which I would have bought on any day from 1982-1017. It’s not redundant to have an album this great on multiple formats!

So apparently, Dane Conover was in the San Diego New Wave band Puppies, whom I’d not heard of in their time. Dane played keys and co-wrote the tunes there. They have a 1981 indie EP and 7″ single on Stiff Records to their credit, but now this band’s oeuvre is on my want list. The EP is not going for cheap, so I may never hear that one. Mr. Conover had built up quite a collection of songs by the time he recorded this opus and had plenty of chops to make them happen in more ways than one.

Once he signed to MCA Records as Trees, he linked up with engineer Earl Mankey in his Thousand Oaks studio and holed up for a month making this eye-wideningly great debut album. Conover played everything but the drums on “Sleep Convention” and his take on meticulously constructing busy but gratifying technopop arrangements all by himself must mark him as some sort of pop savant.

Next: …But What About The Tunes?

About postpunkmonk

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7 Responses to Record Review: Trees – Sleep Convention DLX RM [part 1]

  1. Oooh this sounds most intriguing! Looking forward to the review.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – So am I! I’m slammed right now so time is scant!


      • Marisa Conover says:

        Thank you for such a nice review of Dane’s album! You mentioned you were also interested in Dane’s previous band Puppies, before Trees. Here is a live video of Puppies back in 1981. You can see a few more Puppies videos up on youtube….


        • postpunkmonk says:

          Marisa Conover – Welcome to the comments! Thanks for sharing the Puppy Love. I love your duet version of “Come Back” – it’s a hoot. How weird was it having an argument on tape right up front with the guy who would eventually be your husband? I guess it broke the ice.


          • Marisa Conover says:

            Doing the “argument” with Dane on “Come Back” wasn’t weird at all because we thought it was funny. We improvised that argument on the mic in one take. Dane wanted to also smash a bunch of dishes and glasses, but Earle wouldn’t let him, so he banged on the piano instead! I’m glad you enjoyed it and the rest of the album :-)


  2. Dane Conover says:

    Many thanks for your in depth assessment of Sleep Convention! I’m glad it’s again making the rounds ~ of all reviews over the years, this is top shelf. Your analysis reveals the album in a fresh way, putting it into historical perspective heretofore impossible! Kudos ~


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Dane Conover – Welcome to the comments! Hah! We’re all about penetrating analysis here at PPM! I think that you really captured a moment with this album, and it needed all the room I gave it. As you pointed out the technology was changing quickly at that time when digital tech was just getting poised to make serious inroads. I have to say that I do prefer the analog sounds. I hope that more of your music reaches the public ear moving forward. It definitely was to my detriment that it took nearly 40 years to hear this album. I should have been championing this one all along, but thankfully I was at least aware of it from Ira Robbins rave review in Trouser Press at the time.


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