cutout xviii – defining eras and the live experience

24 Sep

This edition hit some interesting notes – two of these records, it turns out, end up defining particular eras in my lifetime, even if I didn’t realize it. The others are just really cool records. Also, I this is another one of those mixes where I’ve all the artists live a lot, which to me is just kind of neat. And, I have tickets to see entry #4 next week, which I am greatly looking forward to. Especially the puppet show.

♦ Indigo Girls – Shaming of the Sun: This disc was more-or-less the soundtrack to a transitional period of my life, filling out the background of the spring of ’97, a time when I’d truly given up on teaching and started trying other things for a couple of months before grabbing hold of an opportunity in a strange new city and really starting my “adult” life. I say transition, because there are parts of this record that I associate with Pennsylvania, and parts I associate with Virginia – “Get Out The Map” with it’s plucky banjos will forever remind me of the dumpy little corporate server room I temped in for a while, babysitting a dozen-and-a-half DOS boxes downloading and converting prescription data. the XPN morning show played it every morning…in fact, I think it was playing when I took the call offering me my first “real” job (I think there’s a metaphor there). “Shame On You,” the big radio single, hit Richmond radio stations that summer, and was inescapable, which I didn’t mind, because it’s a great pop record. I don’t know if it’s one of the Girls’ best records, or just one of my favorites because it connected with a big life change for me. Either way, though, “Scooter Boys” simply, undeniably, rocks.

♦ Barenaked Ladies – Maybe You Should Drive: For me, this is another one of those “desert Island discs” I talked about a few cutouts ago. It’s the Ladies’ second full-length record- a much more mature and “grown up” sound after the whimsy of Gordon. It was also the first release that really caught my attention after being introduced to the band by one of @fairiemom’s housemates. When I imagine what “Barenaked Ladies” sounds like, I hear this record: “Alternative Girlfriend.” “Life In A Nutshell.” “Am I The Only One.” The vocal harmonies. The percussive acoustic guitars. The all-Creegan rhythm section. As much as I grew to like Kevin Hearn in the band, there’s just something about Andy Creegan’s piano, and the way it meshed perfectly with Jim’s upright bass that’s been missing in the band’s output since. It’s really beautiful stuff, and kind of intangible, but when you listen to the organ on “Great Provider,” you notice it immediately. This just one of those records I keep coming back to, and I probably always will. It’s really just that good.

♦The Badlees – River Songs: Two desert island discs in one batch…that’s gotta mean something. This one’s so significant I probably ought to give it it’s own entry, but since I’ve already started, I’ll just keep going. It feels like this record, or it’s live equivalent, was playing in the background through my entire college experience, but couldn’t have been, since it didn’t actually get released until 1995. It did come out the year I was finally able to start going to rock shows in music venues that served alcohol, which opened up more opportunities to hear live music, and at that time, and in that place, there was a lot of good live music to be heard. I went to a lot of shows, and most of them involved these guys – I tend to hear this record not in CD order (which starts with “Grill the Sucker” no matter what Polydor re-issue says), but in the order it usually fell in the live set on stage at the Metron or the Chameleon. I hear the extra long breakdown in the middle of “Bendin’ The Rules.” I hear Jeff’s vocals much further out in the mix on “Fear of Falling” (the only rock video with the distinction of having me in it). In my mind, there’s a hell of a lot more yodelling in “I Liked You Better When You Hated Yourself.” Like good music is supposed to do, it seeps into your head and gets inextricably entwined in your memories. This record conjures images of good times out with friends, of spring afternoons and the scent of the University President’s flowers through my dorm window on a Friday afternoon. It captures the feeling of falling in love. You can have this disc when you pry it from my cold dead hands, and even then, I’ll still have the memories burned into the cold, dead synapses of my brain. In the years since this record came out, I’ve had many a conversation with various members of the band, but until now, I never thought to thank them for being part of so many great memories I’ll always treasure. Thanks, guys.

♦They Might Be Giants – Flood: TMBG is one of those bands that I came upon gradually. My first experience, I’m pretty sure, was that episode of Tiny Toon Adventures that had videos in it for “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (not Constantinople),” both of which are on this record. In college, a dorm floormate set me up with copies of Flood and Apollo 18 and I listened the hell out of them. Then I fell off for a while, occasionally running into their stuff over the years, but never quite clicking, even if it’s exactly the kind of thing I should be listening to. Then some of the kid records came out and caught the attention of my offspring when I borrowed “Here Comes Sceince” from the library, and then I dug in. I saw one of the infamous “Flood shows” last year (with Coulton opening) and rekindled my fandom. This is a great, eclectic band that you really ought to be listening to – and Flood is probably the perfect record to dive into – there’s no filler here, it’s all great, front to back (or back to front, as they played it live last year). It really grows on you, and not just “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” which is an unmitigated classic…my personal favorites are “We Want a Rock” and “Road Movie to Berlin.” We all want prosthetic foreheads on our real heads, don’t we?


3 Responses to “cutout xviii – defining eras and the live experience”

  1. 1
    chuck dash parker dot net – your unreliable narrator » Blog Archive » all time record – day two Says:

    […] with the previous record, I reviewed this one here previously, back in September 2011. At the time, I […]

  2. 2
    chuck dash parker dot net – your unreliable narrator » Blog Archive » all time record – day three Says:

    […] with the previous records, I reviewed this one here previously, back in December 2011. However, I’m not going to quote that one directly; I spent most of that capsule review […]

  3. 3
    chuck dash parker dot net – your unreliable narrator » Blog Archive » all-time record, day seven Says:

    […] cutout racks review from a few years […]

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