Surfwax America (mp3)

So, a couple of nights ago my boyfriend woke me up in the middle of the night (well, he says I woke up spontaneously, but whatever) to tell me how bad the new Weezer album is. I guess you could preview songs on iTunes or something? And they're all terrible? I don't know, he just kept saying, "God, it's so bad. It's so, so bad. I was expecting it to be bad... but not this bad. It's just terrible." The whole time he was talking I just kept thinking about that time I had The Heart of Darkness as my summer reading book for school. I kept expecting him to shout, "The horror! The horror!" and then collapse. It was a dramatic moment. Then he came home from work the other day and said that he pre-ordered it on not one but two different formats. Say what? I guess old nineties habits die hard.

Anyway, I suppose the point is that some people just have those bands/artists that they keep loving even when they start to make godawful albums that leave you feeling alone and betrayed and wondering why you ever liked them to begin with (this is sort of how I feel about both Hole and Liz Phair).

I basically stopped paying attention to Weezer when the Green album came out and I've considered that to be a pretty sound move. That said, their debut album is still one of my favorite CDs to listen to in the car.

"Surf Wax America" has always been my favorite Weezer song. I was only seven when Weezer's first album came out, but I was already headlong into a surfing obsession that lasted well into my teens -- I read all of Frederick Kohner's Gidget novels and would watch any terrible sixties beach party movie that showed up on television. The fact that there's a song called "There's No Surf in Cleveland" was more or less heartbreaking for me.

Anyway, it's no surprise that I would latch on to a pretty ridiculous song about surfing written by people who probably don't surf.

(Side note: the similes in this song! Whoa! I love the continuous comparisons made between the ocean and alcohol -- "the sea is foaming like a bottle of beer," that one about the waves rolling like a keg, yadda, yadda, yadda.)

Side note: I am well-aware that this photo features a seriously out-of-date Weezer line-up, but would you believe that no good promo photos of Weezer exist! Also, I don't really care about their current line-up anyway.

Surfwax America (mp3)

The Pretenders

The Wait (mp3)

My mind is going in all different directions on this post, so I'll try and keep things coherent.

1. Today is Friday! Well, not anymore! I initially started this post on Friday while I was waiting for the last few hours of the working week to pass me by. Of course, I didn't get it finished & now it's Monday and I'm waiting for the last 30 minutes before lunch hour to pass by. So at least the theme of "waiting" has retained some relevance.

2. Growing up, my dad really pushed me to be aware of female musicians, especially female musicians who played instruments other than the bass and/or were the driving creative force behind musical projects. While I took pretty quickly to Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, & a host of other contemporary girl bands, my dad never quit pushing Chrissie Hynde -- as far as he was concerned, she was made to be a role-model for me if for no other reason than the fact that she was born in Akron, OH. Of course, my dad is also a lifelong Pretenders fan & growing up I was often regaled with stories about "that time your dad shoved that girl down to keep her from getting Martin Chambers' drum sticks." (To this day, the drum sticks sit on top of my dad's dresser and he maintains that this girl, whoever she was, "fell.")

The Wait (mp3)


Peeking Shows His Ignorance (mp3)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Rose Melberg and her new album, Homemade Ship and in that post I sort of talked a little bit about the growth process I went through when it comes to Rose's music. I first started listening to Gaze in high school when I ordered their Shake the Pounce album, but it wasn't until I was in college that I really grew to love their music & was because of songs like "Peeking Shows His Ignorance."

I guess I have this reputation for being sort of uptight/politically correct/whatever, so when my boyfriend caught me listening to this in the car he was like, "Of course you would like this." As in: of course you, the aforementioned uptight politically correct girl, would be really into a song about the difficult process of calling someone out after they've said something questionable/offensive.

And yes, of course I would love it. How could I not love a song with lines like: I guess I'm just typical "university", typical "older", "politically correct"? Not since the Parcels' "Minor Disturbance Grrrl" has a song so closely lined up with my personal sensibilities.

