Musical Flashbacks

March 11, 2008

So, I was eating with my family at Outback this past weekend, when I suddenly noticed a powerfully catching riff quickly above me coming from the speakers – I quickly excused myself from the table and moved around the room until I could better hear it. I was not wrong! It was “It’s a shame about Ray” by the Lemonheads – a song I used to have in regular rotation on one of my 3 different college radio shows back in the early 90s! As soon as we got home I went on an iTunes surfing fest from my early college days, and was engulfed by so many original, and fabulous melodies that I just had to share them, especially in light of my recent blog on Excellence & Creativity in Worship.

In particular, be sure to listen to the title track, and their cover of “Mrs. Robinson”…I think I played both on almost every show for at least a year.

Dinosaur Jr.’s guitars seem to be from another planet – the songs wobble along like they’ve had too much to drink, but somehow they hold together by a thread, and then get jammed in your head. Good stuff. Don’t miss “Start Choppin'”.

How to describe old-school Guided by Voices? Let’s try: the-Beatles-except-by-accident? Or maybe: one of the reasons I’m proud to originally be from Ohio? Perfect pop alternative rock made a badly as possible, which – somehow – makes it even better? Yes, this was recorded on 4 track in someone’s basement. Yes, the mastermind behind it was an aging, and disgruntled, High School History professor at the time. Yes, they left mistakes – including equipment malfunction – on the recording for all to hear. And yes, the average song length is around a minute. And it is all amazing. When I’m having a hard time coming up with a ‘hook’ or ‘melody’, this is one of the places I turn for inspiration – the guy is a ‘hook’-master, even if this record rarely develops anything into a full-on ‘song’. Laugh along, and enjoy – especially “Blimps to 90” and “Always Crush Me”.  Also, the compilation is a good start for those who think “Alien Lanes” is far too strange.

Friends of friends, the Ocean Blue were in a Bible study with my college buddy Nate for a time, which is how I first heard them, later catching their videos on MTV and totally falling for their tunes hook-line-&-sinker. And, OH, are they ever a good live show! Sweet, jangly pop music, somewhere between R.E.M. & Buddy Holly. My personal fav’s are: “Sublime”, “Bliss is Unaware”, & “Crash”.

And LASTLY, I’ve recently rediscovered my deep love for…STARFLYER 59!

I discovered SF59 when Tooth & Nail records mailed me their debut, “Silver” (see above), to review for the Christian Magazine my friends & I had started recently. I was so blown away that I scheduled an interview – which I still have on tape – in which Jason Martin says “We’re the most un-fun band that’s ever been born.” I disagreed, and I still disagree. “Silver” stands somewhere between the Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, and the Boo Radley’s, yet manages to sound absolutely nothing like any of them. One of the best, and most original, ‘Christian Albums’ ever released in not only my opinion, but the opinion of a number of music critics. Be sure to listen to: “Blue Collar Love”, “Monterey”, “the Dungeon”, and the later added, “She was my Sweetheart”. One of the joys of SF59 is that they just don’t stop. Their latest c.d., “My Island” (see above) is yet another step forward – just listen to a clip of “The Frontman” if you doubt me!

Anyway, I hope that maybe some of these ‘lost tracks’ will inspire others to aspire to fresh creativity as well!


5 Responses to “Musical Flashbacks”

  1. Talk about a sheltered life .. I dunno if I recognize a single one of those. A SINGLE ONE.

  2. saintlewis said

    In your favor, Fred, I will point out that ALL of these are College Radio/AOR fair – not top 40, and definitely not CCM radio stuff. I may be baffled with some people’s (ahem) unfamiliarity with much of the Beatles catalogue, but I would have been quite surprised if YOU had heard these. Now, Klampert, however – he probably owns at least 2 of the fore-mentioned c.d.s! What say ye, sir?

  3. klampert said

    dude Sf59…very under appreciated ingenious band. I saw them in cornerstone..1992. That year the choir did the at the foot of the cross CD’s and SF drummer played with them…wow..Joy Electric opened for them.

  4. saintlewis said

    I’ve been on a ‘Choir’ trip recently – made a mix of “Circle Slide”, “Speckled Bird”, “Free Flying Soul” & “Flap Your Wings”, with an indie cut from “Kissers & Killers” thrown in to boot. Yummy stuff. They should be famous.

    And we’re actually doing “Beautiful Scandalous Night” at INSIDE OUT in two weeks – it’s been a youth favorite for years, and there is NO version quite like the original!

  5. klampert said

    wow man…the choir have to be my favorite christian band of all time…next to lust control and one bad pig of course. lol

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