Eleventh Dream Day's first show was in the year of Orwell, and perhaps they should have taken that as some kind of sign. As it was later in their life, their "big break" would serve, at least for a time, to bury them under a burden of corporate obligations and ignorance. Ahh but we are not yet there. This was still the time when Big Black, Naked Raygun, Wax Trax, Touch and Go and those damn buzz cuts were the national faces of Chicago. And then there were the upstarts, like Precious Wax Drippings, Shrimp Boat, Friends of Betty, and of course Eleventh Dream Day (EDD). The band issued their self-titled debut for the new and aptly named Calfornia label, Amoeba in '97 to little fan fare. However, EDD would not remain a sacred secret of Chicago for long. Prairie School Freakout changed all that.
In the newly re-issued liner notes, Byron Coley puts it quite well, explaining that EDD were "rough, ready, and standing on the verge of flight into what seemed like a future of impossible promise...The sounds here are world-beating, and they have an innocent yearning that is absolutely addictive." The record was released in early '88 and soon word spread that the band was a force to be reckoned with live. In no time they were filling Chicago's famed Metro night club. The band began touring nationally and built a kinship with the other guitar bands of that era- X, Husker Du and Yo La Tengo among them. Prairie School Freakout garnered a ton of critical praise and landed them a major label deal with Atlantic. It is still regarded by many as one of the great rock records in the American underground music scene of the late 80's. This kind of career trajectory meant a stint on a major label was inevitable and Atlantic Records came calling. Unfortunately the label's progressive department and junior A+R person were unable to break them on a wider audience, though Dream Day came through with three stellar albums. Again Coley notes that "events and history conspired to prevent EDD from reaching the heights that they might have. It's a real pleasure, both in terms of memory and of contempo-sense-wash -gratification to enjoy this stuff again. Fuck, they were good."
This expanded version of Prairie School Freakout comes completely remastered with liner notes by Byron Coley. Musically the record inludes two bonus tracks which were originally available on the vinyl only Wayne EP. And as that weren't enough, it comes with a bonus CD-Rom featuring live footage of the band from that era and a fold out booklet with photo's and hand bills from days gone by.
This double disc features the complete track listing from both the original Prairie school Freakout, and the Wayne ep, as well as five videos.
1. The Arsonist: 4 / 12 / 87; Cable TV; Directed by Guy Roadruck
2. Watching the Candles Burn: 1988; Middle East Café
3. Among the Pines: 2 / 1/90; Peabody's, Cleveland
4. Through My Mouth: 1988; Middle East Café
5. Awake I Lie: 1988; Middle East Café (thrilljockey. com)