Peeking Shows His Ignorance (mp3)

Guided By Voices

The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory (mp3)
I am a Scientist (mp3)
I am a Tree (mp3)

So, a couple of days ago I read this pretty intense post about Guided By Voices on I Could Die Tomorrow (really, check it out) and it got me thinking about GBV & why I listen to them and what goes on in my brain when I hear certain GBV songs.

So, here are three memories about three different Guided By Voices songs, originally written a few months ago, these thoughts & experiences still ring true for me.

The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory

cold hands touching my face
don't hide - the snake can see you
old friends you might not remember
fading away from you

Drew and I are lying in bed listening to Bee Thousand, we are not talking. When "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory" starts, Drew breaks the silence by saying, "I heard he wrote this about an acid trip." Suddenly the lyrics seem a lot more sinister. I can hear the recorder being played in the background and am ripped in two, thinking of two entirely different things. 1) Is this recorder left over from Pollard's days as an elementary school teacher? 2) Ang, slumped on the floor of the Cardboard Mansion, her tiny hands wrapped around an old Cleveland Browns mug filled with rum. "I think you should do acid, I really think you could handle it." Britt sitting up sharply, her pigtails askew and her face unwashed, "Ang, Kathee could handle anything.

(For a completely different take, see this video of a German choir performing the song.)

I am a Scientist

i am a scientist - i seek to understand me
all of my impurities and evils yet unknown
i am a journalist - i write to you to show you
i am an incurable
and nothing else behaves like me

My bedroom windows face the east and the room is filled with harsh morning light when Drew places his hand on the back of my neck and pulls me into a kiss. "I am a Scientist" is on the stereo. I should be thinking about this kiss -- one of the first in a new relationship -- but instead I am thinking about riding in the car with my aunt, how she put a cassette in and said, "This is my favorite band. I love them more than I've ever loved any other band before, ever," and I thought she was being ridiculous, but then this song started and by the time it was over, I found myself thinking, "This is my favorite band, I love them more than I've ever loved any other band before, ever." I was in elementary school.

I am a Tree

i am a tree - counting my rings will do no good
i won't live long but I would be with you if I could
when you take flight, remember me to one who lives there
since you have flown, there's something special in the air

It is Thanksgiving and my dad is drunk. Drew and I are the last to get to my aunt's house for dinner and my dad has put himself in charge of the stereo. He points toward Mark's CDs, his finger indicating the Hardcore UFOs box set and he says, "I used to own that, I won it here, at a raffle." He pauses, taking a big swig from a bottle of Chimay and says, "Gave it back, though. There was only one song I really liked -- Pollard didn't even write it." Drew is working hard to make conversation, I know my dad makes him nervous and I am on edge, "Really? What song?" My dad is unsure -- there are so many, he says -- but he settles on "I am a Tree." "This one," he says, "this one." And he starts it, mimes playing the first few riffs, and Drew's face lights up -- "That's one of my favorites too!"

The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory (mp3)
I am a Scientist (mp3)
I am a Tree (mp3)


Smoke (mp3, Mediafire)

This post has been sitting in Blogspot's "drafts" folder for almost a week now -- it's funny how things happen like that, how you start something so small and simple and find yourself without the time to complete it properly. It rained almost all week last week, I stayed inside and read Watership Down by Richard Adams and thought about how I'm just not ready for winter yet.

I like songs that are repetitive -- songs that have a certain I don't know what to call it. The best word that I can think to describe the sound is "circular." Circular songs are what I like to listen to when I ride my bike. When I was in college, circular songs are what I would listen to when I was writing a paper (or when I was lying in bed bemoaning my very existence.)

"Smoke" by Bedhead is one such circular song. It seems to spin around and around in a simple way, building on itself & then fading away, leaving you feeling deeply reassured.

Smoke (mp3, Mediafire)