Songs »Kiss Them For Me

by Siouxsie and the Banshees (1991)

Kiss Them For Me will always call to my memory the hallways of junior high.

I had bought an oversized Siouxsie and the Banshees tee based solely on my love for this exotic 120 minutes hit (which, of course I owned in cassingle format).

A really cool mom schooled me on Siouxsies’ history when she saw me wearing it (that mom later got arrested for running a brothel, but was super nice, had the kindest son and is the reason I knew about the origins of punk when I did).

This 90’s comeback which featured a very sexy Siouxsie in sequins and champagne video is perfect listening for those pining for the best the 90’s had to offer (aside from naive optimism and allowances from our parents.)

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Posted on March 24, 2012

Albums »Come on Pilgrim

by The Pixies (1987)

I vividly remember listening to Come on Pilgrim with headphones in my room after receiving it as a birthday present and being absolutely thrilled by the lyric “you are the son of a motherfucker”. Ha! Foul language and my parents would have no idea!

Beyond that, The Pixies were just game changing for me. Rock music sounded new and different and that old stuff just didn’t work anymore.

The Pixies were angry, whiny, melodic, silly, serious, inventive, and straight forward all at once. Only an underground band at first that only got air time on college radio is now considered “classic” even by old classmates that wouldn’t have been caught dead at the time.

Come on Pilgrim is still one of my favorites and the band’s first rough release. It still packs a primal punch and there’s not a bad song on it.

It’s hard to write about an album that’s kind of been with me for so long and is so familiar but if you somehow missed this one, it’s a must.

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Posted on February 4, 2012

Albums »Chronic Town

R.E.M. Chronic Town album artR.E.M. (1982)

Sure, R.E.M went on to become a pretty big band, but I’ve always thought their first EP contains some of their best work. I hadn’t listened to these songs for a long time, but a fairly recent interview with Tucker Martine on All Songs Considered put me back in the mood and I dug up my copy of Dead Letter Office.

All the elements that would propel the band first to the top of the college charts and then onward and upward to the real big time when they signed with Warner Brothers (the first time, back in 1988 and then again, for like $80 million, in 1996) are pretty much fully formed: Peter Buck’s signature urgent, jangly guitar tone, Stipe’s mumbly and oblique lyrics, Mike Mills’s thoughtful – even occasionally playful – bass lines, and Bill Berry’s masterful fills would serve the band well up to the release of Document; and that’s partially what’s so wild about this record: the point of view comes across so complete, so… so wholly developed that the only other debut recording I can draw a comparison to is that of another jangly-toned guitar player and enigmatic front man.

The first two tracks have always been favorites of mine with Stumble edging out Wolves, Lower as a song I can listen to over, and over, and over again – and they’re both overlong, which is something I absolutely love about them. Mitch Easter‘s ahead-of-their time production techniques (weird sound-scape breakdowns with almost Native Americany undertones) and the insistent mystery these songs evoke make them endlessly re-playable pieces of pop music – even with the advent of online lyric databases, the meaning of these songs still eludes me.

The images below/after the jump harken back to a special time when buttoning your top button was totally de rigueur.

Click here for the rest of Chronic Town

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Posted on December 6, 2009