Showing posts from June, 2018

The Pull of the Elk II: Ten Records, Give or Take, and a Bottle of Jezynowka

It is time for another trip to the cabin to still my quaking nerves and temper
the shift of my lofty or scattered ambitions. I am stressed by the upcoming move
and the shifting of time that makes me older but not wiser as I battle my apprehension
and dismiss the fact that I actually graduated with a PhD no less, but I can never appreciate
my good luck or all the hard work that went into finishing the dissertation, many of it at the cabin.
I pack a small number of records; we changed the rules this year, only ten,
but both Donny and I are bringing more surreptitiously, unbeknownst
to all except each other. We knew we each would and discussed it
more than usual, sifting our collections for the unknown, we
grabbed albums to introduce to each other like new friends.
After last year's AC/DC debacle, where he tried to play the discography and was shut
down, the decision was made (by who?), in passive voice resistance, to bring albums that
were near and dear to us and no one else;  this …

The First Place I Lived: Sensory Impressions as Memory

My memories of the first place I lived are fuzzy. I remember orange carpeting and brown walls in the trailer my parents rented the first three years of my life before we moved into the house on 6th Avenue that they still live in thirty years later. I remember a car my mom drove a few years later when she first got her license a little better. It was a tan sedan, a nondescript Ford or Mercury model with leather seats that smelled vaguely of cigarette smoke and oil, making my young mind think of the piles of dog poop soured by age that sat in the back yard of my parent's home until we got around to cleaning them up.

I cannot remember if most of these experiences were truly real. I know that car was because I was around seven years old when my mother finally learned to drive. She had a series of cars that came from my grandfather's Ford dealership. Later she got her own, but my grandpa drove cars from his garage my entire life; they too smelled of cigarette smoke and old oil. My…

Track This: The Dwight Twilley Band's "Sincerely"

This is the second part of a summer series of Track This entries that will focus on lesser-known power pop songs.

Oklahoma's The Dwight Twilley Band's debut album Sincerely is an undersung power pop classic that borrows  heavily from the Beatles early 70s modus operandi with sweet melodies and understated guitar. The deceptively simple title track follows that pattern as Twilley harmonizes over lead guitar that would not feel out of place on The White Album, although there is a slight southern feeling in its bittersweet revelations, but it never kicks into full gear. He sings "sincerely, I got what you need" as the guitar meanders in and out. The lyrics are metaphysical and lovelorn with Twilley's voice wavering about the death of love and how a "starcold soldier feels." The simple song repeats a basic pattern of understated instrumentation that leads to a call and response between Twilley's vocals and the meandering guitar. Nothing is resolved bef…

Track This: Ultimate Fake Book's "Real Drums"

This is the first part of a summer series of Track This entries that will focus on lesser-known power pop songs.

I first discovered Ultimate Fakebook in the cheap bin at one of my favorite record stores, Radio Kaos, and I am not exactly sure why I picked it up. Looking at the album cover for their major label debut, the repackaged This Will Be Laughing Week, now, I do not see how it attracted me. I'm assuming that I had heard the name in reference to shows they played with The Get Up Kids or other Kansas area emo bands that I was heavily into at the time.

However, when I played the CD, I realized that Ultimate Fakebook was not an emo band but a power pop band that loved hooks. When I played them for friends, I always compared them favorably to Weezer's early albums. Recently, I listened to an interview with them on the 90s music podcast, Dig Me Out, and they explained that now they tell people they sounded like Weezer. Apparently, at the time they were more interested in jus…