These were my Pazz and Jop entries for last year. See it in its Internet glory by going here. This is important. Or maybe not. The new Pazz and Jop streets on Feb. 3 (Tuesday). That’s when I will be posting again.
# artist title label points
1 Oneida Each One, Teach One Jagjaguwar 16
2 Drive Like Jehu Yank Crime Swaami 13
3 Iron and Wine The Creek Drank the Cradle Sub Pop 12
4 Tony, Caro and John All on the First Day Normal/Shadoks Music 10
5 Xiu Xiu Knife Play 5 Rue Christine 9
6 Pavement Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe Matador 9
7 Hot Snakes Suicide Invoice Swaami 8
8 Mastodon Remission Relapse 8
9 Destroyer This Night Merge 8
10 25 Suaves 1938 Bulb 7
# artist title label
1 Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Machine” Touch and Go
2 Alien Alltopless “A Sheet of Ren and Stimpy Acid” Likwid Dreads
3 Out Hud “Dad, There’s a Little Phrase Called Too Much Information” Kranky
4 Disk Drive “My ’80s Gym Trash Uniform Isn’t Going To Look So Cute in Five Years” Very Tee
5 John Wilkes Booze “Marc Bolan Makes Me Want to Fuck” Family Vineyard
6 Interpol “PDA” Matador
7 The Haskells “Taking the City By Storm” Milwaukee Hits
8 Business Casual “Let’s Just Do It on the Conference Table” You Ruined the Potluck
9 The Plural Nouns “I Sure Am Glad I Didn’t Take Yesterday Off….” Hang In There Ian
10 Peaches “Casanova”
Two co-workers are discussing James Brown’s recent problems and his Homeless or Famous? (my game) mugshot. I’m standing in front of the microwave, about 15 feet away. Talk veers towards what type of hairdo James should go with next.
“I think he should get a fade” seemingly translates into “ignore the loudly interloping white guy.”
In the Summer of 2002, I wrote two pieces for Sound Collector Audio Review #3. One ran, one did not. This, obviously, is the latter. After almost two years of forgetting that it was sitting in some folder on my C drive, I found it, still kind of dug it, and wanted to give it to the 43 or so people visiting my website on a daily basis. To note: I did not discover this album upon its release in 1987. The events and scenes below cover a slightly later (89 – 92) period. I think.
Dinosaur (Jr.)’s You’re Living All Over Me and three flashes in its wake. Plus, a golden utilization of the First Song Rule.
Sunday Night Shot In The Rump
My first life changing musical experience came out of the TV. Not the radio, not a stereo spinning an album, not a live show, but the TV – MTV to damn myself further in your eyes. My first culturally developmental phase was marked by many a Sunday night armed with blank tapes, planted in front of the Kevin Seal-powered 120 Minutes.
To insure that I’d be rummaging through the kitchen or looking down into a book, the opening riffs and visuals of “Little Furry Things” were hilariously programmed to follow the closing notes of a Michelle Shocked video. But they really weren’t riffs at all. This was an abducted child screaming inside of a discarded fridge, guitar distortion that didn’t make any sense, and the animated version of waking up with AC window unit sickness. It lasted for half a minute before segueing into My First Pop Hook Obsession and I was fucked forever. Who were these freaks? By what was on the screen, I could only gather that they lived in abandoned houses and got their kicks from rolling appliances down hills into an illegal dumps. They drove Ford LTD station wagons and performed this magical music in basements to a handful of girls wearing boxer shorts on the outside of their jeans. They liked to take straight pens and scratch animated static into 8MM film. Going forward, whenever I was alone in the house, the tape would go in the slot. I would run around the living room in a fit of imagined self-brilliance until the rewind button got it again.
I did not have punk rock friends; I was too “normal” to penetrate the blinders worn around those parts. Sans the occasional glaring example, I did not hang around extroverted weirdos. I was fairly preppy, in a poor sense, but with a ravenous musical appetite that stayed in the closet for a year or two. My closest friend had both a car and the curiosity to not flee the room whenever I played Husker Du. I had christened my automobile honeymoon with a DUI, so this guy was the ride to a music outlet called Gophers, or Peaknuckles, or Giggles, or I’m playing in the bullshit part of the yard for those names, but what I’m not joshing about is having to buy You’re Living All Over Me on factory cassette. Let me see a show of hands……who remembers the time between having a record player attached to the balsawood stereo you got at age eight, and actually purchasing the record player that would, in turn, signify the beginning of the period where you never get laid? Ok, same page we stand proud…..so factory cassette it had to be. Factory cassette clawing its way painfully out of shitty jambox speakers, filling my friend’s apartment (roommates: registered nurse mom, little sister, dog, cable TV, dogshit) with this outsider metal bubblegum pop bombshell. This apartment was hidden in one of those complexes unwisely built around a manmade pond and canal system, for that unique Venice meets Divorced Death Metal Daddy Club feel. They had their perks, these rows upon rows of pregnancy scares and Memorial Day Top 500 Classic Rock Countdown Cookouts. The landlord will probably fish the unwanted pets out of the swimming pool before you sign a lease, and maybe the resident dealer will come over on a paddleboat with some stepped-on Ecstasy. Your toddler, Gavin or Gabe or whatever you named him, will be able to identify wildlife and expand its vocabulary at an early age:
That backdrop rendered my introduction to You’re Living All Over Me a four-song event, because The Percocet Fairy, or “Mom” as my buddy called her, would frown into the room every time J. Mascis whined a chorus. “They make music like that?”
The first minute and five seconds of You’re Living All Over Me were shortly worn down to underwater fidelity. I didn’t get the lyrics to “Little Furry Things”, but they still hung the moon over my world. What does “Rabbit falls away from me, faster than I crawl” mean? Is that even right? Am I allowed to change “red” to “the sunlight brings the red out in your eyes” to “meds”? I didn’t get that right either, did I?
The words to most of the other tracks made sense, albeit a stuffed toy type (1) of sense yelled by a kid separated from his mom in the aisles of a Jitney Jungle. Everything after “Little Furry Things”, in perfectly sequenced order, would be awarded it’s own Favorite Song Section during this year of my life. I wasn’t into any of the Blacks (Sabbath, Flag, or Oak Arkansas) yet, so much of the sonic reference points were lost until later, and Neil Young was just some guy with a funny video. You’re Living All Over Me is the reason I would start curating a money-sucking record collection. My favorite album before I lost my virginity is my favorite album today, and it was made by a twenty-one year old.
1. Dinosaur popularized the assignment of cuddly-toy/cartoon imagery to music that was anything but. The Melvins would pick it up next. It was not a forced artistic statement, like Sonic Youth’s Dirty, but closer to the language of genuine loners.