Emiel Spoelder’s Top 10 The Dream Syndicate Tracks

Emiel Spoelder is the director and producer of Beyond the Days of The Dream Syndicate, a new documentary film about American rock band The Dream Syndicate. It tells a story of “fast success, lost friendships, major label struggles”, with appearances by current and former members of The Dream Syndicate as well as Chris Robinson, Ryan Adams, Howe Gelb, Sandy Pearlman, Russ Tolman, Stephen McCarthy, Scott McCaughey, David Fricke, Pat Thomas and others.

We asked Emiel Spoelder for his top 10 The Dream Syndicate tracks.

10. “Forest For The Trees” (from Live At Raji’s, 1989)
The studio version of this song is pretty good, but Live At Raji’s it’s just amazing. It’s more up-tempo and Paul B. Cutler’s guitar work cuts through so amazingly well. Love Dennis Duck’s fills here. “It looks like a page out of paradise, but only half as good at twice the price” – these are some of my favourite lines Steve Wynn wrote.

9. “Boston” (from Live At Raji’s, 1989)
Same story here. The recording on Out Of The Grey is fine, but just can’t beat this live version. Steve’s lyrics about Van Morrison living in Boston drew me in from the start. The guitar solo is one of Paul’s favourites he ever recorded. I couldn’t agree more. The melody is just so beautiful.

8. “Tell Me When It’s Over” (from This Is Not The New Dream Syndicate Album….Live, 1984)
Of course the version of this song on The Days Of Wine And Roses is an absolute classic, but this live version they did with Tommy Zvoncheck on keyboard always has a special place in my heart. The moment the band kicks in after the keyboard intro gives me such a kick every time I hear it. The amazing riff that the song is known for gets accentuated even more with the keyboard part and I just love that.

7. “How Did I Find Myself Here?” (from How Did I Find Myself Here?, 2017)
This song was the biggest surprise for me on their first album with Jason Victor. Dennis’ beat with Mark Walton’s bass lines lay down such a great groove for Steve and Jason to turn this in epic long guitar spectacle.

6. “Burn” (from Medicine Show, 1984)
One of Steve’s first story driven songs that I heard. The melody and lyrics work so well together here. Sandy Pearlman’s big production turns this into such a big sounding overwhelming masterpiece.

5. “Recovery Mode” (from These Times, 2019)
This is one of those songs that really grew on me. It took me a few years to notice how stunningly beautiful the chorus is. The keyboards combined with the background vocals lift me up every time I hear it.

4. “Sure Thing” (from The Dream Syndicate EP, 1982)
The driving rhythm and the incredibly raw guitar sounds are such a treat. Simple, but so effective.

3. “That’s What You Always Say” (from The Days of Wine and Roses, 1982)
Such a classic The Dream Syndicate song I never get tired of hearing. Karl Precoda’s guitar solo is all feedback and noise and so in your face. Pure greatness.

2. “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” (from The Complete Live At Raji’s, 2004)
Another one from Live At Raji’s. Yes, I do prefer great live recordings. This opening song of the set is such a banger. And again, Paul’s guitar solo is such a masterpiece; melody, fury, precision, speed, it’s all there.

1. “Let It Rain” (from The Days Of Wine And Roses Live at the Agora Ballroom, 1983)
I had to include a cover song here. In the early years this song has been on their set list for quite a while. The band turns this Eric Clapton song in such a raw guitar extravaganza.




The Dream Syndicate is an American rock band first active from 1981 to 1989, and reunited since 2012. The band is closely associated with the Paisley Underground music scene (Green on Red, The Bangles, Rain Parade, The Three O’Clock, The Long Ryders, and has released 8 studio albums and 3 live albums.

The band is led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Steve Wynn and current members include Dennis Duck (drums), Mark Walton (bass) and Jason Victor (guitar).

Their latest album is Ultraviolet Battle Hymns and True Confessions (2022) which blends vintage Krautrock, Eno-like ambience, Neu-inspired rhythmic groove and a Californian sun- baked sheen into a classic psychedelic, melodic hue. Chris Cacavas joins on keyboards with further contributions from Stephen McCarthy, Kendra Smith and Marcus Tenney.





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