Pavement’s first album, Slanted and Enchanted, is often thought of as their best album. I love all of their albums, but Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was the first I heard. It holds a special place in my heart. I remember seeing the “Cut Your Hair” video in college and instantly fell in love with Pavement. Their third album, Wowee Zowee is probably my favorite, but I was 20 when it was released so it’s disqualified from this list.
It was a toss-up for what Letters to Cleo album to put on this list. I love Aurora Gory Alice and Wholesale Meats and Fish pretty equally, but Aurora Gory Alice is the album that made Letters to Cleo a household name. Letters to Cleo are one of my all time favorites from the 90s. I’m bummed I’ve never had a chance to see them live. It’s great that the band is back together making music again, maybe someday I’ll get to see them.
Most people probably don’t know who Frente! is. They are an Australian band that have been together on and off since the early 90s. They basically only have two studio albums, and I really fell in love with Marvin the Album in college in 1993. I’m listening to it now for the first time in probably 15 years, and it’s still great. I wish I knew how to describe it better, but you know what, you have the internet. You can go listen yourself.
I was a little late at discovering the Pixies. I actually became of fan of Frank Black first, and then went back and listened to the Pixies. Teenager of the Year is the first Frank Black album I discovered. I just love this album. So many quirky, catchy songs. It’s probably one of the most underrated 90s albums.
I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins with the Gish sometime in high school after seeing the video for “Rhinoceros”. While I liked the album, I didn’t love it. Siamese Dream came out the summer after my senior year. From the beginning riff of “Cherub Rock”, I new the Smashing Pumpkins were going to be huge. I love the beginning lyrics of “Cherub Rock”, “Freak out,And give in, Doesn’t matter what you believe in, Stay cool, And be somebody’s fool this year”. The album only gets better from there. Billy Corgan driving around the ice cream truck in the “Today” video is one of the memories from my freshman years of college. “Disarm” got so much air play, I kind of got sick of it. This album probably makes it into my top 10 favorite albums of all time list.
Middle schooler me wanted to be a rapper. I was really into the Beastie Boys, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, and Run DMC. I wrote a couple of rap song, and my rap name was M&M. I spelt it a little different than Eminem, but it was essentially the same. Like Marshall Mathers, my initials are also MM, plus it’s my favorite candy. My brother and I recorded the couple songs I wrote onto a cassette tape using his little Casio keyboard as the only musical instrument to make some noise that we called music. I made artwork and everything for our album titled Too Much Hype. It would be cool to hear how awful it was, but I sure it’s in a landfill somewhere. But anyhow, I am the original slim shady.*
*after writing that I looked up Eminem and he is actually older than me. We were probably both rapping as M&M at the same time, so I guess I’m not the original M&M, I’m just the M&M that sucked.
I love Frosting on the Beater, but I always seem to forget about The Posies. I have a few other Posies albums, but haven’t really given them much of a listen. I’m not really sure how this album made this list, but then when I think about it, there was a period in 1993 when I listened the hell out of this album in my dorm room. I think it’s a highly underrated album. You’ve probably never even heard of it in fact, but it’s great.
I picked up Exile In Guyville on a whim. I saw Kurt Loder talk about her in a piece for MTV News. Nobody that I knew was really listening to women fronted groups, but I loved them. From Juliana Hatfield Three, Veruca Salt, That Dog, The Breeders, Poe, Jennifer Trynin, Letters to Cleo… I could go on for ever. Loved them all. I had a feeling I would like Liz Phair, and boy did I.
Soon after I got the album they started to play the “Never Said” video on MTV. I don’t know if they ever played it on the radio in our area. Our radio stations always sucked. I honestly don’t really know how big this album went nationally. In my little bubble it was one of the best albums of the year.
Liz is apparently working on new material to be released this year. I can’t wait, and I hope she tours. I saw her once at First Ave, and she is great. It would be great to see her again.
I mentioned Juliana Hatfield back when I was talking about The Lemonheads. I’m a huge fan of her. Become What You Are wasn’t her first solo album, but it her first as Juliana Hatfield Three. My college roommate first bought this album. I wanted it too, but I just listened to his copy that first fall. We both loved the album and Juliana in general. Once Christmas break came around I had to go buy my own copy. I couldn’t go a couple weeks without hearing my Juliana. It’s crazy to think to back to the times before you can hear music online. You had to own the album, or you couldn’t hear it. Now I can watch the “My Sister” video, and listen to the album whenever I want. They are just a couple clicks away.
