Monday, August 28, 2017

New old favorites? Old new favorites?

Mid-'90s "hardcore" (read: "rock") band Painted Thin has recently become one of my new old favorites.  At times sounding like the pop-punk bands that defined the Fat Wreck scene, and other times sounding like the early '00s Promise Ring set*, these guys had a couple of pretty solid, peppy albums.  And by the way, do you like The Weakerthans?  This band had most of them.  Whoa!

There's nothing fancy or mind-blowing here, but man, "I Hold My Breath" (track 4) and "These Unremarkable First Ten Years of Life" (track 7) are such sweet '90s boil-overs.  Really, the middle of this album, say tracks 4 to 8 or so, are just one great song after another.  Short, under-produced, crackle-voiced and off-key, super-emotive exploratory pop songs for the 35 year-old nostalgia set.  Just hook it to my fuckin' veins!

This band is a good personal reminder of why I never delete music.  I've had one of their albums on my computer for, what, 10 years?  Never really gave it much of a thought until a shuffle adventure brought them to my attention.  Now I can't get enough.  Nicely timed after a nostalgic Weakerthans love affair some months ago, too.

*So what if my knowledge of music pretty much covers only the outcasts of the 1994-2003 era?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


It was always really hard picking out ringtones.  Remember?  Back in, like, 2005, when the technology finally arrived to PUT A SONG ON YOUR PHONE, it was the most amazing thing.  Hipster nerds like me suffered existentially about what type of person we wanted to project ourselves to be.  I was nervous about putting the cool indie song, because I didn't want to be seen as trying too hard.

Cut to maybe 8 or 9 years ago, when I settled on two songs that I've used ever since.  I switch between them when I need something new.

The first is the Jon Brion track 'Phone Call' from the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack/score.  I like to tell myself there's something Kaufmann-esque about using this track as the sound my phone makes when it rings.  It's not, but it's a thought that validates my belief that I, you know, "get" Charlie Kaufmann's movies.  I don't.  Nobody does.  He's better than us.  Nevertheless, this is the perfect track - it's filled with doubt and phone angst, but love.  Complicated emotions happen every time my phone rings, so why not illustrate that with a song reminder of that complicated emotions movie?  That crackle of nostalgia, that anxiety coming from each repetition, the warmth tying it all together?  Ok, phone company, I'll pay my bill.  <3 p="">

The second is 'Ceremony' by New Order, likely the last new Joy Division song before Ian Curtis died.  I knew this really well as a kid, in that somewhat truncated form on the 'Still' album, but didn't know until I was much older that New Order had formally recorded it.  It's, I don't know, a touching song?  Also filled with complex emotions, but there's a strength - a diving-in quality that's just lovely, given my phone angst.  'Fuck it, I'll just answer it,' I'll say.  Thanks, Ian?

I think these are both really solid picks for a fragile hipster douche like myself.  I hope strangers think I'm cool.

I mean, I would hope that, but usually I have my phone on vibrate.