11.06.2009

FROM THE VAULT: The (Very Nice) Plants – Rock For Horticulture

From the Vault will be a reoccurring feature here on the WOBC blog where fearless DJs plunge into the depths of the station vaults to bring you the freshest stuff gone stale! In addition to a massive vinyl collection, we’re also sitting on hundreds and hundreds of 45s, lots of which are super rad and super rare. We’ll be posting cuts from these recordings for your enjoyment, so let us know what you think!

I’ll include this again at the end, but if you own the rights to any of this music and want it taken down, e-mail wobc (AT) oberlin.edu and we will comply immediately.

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My friend Amiel found this record during filing workgroup last year and thought it looked too funny to pass up. Turns out, it’s pretty damn good, and pretty damn hard to find much information on. From what I can gather, The (Very Nice) Plants were a DC area band playing joints in the early 80s. Go! Records (again, hard to find much information on) released their 4 song 45 “Rock For Horticulture” in 1983 and must have sent it to WOBC where, 26 years later, we found it misfiled.

Rough contemporaries of The Replacements and the Young Fresh Fellows, The (Very Nice) Plants manage to deliver four great little pop gems that sound like glib, “Johnny Be Good” throwbacks. Roller rink organs, Marty McFly guitar solos, plant chants, it’s all here. The 45 is totally solid, but standouts include the dreamy-to-rippin’ “(I Know) It Couldn’t be Right” and “Groovy Girl,” a twangy, guitar-driven rockabilly number.

What happened to The (Very Nice) Plants? Was this music too fun to sustain? Did they rock too hard for horticulture? Were they smothered by riffs, keyboards, hard drugs and the prophetic knowledge of the potential of The lo-fi???

Who knows. No one, maybe? Regardless, enjoy the posted 45 and let us know what you think.

A1. The (Very Nice) Plants – (I Know) It Couldn’t Be Right
A2. The (Very Nice) Plants – Bellman
B1. The (Very Nice) Plants – Groovy Girl
B2. The (Very Nice) Plants – Plant Chant

9 comments to FROM THE VAULT: The (Very Nice) Plants – Rock For Horticulture

  • Wow, these guys are excellent.

    I found this site on DC rock, thought you might like it. Seems like the only thing on the internet about this record, so you might’ve already seen it, but seems pretty well informed and all.

    Keep ‘em coming!

  • Station Manager

    thanks addy,

    the 30underdc site was all the information i could find as well. i tried to get in touch with the dude who used to run their label (i think he runs anti-con now) but haven’t heard back. info to be posted as its found.

  • philip

    I was in this band right after this. Typical dc area rockabilly influence because of tex and billy hancock and we liked punk stuff too. everyone was very young, I joined after this ep and i was 17 then. memebers went on to be in different bands around dc and la.

  • I found this post while surfing the net for music news. Thanks for sharing I’ll be back.

  • Joe Richman

    Crazy to stumble on this!
    I was in the band… and then went to Oberlin and worked at WOBC.
    Which, I guess, solves the mystery of how this record ended up there.
    The (Very Nice) Plants were big at Oberlin… at least during my early morning radio show. But that was back in 1983… before, I think, the steam engine and the printing press.

    Joe Richman

    PS my fellow Plants band members recently found this link… of a kids band (not us) in 2009 preforming our song Plant Chant.
    The internet makes life weird.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUs0dAylLmc

  • We’ve been waiting 27 years for just the right moment to get the band back together.

  • I used to listen to KZUM community radio in Lincoln, Nebraska, and “Plant Chant” got a lot of airplay there back around this time. Every couple of years I do a web search to see if anyone has posted it, but until now I’ve come up empty. Only problem is these links are now dead. Any chance of a re-post?

  • I’ve neither met the band, heard this record before, nor seen that play live, but “Groovy Girl” has been in my repertoire for many years, throughout various bands. I used to play in a band with an Oberlin guy who taught me the song, and it’s such a killer that I never stopped playing it.
    A couple of examples:
    http://youtu.be/2_dsDhs0bjU
    http://youtu.be/CXJe3k7qvlE

    Joe Richman, you’re a god to me!

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