I should be on the road right now to see Green Day. I was late to the ball and didn’t get tickets right away. Only nosebleeds were left, so I didn’t buy them. I’m kicking myself now. Although, I could get tickets from Stubhub right now. It’s so tempting. Green Day is probably the best band I have ever seen live. It’s amazing how many great songs they have. Most 90s bands now are either broken up, or they are making crap music. Green Day’s newest album is one of their best. Having such a vast catalog is also a bad thing. They just don’t have time to play much of their older stuff, plus people probably don’t know it as well. I don’t know when they last played “Christie Road” live. So even though they are great, I’m always leaving sad that they didn’t play a handful of my favorites.
So instead of seeing Green Day again, I’m just going to hang out at home and get a few projects done and enjoy the nice spring day outside. It’s always great when it finally gets nice enough to enjoy some time outside. I may be a great indoorsman, but I do like the outdoors in the spring.
On Tuesday I cancelled our DirecTV service. It’s crazy to think we have been a customer for thirteen years. We originally switched to DirecTV because we hated Cableone, and DirecTV had Tivos. DirecTV Tivos have been gone a long time now and we’ve been dealing with their shit DVR, while watching our monthly bill going up ever year. It’s stupid that you have to threaten to cancel ever year to keep your bill down. Fuck that. I’m not playing that game. This year our bill creeped over the $130 mark. Now that we have another cable provider, Midco, I thought I would look into them. They’ve been a great internet provider so far.
So now I’m paying around $130 for cable AND internet. I’m pretty much saving the $65 that I was paying for internet. And guess what? They have Tivos! We finally have and awesome DVR again. So we basically switched to DirecTV to get a Tivo and left DirecTV to get a Tivo again.
I wish cable and satellite providers cared about their customers and offered better DVRs like Tivos. The user interface is so much better. I guess they’ll feel the pain soon enough as fewer people subscribe, and more people cut the cord. If I lived alone I would have cut the cord years ago. I never watch TV. All the alternatives are getting better. Someday soon we will cut the cord, just not quite yet.
New Miserable Experience was a great album. “Hey Jealousy” was basically an anthem song for 1993. I still remember listening to this album on the way to my first party with a bunch of coworkers. I had a crush on a certain coworker, so I was totally going to the party that night at her apartment after she invited me. One of the first person I met at the party was her big buff boyfriend who could kick my ass with his pinkie finger. It was still a fun night. It was my first time hanging out with a bunch of coworkers. It was a little weird getting drunk with my boss, but everyone was cool. After the party, I probably shouldn’t have driven home, but my dorm room was just a few blocks away, so I drove home continuing listening to New Miserable Experience. It’s weird how certain songs, or album bring back certain memories. I listened to this album a ton in 1993, but all the memories are from that party.
A year ago today my favorite band, Motion City Soundtrack, announced their breakup. It’s been a weird spring. Most springs in the past I’ve been looking forward to seeing where MCS was touring. They were a hard working band and were constantly touring. It was great. I was able to see them fourteen times, and I’m still kicking myself for missing a few other shows that I could have seen. It was also the main reason of their demise. For smaller bands to make it these days they have to be constantly touring. As you get older you just want to be home. I totally get it.
I don’t think a day has gone by since last 3.11 that I haven’t listened to some MCS. I’ve been reading their Reddit page and every week someone posts a song to discuss. That always leads me down the rabbit hole of all the amazing MCS YouTube videos. From old live performances, acoustic performances, to even some ukulele covers. All of them are so great because the songs are so great.
Whenever I try to listen to some new music I’m always like, “This is good, but not MCS good. Why don’t I just listen to MCS.” You would think I would get sick of MCS, but I don’t.
Currently the lead singer, Justin Pierre, is working on a solo album. I’m looking forward to that, and if he does any local Minneapolis shows, that would be great. Someday down the road I sure hope there is a reunion show. I will be right there in the front row, just like I have many time in the past.
I remember watching Alternative Nation on MTV at my buddies house when the “Somebody to Shove” video came on. I instantly fell in love with Soul Asylum. It was crazy that they didn’t break out until their sixth album. Grave Dancers Union is a great album from start to finish, but “Runaway Train” got too overplayed. To this day, I alway skip that song when I listen to this album. “Black Gold” always reminds me of my senior year of high school. Soul Asylum is definitely my second favorite Minnesota band. Motion City Soundtrack being my favorite, obviously. Sorry to The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, and yeah Prince; not much of a fan.
Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend came out in 1991. I didn’t discover it until my college roommate introduced me to it in 1993. I don’t know if 1991 me would have liked Matthew Sweet, but 1993 me loved him. Girlfriend has always been a good road tripping album for me. To this day if I’m ever road tripping by myself I will crank this album up.
