Monday, October 11, 2004

Make It On the Side

there is always a group of songs looped in the brainpan. the songs vary from day to day, even hour to hour, but I suffer, like everyone else, the compulsion to delight in it. the best way to do that is to sing along.

oh, the horror! the horror! the persons caught within listening range their ears begin to bleed from my exertions. not that I mind, of course, but then someone will ask me what is it that has me carrying along.

the past couple of weeks I've been rather obsessed with two side projects, one from 1985 , the second released last year 2003.

the self-titled ep Seeing Eye Gods released by Epitaph was an experiment in mid-80s psychedelia by Brett Gurewitz of the punk band Bad Religion. don't know much about the recording except that it was a one-shot five-song picture disc ep. the picture disc is paisley and only about a 1,000 copies were pressed. it remains out of print. however the disc itself says Unauthorized Duplication Would Be Appreciated.

the songs, "The Only One", "Psychedelic Suzy", a cover of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men", "Strawberry Girl" and "Happy" are slow meditations of unrequited love. and who is too old for love songs? for they are reasonably well-produced, extremely well-played songs. the instruments are layers of fuzzed-distorted electric guitars and acoustic guitars, bass and drums with a little sampling of strings.

what to say about an album that I've known since 1985? I do not own the album but borrowed it from my friend. I don't recall how he got it. my favorite song, the most fully realized song on the ep I think, is "Strawberry Girl". I plan on having another friend record the vinyl and convert it to cd.

the other album is Give Up by The Postal Service released by Sub Pop. it is highly addictive from the opening song to the last instrumental. a witty blend of electronica and pop, and quite frankly have not heard electronica so catchy since the last New Order album. when I told another friend I can't stop listening to the recording he said, yeah that is a side project by the guy from Death Cab for Cutie and the guy who records as Dntel, and he has all those albums too. a lot of cool info on The Postal Service here.

I love the scratches, bleeps and noise of the music with the singer's clear, intelligent voice over it. the album should give electronica artists a shot in the arm for tho it ain't that new a concept (remember Soft Cell and The Human League of the early 80s?) it is well-done and fresh.

side projects, like collaborations between writers and artists, is like travel in a foreign country. when you take off you can become a someone else, the I as other, ya know, and do anything because there is a number of (your)selves for you to find.


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