Game Theory - Photo by Robert Toren

Game Theory – Photo by Robert Toren

Omnivore Recordings—run by some wily music biz vets who’ve been doing some really interesting 1980s reissues in the last few years—has announced a plan to rerelease the catalog of hugely underrated ’80s California flower-pop band, Game Theory. Primarily the outlet for leader Scott Miller, Game Theory were as fruitful as any act from the “Paisley Undergound” movement of the early ’80s, and predated the lilting lo-fi indie rock of the new millenium. Miller and his various cohorts made strange, introspective, heavily Big Star-indebted jangle-pop, piloted up and away by Miller’s high vocals, and eventually ventured far out of the Rickenbacker ring of its original scene. Miller was always his harshest critic; and his quirky, intricate work (including the deeper, darker Loud Family project of the ’90s) continually hovered in the “cult” zone (i.e., it didn’t sell well). Hence proper reissues of Game Theory material have always been a tough project to wrangle. Sadly, Miller passed away April, 2013, and one can only hope he was aware of how incrementally influential his sounds were.
Witness Blaze Of Glory, the first, long lost Game Theory album from 1982, and the initial Omnivore reissue. On it, Miller utilizes some primitive electro sounds, gets the jangle in gear, and with a wee hint of punk residue, sounding today like a 2014 indie-pop band landing in 1982, mutated, from a Star Trek transporter. Though released on a 1993 CD compilation that’s probably harder to find than the original LP, if that’s possible, Omnivore finally gets it all right with the original 12 songs plus 15 bonus tracks featuring early Miller solo stuff and songs from the pre-Game Theory band, Alternate Learning. Loads of liner notes and photos round out the set, available September 2 on CD and vinyl with download card. Plans for reissues of Real Nighttime and the sprawling, shouldabeen classic Lolita Nation are in the works. For now, even fans of Game Theory probably have never heard much of what’s coming on Blaze Of Glory.
Check out the reissue trailer below.