Friday, June 13, 2008

EAIO #2 Last Splash

The following is part of an ongoing series chronicling, in no particular order, every album I own. To learn more visit my "about" link to the right.

Artist
Breeders

Kim Deal: vocals and guitar; Kelley Deal: vocals and guitar; Josephine Wiggs: Bass; Jim MacPherson: percussion.

Album
Last Splash

Track Listing
New Year
Cannonball
Invisible Man
No Aloha
Roi
Do You Love Me Now?
Flipside
I Just Wanna Get Along
Mad Lucas
Divine Hammer
S.O.S.
Hag
Saints
Drivin' On 9
Roi (Reprise)

Format
Compact Disc

Date Purchased
January(ish) 1994

Last Played
About a year ago

Stored In
Original case which has been modified with a transparent peach CD grip after the teeth of the original package broke.

Reason Purchased
Cannonball— I was in high school and you can't deny that song was (and is) catchy. I hoped it would make me cool or at least seem cool. Along with the typical assortment of Nirvana albums it was one of the few angsty things I had heard and enjoyed. It was also different than most anything else I owned at the time.

The Story
One winter day my Junior year in high school I woke up to what our local D.C. weatherman had predicted: enough snow to keep me out of school for a good three days.

Snow day! A phenomena I would sorely miss as an adult.

I was very excited. So much so that I couldn't go back to sleep even though it was 6:30am— my usual, and hated, school day wake up hour. "This is one of several reasons I'm glad I don't live in a desert," I thought. There was already a good six inches on the ground and it was still coming down in blankets.

I had an idea.

After a quick bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, I put on enough layers of clothing to climb Everest while I concocted a major expedition. I would not waste this day— it was brimming with potential. I set up a silent agenda in my head: a walk to the park, build a snowhuman out of snow and local debris, walk five miles or so to the record store and spend everything I had in my pocket, then a surprise visit to... well, let's see if I have time.

It was a sensational storm. The snow corkscrewed in the wind and my thoroughly average, vinyl-sided, suburban neighborhood was transformed by pounds upon pounds of fat snow. After two right turns around the block I reached the entrance to our local park. I crossed the small footbridge over the delta of the flood control plane and headed to the top of the local sledding hill.

No one was out yet. I marveled at how magically still everything seemed in spite of the roaring wind and snow. There were no cars, no people, even birds and the creek below were muffled by the white noise of the wind. There is no other phenomena that rivals snow in terms of a total transformation of the senses. At least one that is pleasant. I suppose a volcanic erruption might count for— oh fuck— I'm sorry. We were talking about music.

So I skip the snowperson and make a snow angel instead because I figured this way the snowfellow would go straight to heaven and there'd be no chance for him to mess up (and no, it's not the same as a snow abortion).

I plunged ahead to the record store. It was about a five mile walk from the park to the strip mall where the store was located. As I write this, I'm racking my brain to remember the name of the chain. I want to say it was Kendall Jackson, but that's a crappy California winemaker. It was slow going, the snow was reaching knee height at this point, and plows had kicked an extra helping along the roadside. I pretended I was on an adventure through the Himalayas. I didn't know anything about the Himalayas but I had heard they had snow there and lots of it.

I finally arrived. The parking lot was only just beginning to be cleared by the plows. "Kendall Jacksons" was miraculously open even though several other shops had closed for the day. In hindsight this was exceptionally lucky; it never even occurred to me that they would be closed. I stepped inside and uwrapped my snow encrusted scarf. I got a weird look from the only employee in the store who greeted with a barely audible, "hi." He had probably seen me, on foot, marching across the entire football-field-sized parking lot. I did look pretty ridiculous.

I knew what I was after, the song Canonball had been well cemented into my brain by the winter of 1994. I pretended to check out the other new releases so that I could have a rest before heading back out. I casually looked at the track listing for Guns and Roses "The Spaghetti Incident?" while I made puddles on the floor. I could only pretend to be interested for so long. I made my purchase and prepared to head out. The loan clerk said, "Good luck out there, dude." I nodded, "Thanks." I may have been the only customer that day.

It was not too late at this point. By my invisible watch, it was somewhere just after noon. Plenty of time for the next leg of my adventure. I was pretty sure she would be home.

The snow was starting to let up which made walking a bit easier. It was a relatively short trip to my next destination. I examined the candy colored CD packaging en route but kept it wrapped to keep it from getting wet. Within an hour I was at the doorstep. "Won't she be surprised," I thought, "Who else would risk life and limb to venture out in this weather?

