Monday, December 18, 2006

and it kills you it keeps you alive

i was hooked.

i'll admit that much. every dime i found went to three things; recording equipment/effects petals, my then-girlfriend, bridget, and cds/records. at one point in time, if it had that stupid little black and white tooth and nail logo on the back, i would buy it. but recently the label was letting me down. luxury was okay (their last release before they split--and recently reunited--was awesome). velour 100 was hit or miss. ghoti hook was terrible. sure, sometimes the little mail order descriptions were accurate; driver eight's "watermelon" is still one of the better releases on the label, and after reading big cougars favorite songs list a few holiday seasons back, i pulled this one out and fell in love again. but on the other hand, as much as i wanted to like it because of some of my fellow posters, plankeye wasnt cutting it and morellas forest had decided to rock out without their cocks out ever since pondering "where do you go when you hang out?"

then, papa shoegaze dropped a bomb on me. he started rambling on about a LIVE starflyer cd (what?!), a 7" of ronnie's band before joy electric (the CRAP?!) and how jason martin and his wife had released two 7" singles under the moniker Bon Voyage (holy HOLY damn) like it was common knowledge.

my mind was blown. he was coming to record with me very shortly after, and i probably drove him nuts reminding him to bring these releases with him. i'll spare you the details, but since it became obvious that VBM was a short-run label, stuff sold out, and i--even more blindly--ordered everything just to make sure i would have a copy.

a few releases in, velvet blue released "the future is blue," a compilation of artists currently on the label, artist the label worked with or liked, and artists about to release something through the label.

somewhere buried in the middle was a song that just made me stop in my tracks. there wasnt this wall of sound. it wasnt soft and quiet. it wasnt electronic. it was just...rock. i know i changed the batteries in my disc man listening to it on repeat.

sadly, when VBM finally gave word that this record was coming out (i had already snagged the groups full-length released on gene eugene's brainstorm record label), it was announced that the band had already broken up. this ep still gets spun, and burned on every work computer i have had.


LABEL: Velvet Blue Music


i sometimes want to be a woman. wait! now, before you run away and never read a post from me again, let me explain.

flashback: bristol, TN. it was the summer of 'sweet babies sound,' and sandra lou--the girl-fronted, dainty-fresh, rock outfit manned by sugar mama, papa shoegaze, big cougar and myself. we had taken up residence in a house filled with cats to record our second ep. oddly enough, i think we are ALL allergic to cats, so work would become tiresome, especially since the other three band members had work or classes in between sessions and it was hard to get us all in the room together.

we would often take long, late-night, drives. they were late because we would use all day recording, and they were long because it took exactly 55 minutes to drive ANYWHERE in bristol. i cant be sure, and maybe my bandmates can set the record straight, but i think that the the three of them been swapping mixtapes back and forth? so every road trip we would pop in a mix tape and i got to hear the cool stories about why they were made, and to whom from whom. off all of the music i heard on those tapes, three songs stand out: the rentals' "friends of p," on a big cougar mix tape, a track from "
bloodflowers" by the cure--a sugar mama pick--and a track from the artists behind my #9 release.

i had a migraine. we were going to walmart for two reasons: i needed some protein and ibuprofen, and i THINK brandon and sarah had just purchased a computer that wouldnt fit in their car (this might have been later...i just cant remember). driving home, rob tried to run over a garbage can and didnt see that the grass grew higher than the driveway. THEN, we had to put the spare on, using the jack that hadnt been used since 1982 and it got stuck in the up position before we had taken the tire off...really smart guys. SO, we ended up having to call one of rob'sprofessors to bring a jack so we could raise the car higher than the first jack and kick it out. and of course the spare was flat--lets not forget about the 2 hour ordeal that turned into.

i will say, until the nauseous, migraine tinged, car-ride back home, i hated this band. but somewhere along the way, cruising back at 12mph trying to find an open gas station, or at least one with an air pump--before getting home but after being stopped by the cops for driving so slow--i heard this song. it seemed to make everything okay. a voice called to me. she said 'we will take care of it.' and i felt relieved. like not only was someone releasing me from my physical pain, but also all of the other problems one has in life. she knew. she understood. she cared. she had problems of her own, but had found the wisdom and the strength to persevere, and she wanted to share that with me. when i felt better, i asked sugar mama if i could listen to the entire record. i bought it as soon as i got back to fredericksburg.

if any ONE single record drastically changed the way i thought about writing and recording music it would be this one. synths, guitars, synths that SOUND like guitars and vice versa, sampled and triggered drums, infectuous hook after hook after hook, rolling basslines, and the DRYEST vocal sound i have ever heard (i have never heard an artist so unafraid of her un-effected vocal being heard by anyone; singers out there, you know what i mean). the words were haunting, yet pleasant. the melodies unstoppable; the subtleties in the way the singer delivers lyrics and melodies often, for me, outweigh the greater message and meaning. to understand her songs, one must simply read between the lines. where does she take a breath? why did she stress the word "it"? she speaks louder in her pauses than a Mamet play in chicago.i am so saddened when friends havent given this record a shot because a certain #1 bubblegum pop single drove us crazy for a whole summer. but i cant blame them. i was the same way.

i sometimes want to be a woman. but my crazy-ass statement has one key catch; ONLY if i had nina persson's voice.


THE CARDIGANS-gran turismo

RELEASE DATE:November 3, 1998
LABEL: Mercury / stockholm

AUTHORS NOTE: i fully admit that my opening statements in this were stated to make you actually read my post. if anything, i really just wanna make out with nina persson, or marry her and make her sing to me everyday.

ALSO: check out sugar mama's post of this record.


Sugar Mama said...

Hey, I haven't posted Bloodflowers. And I'm not going to because track 2 sucks butt. I thought we went over this.

And, from your introduction, I thought you were going to say you wanted to be ME. God, why does she win every time?

Captain Ultra said...

my "sugar mama pick" was in reference to the fact that you put a song off of there on that mix tape for papa.

not "pick" as in top 25 :)

Papa Shoegaze said...

Captain, oh how you just captured the spirit of the summer's of '96 and '00. i dont know what to say. can we just go back there for a little bit? me, pull the chocolate syrup out of the frig. while making a roseblossom punch song or pretend to play guitar with pony express? or how bout you bang on some powerless electronic drums in the next to the cows or give cougar a hanky outside of sweet babies studios?
and Yes, im bringing the first 5 releases on Velvet Blue to your house this weekend! 7" party and our mom's aren't invited. remember how we used to just stare at the mailorder catalog(no website)? is this for real?

Sugar Mama said...

Just for clarification, the computer incident was a few days prior. We associate it with this event because when we called Brandon...well, you know the rest.

ATrain said...

The Cardigans? I hear their recent stuff is AWESOME...but, then, I'm middle-aged and so maybe I'm out of touch with you youngsters

Sugar Mama said...

Its merely a state of mind.