Felt were an alternative rock band founded in Birmingham, England in 1979 and led by the mononymous Lawrence. The band's name was inspired by Tom Verlaine's emphasis of the word "felt" in the Television song "Venus". They existed for ten years, throughout the 1980s, during which time they released ten singles and ten albums.
Felt have been cited as an influence by Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, as well as by alternative rock bands Manic Street Preachers,Girls, and The Tyde.
Lawrence established Felt in 1979 with the release of the single "Index", a self-published solo recording. A noisy effort unlike Felt's subsequent records, it was later awarded single of the week by Dave McCullough in music paper Sounds.
With Lawrence on vocals and guitar, the band was formed properly in 1980 with the addition of schoolfriend Nick Gilbert (on drums) and local guitarist Maurice Deebank. Becoming co-writer with Lawrence, Deebank's classical style of playing would provide the band's signature sound in its early years.
The band performed as a trio before deciding that bass guitar was needed. Gilbert switched to bass and drummer Tony Race was added. He was replaced soon after by Gary Ainge who would remain the only constant member besides Lawrence throughout the rest of Felt's existence.
Felt signed to Cherry Red Records and their first single as a band, "Something Sends Me to Sleep", was released in 1981. Their first album, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, followed the next year. Gilbert left and was replaced on bass by Mick Lloyd. The band's lineup would then remain unchanged through their next two albums.
In 1985, for the recording of their fourth album, keyboard player Martin Duffy was added and Marco Thomas became bassist.Ignite the Seven Cannons was produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins and featured Elizabeth Fraser on the single "Primitive Painters". The song reached the top of the UK independent singles chart.
Deebank departed soon after, prompting a shift in Felt's sound with Duffy's keyboards becoming more central. The lead guitar position would subsequently be filled by an ever-changing succession of players.
The band moved to Creation Records in 1986 and released Let the Snakes Crinkle Their Heads to Death, the first of two instrumental albums they would record. Their next album, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, was a conventional collection of songs that gained the band praise and would become regarded by many as their best.
In 1989 Lawrence declared it had been his intention all along to release ten singles and ten albums in ten years and, having done so, announced the end of Felt. After releasing their last album, Me and a Monkey on the Moon, and undertaking a short tour the band split up. Lawrence went on to form Denim and later, Go Kart Mozart. Duffy joined Primal Scream. Ainge would later play with Vic Godard.
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