Apparently one more person than I expected. Her gruff father answered the door and, after a brief explanation, I was allowed inside where I found Janet and Jared (names have been changed to protect the 100% innocent). I instantly regretted I had made the trip. She was surprised but it wasn't the reaction I was hoping for. It was more of a what the hell are you doing here than a I can't believe you came all this way to see me. Jared was no more thrilled by my presence, though he was polite. Her parents offered me a hot beverage to warm up, which I accepted. They clearly preferred Jared to me. He was more attractive and confident and would be Janet's recognized boyfriend within a few weeks. The cocoa was terrible— or I just wasn't in the mood for cocoa. I removed my coat but left on my extra layer of pants as I attempted to chat with Janet and Jared. They were quite the coupling— wearing nearly matching sweaters by the fire. They looked like a page from an L.L. Bean catalog. After awkward small talk and the usual discussion of the unusual weather, I quickly finished my cocoa, said some thank-yous and see-you-laters and escaped back to the cool air.

The trip home was the shortest of the day but my energy was sapped. I was utterly defeated. Their names both started with "J," I thought, They were meant to be. I trudged home while the clouds still filled the sky like a perfectly polished concrete slab.

I arrived home to two extremely distressed parents who wanted to know just where the hell I had been all goddamn day and they were worried sick and would it kill me to call and what was I thinking in the first place and there's dinner if I really wanted it but I was in big trouble in case I hadn't noticed. The Fresh Prince was right— parents just didn't understand.

I went to sleep that night with headphones on; listening to Mad Lucas set to repeat on my portable Kenwood CD Player.

It would be a long time before I associated Last Splash with anything fun.

Random Associations

FUN! This album is totally fun. Cannonball is a total hit on any party mix and virtually every song on the album has made it onto a road mix or summer mix. I mostly took to it's dark distorted atmosphere and selected angry lyrics at first but now I think of it as a good time rocker.

I remember my cousins Chris and Carol visiting some time after its release and going bananas over the song Saints, which may or may not have had a video tied to it at the time.

In my theater department's spring show my senior year of High School I remember trying to create some kind of interpretive dance or something to the track Mad Lucas. It failed big time. I think it involved Slinkies. It failed big time.

Standout Lyrics

From Mad Lucas:
Arise wash your face
From cinder and soot
You're a nuisance
And I don't like dirt.


From Hag:
Hag! Coastal cut-throat!
You dirty switch,
You're on again


I like the school girl, nanny-nanny-boo-boo, delivery of this song. It reminds me of Debbie Harry singing Rip Her to Shreds.

Season I Most Associate With This Album
Summer, oddly enough.

Impressions

I pull this album out about once a year to listen to in it's entirety and it's on a very short list of albums I purchased in high school that I don't regret buying (Stone Temple Pilots, I'm looking in your direction). They borrowed from prevailing grunge sound that was in style at the time without using it as a gimmick and without taking themselves too seriously. I hesitate to even use the term grunge to describe the Breeders because they seem to be a natural off-shoot of Kim Deal's more influential band, The Pixies (maybe you've heard of them), and the Pixies were definitely not grunge. But the Breeders took that early nineties heavy rock sound and brought a pop sensibility to the table. They put the fun back into the music without undermining the ominous or dark elements. That's tricky stuff. Courtney Love was trying to make this album her whole career.

I also like that the Breeders are sort of a family band. The Deal sisters used the name, The Breeders, for a folk rock band they started back in the 70's. How cute they must have been!

I find I have a different track I latch onto each time I listen to it but favorites would include No Aloha with its moaning, Hawaiian steel inspired guitar; Mad Lucas which sounds like it was lifted from a David Lynch movie— vaguely romantic— if you're a serial killer; Hag for reasons I already discussed and Drivin' on 9 which I'll wager has made it onto the a road mix of anyone who owns the album. Cannonball is a solid gold party song for my generation.

The only thing that feels dated about Last Splash is it's packaging but it's more charming than anything else.

Conclusion:
Last Splash is my kind of nostalgia.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wha?!



BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HEE HEE HAHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HOO HOO OO HOO HOO HOO HOO

AHA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
hehehehheheheheheheheheh

Oh Ooo! Ooo!

HEH HEE HEE HEE HA HA. HO. HO.

...hmf

...ha

...

BWAHAAHAAHAHAAAAHAHAAAHAAHAAAAHAAHAHAAAAHAAAAHAA HAAH AHAHAAAAHAAAHAAAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAA...*SNIFF* HA HAAAHAAA HAAA

TEE HEE HEE HEE —THE HAT! — HAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

HA HAHAHAHA.

OH God. Enough.

Hm. Hm Hm.