Towards the end of my senior year of high school I discovered Lookout! Records. I bought almost every album I could find off the label. I loved so many of the albums Lookout! was putting out those days. The albums weren’t all that well produced, the songs were just stupid simple punk rock songs, but damn were they good. Kerplunk! was probably my favorite off of Lookout!. I still listen to it a couple times a year. Green Day has come of long way and I have loved everything they have done. In fact I think their latest is one of their best. But sometimes I just love the rougher, simpler, older Green Day songs. Plus I have so many memories attached to these songs. From “Christie Road”, “80”, “Android”, all such good songs. Then there was “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?”. I had to look up who Holden Caulfield was and ended up reading The Catcher in the Rye. That was the beginning of reading for leisure for me.
This weeks revisit of albums from my teens is Blood Sugar Sex Magik from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Shortly after discovering Nirvana’s Nevermind I discovered this album. It was actually released the same day as Nevermind. I loved it because many of the songs were almost rap songs, and at the time I was still a fan of some rap music. One of my biggest memories from this album is listening to “Under The Bridge” on a band trip to Chicago. It’s weird how this is one of my few memories from that trip to Chicago. Hearing the album now for the first time in at least 15 years really brings back the memories.
The current political climate of our country is scary. I keep hoping smarter heads will prevail and someone will be able to control the child that we elected as president. It’s not looking like that’s going to happen. There really isn’t anything I can say that hasn’t been said already.
Since the near future looks bleak, lets look back to the past.
A couple weeks ago Dave Winer posted his top 10 albums from when he was a teen. I think the music you liked as a teen sticks with you and will always be your favorite. My teenage years were 1988–1994, while my all time favorite band Motion City Soundtrack is more recent, I still love early 90s music.
I tried to limit my list to ten, but that just seemed too difficult. I love all these albums so much. I did stick with the rule of only one album per band though. My goal is to revisit each album more in depth in future posts.
So here’s my top tenish (really 18) albums from when I was a teen:
- Frank Black – Teenager of the Year
- Frente! – Marvin the Album
- Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience
- Green Day – Kerplunk
- The Juliana Hatfield Three – Become What You Are
- The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray
- Letters to Cleo – Aurora Gory Alice
- Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
- Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend
- Nirvana – Nevermind
- NOFX – Punk in Drublic
- Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
- The Posies – Frosting on the Beater
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
- Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
- Soul Asylum – Grave Dancers Union
- Sugar – Copper Blue
- Weezer – Blue Album
2016 was the year of health problems for me. Nothing really major, but I saw more doctors in 2016 than any other single year in my life.
It all started last January with a toothache. Toothaches have to be one of the most painful things. I went to my dentist and he couldn’t find anything wrong and gave me some pain pills. The pain never went away so I went to another dentist because mine was on vacation and she couldn’t see anything wrong. The pain never went away, so I thought maybe it was in my jaw, so I went to a doctor. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with my jaw, but my blood pressure was high.
My toothache finally went away, but then I started dealing with my blood pressure. I had an EKG done and something was off, so then I had a stress test done. Everything seemed fine then, but I was put on blood pressure medication. After a few visits the medication was doing it job and my blood pressure was great.
Then I came down with gout. The cause was most likely my blood pressure meds. They took me off the blood pressure meds, and my lifestyle changes must have worked because my blood pressure was fine and I no longer need to be on blood pressure meds. Yay!
So then during my next teeth cleaning, my dentist discovered an abscessed tooth. So the year ended with me getting a root canal to fix the problem that started in January.
2017 starts with a clean bill of health for me. No pain and I’m on no meds. I have a dentist appointment next week. lets hope this year is better than the last.
I’m not a big fan of Christmas songs. I’m actually not a big Christmas fan at all. I find this time of year to be pretty depressing. All weekend I’ve had one Christmas song stuck in my head though. It’s probably one you don’t know. It’s this one:
It’s from Tiny Stills. If you don’t know them you should. Kailynn West is basically Tiny Stills. She is the drummer of Motion City Soundtrack’s fiancé. Not only does she write great music, she is a great person.
When Motion City Soundtrack announced their final tour I was so hoping that she would open for them. Sadly she didn’t, but she did open on Motion City Soundtrack’s very last show because of a cancellation. She wrote all about it here.
When Motion City Soundtrack played their final Minnesota shows she did fly up to visit. I saw her just chilling out during the pre show vip activities. I wanted to say hi, but I was too shy and didn’t want to bother her. I did spot her in the picture that the band took during the show though.
I wasn’t sure at first, so I asked her if that was her. She asked me if I was playing where’s Waldo with her.