Archive for "Wayback Machine"

May 1

Wayback Machine [Video]: Catherine Wheel, feat. Tanya Donelly – Judy Staring at the Sun

I had a huge crush on Tanya Donelly all through the 90’s.  As one of the founding members of the Throwing Muses, The Breeders (with Kim Deal of the Pixies) and later her own band Belly, she was one of the IT girls of early alt-rock in the late 80’s/early 90’s, and a core member of the Boston/New England scene.  Her light, melodic voice used to raise the hairs on the back of my neck.

Catherine Wheel was a band out of England that weren’t as well known (in the states, anyway), but still had some standout hits, most notably the song Black Metallic.  Lead singer Rob Dickinson had a brooding baritone that had shades of Bob Mould in it, only slightly more depressing.

This song, featured on Catherine Wheel’s third album Happy Days,  is lightning in a bottle.  The light/dark juxtaposition of their voices is absolutely brilliant, especially considering that the song is about heroin addiction.  The video is a bit suspect, with typical 90’s quirkiness, and Dickinson looks like a total creeper.  Dude totally freaks me out.  Why so serious, man?

What’s interesting is that the album version of this song only featured Tanya in the chorus, not singing the second verse.  I have no idea how they got together, or the backstory behind it, but I’m so glad they did.  Its a wonderful gem from that era, and still remains one of my favorite songs.

Pair this one with my favorite beer of all time.  North Coast’s Red Seal.  It’s a hoppy, absolutely phenomenal amber ale.

Feb 2

Wayback Machine [Video]: Dinosaur Jr. – Start Choppin

This is one of a handful of songs that solidified my lust for alternative/indie music.  I heard it on 95.5 WBRU (a radio station that deserves its own post someday) when I was 14 and just about lost my goddamn mind.  I remember saying ‘What is this insane music?’ as I was wrenching on my bike in the garage after school.  That weird falsetto, the crunchy, angsty lyrics, and J.Mascis’s fucking amazing guitar work absolutely floored me (that solo, *swoon*).

This song was so powerful, I immediately finished working on my bike, rode down to the local Strawberries, bought the CD, came home, transferred it to a cassette tape, slammed said tape into my Walkman and jumped back on my bike to terrorize the neighborhood with new musical pathways being etched into my brain. Suffice to say, my homework did not get done that day.

This is one of the few songs that still make me feel like I’m listening to it for the first time, even though I’ve heard it hundreds of times.

If you read this blog, then you are probably already familiar with J.Mascis’s/Dinosaur Jr’s. work.  If not, then buy Where You Been immediately.  Better yet, buy his/their whole back catalog and get yourself some quality 90’s alt-rock education.

Music acts as a roadmap in your formative years, I’m glad mine forked in the direction it did.  Thanks Dinosaur Jr for doing your part.

Nov 30

Wayback Machine [Video]: Hum – Stars

The Wayback Machine posts are just going to be stuff that influenced myself and Jess from a not so bleeding-edge time.  Periodically, either of us will smack you upside the dome with a good song from years ago, mainly because we know everyone likes going ‘Whoa, I haven’t heard this song in FOREVER.’

I’ve been having trouble coming up with a fitting tune to kick off this series-until now.  Recently my friend mentioned these guys on Facebook, and I said to myself ‘Motherfucking 120 Minutes, thats it!’

If you are looking for a track that personified the mid-90’s Alt-Rock sound, then you could do a lot worse than this one.  The fuzzed out screeching guitars, the crashing, cymbal heavy percussion and the overall driving energy just blew you away.  Hum was like a cross between Nada Surf, Helmet and The Smashing Pumpkins, minus crazypants Billy Corgan.

But unfortunately like so many other artists of the era, they lacked sufficient label support, and couldn’t quite gain the traction needed to survive in the decade of the ‘buzz band’.  Basically they were relegated to one hit wonder status.  But what a one hit wonder, ‘Stars’ was massive when it came out in 1995.  I wonder how they would’ve fared in today’s DIY/instant access world.  I blew my step-father’s speakers playing this song.  They were ‘nice’ speakers too, big ol’ 12″ Cerwin Vegas.  You remember the type: super huge early 80’s throwbacks surrounded by fake wood paneling,  all ‘Hi-Fi’ and shit.  Blasted the cones right outta them, it was beautiful.  They ended up looking something like this.  A fitting end to such monstrosities, I believe.

If you want the complete history on Hum, check out their Wiki page for more info.


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