The Cool New Music Chronicles: Paradise Misplaced

PARADISE MISPLACED (January, 1988)

 

Towards the end of the summer of 1987 I was thinking about going back to school. My record at UNO had been purged and I considered trying it again (as a commuter this time), but two things prevented that. First, I set foot on the campus to talk to some administrator about returning. Immediately I was filled to bursting with anxiety and disgust. Second, I talked to the administrator, who ended our talk with “It’s like the Prodigal Son returning!” and at that point I knew that I wasn’t going to go back to UNO.

Instead I went to the University of Southwestern Louisiana (as it was called then) in Lafayette. This is where Gene and Julie went, and I spent a lot of time with them and their friends, Felix, Duane, and Allen. In my first semester there I lived in Roy Hall, in a wonderful huge private dorm room, but then I moved to an apartment with two other guys, Ben and Hai, both of whom were great guys.

More importantly for purposes of this discussion, however, I had gotten a job as one of the DJs for the weekend late-night alternative music show on KRVS, the campus radio station (I believe strings were somehow pulled, but I don’t remember by whom.) The show was on Fridays and Saturday nights (or, more accurately, Saturday and Sunday mornings) from midnight to 6 am, and I had a blast doing it. Ben would often join me in the studio and we just had a great time. I got a lot of good feedback during my shows from people calling in, and would visit the station almost daily to see what new records had arrived, planning for the upcoming weekend. Despite the fact that I’d be starving right now, I’m not sure why I didn’t pursue this as a possible career path.

All this forward movement aside, though, I was still strongly tethered to New Orleans. Katie and I were still together, and on Friday or Saturday nights, I would do my show, eat some Vivarin, and then drive the hour and a half to New Orleans to see her or do laundry. Katie was going to school at the University of Southern Mississippi and I visited her there once. As a result I still spent a good deal of time with the same old people as before (in fact, I had even forgiven and re-befriended Merlin, so I was not quite making good choices yet.)

In my second semester at USL, Katie was no longer at USM and was instead back with the old New Orleans crowd, so this tie just increased. In addition, I never got a phone in my second semester at USL – we just never got around to getting one put in the apartment, so I had to do a lot of the work in communicating with Katie. She never wrote me letters or came to visit me, and by the end of the semester, we had broken up for the final time. I was feeling my depression coming back, so when I went home to New Orleans for the summer, I did not return.

Ultimately I didn’t put down any lasting roots in Lafayette and wound up back at home, running with the same crowd as before, doing the same things. It all turned out to be a complete wash.

  1. Shriekback – Achtung
  2. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Happy When it Rains
  3. The Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep
  4. Tirez Tirez – Somebody Tell Me
  5. Love And Rockets – No New Tale To Tell
  6. That Petrol Emotion – Big Decision
  7. The Replacements – Alex Chilton
  8. Depeche Mode – Strangelove
  9. New Order – True Faith
  10. The The – Perfect
  11. The Mighty Lemon Drops – Turn Me Round
  1. Screaming Blue Messiahs – I Wanna Be A Flintstone
  2. Boom Crash Opera – Great Wall
  3. The Cure – Hot Hot Hot!!!
  4. Sinéad O’Connor – Troy
  5. The Smiths – Cemetry Gates
  6. Bauhaus – She’s in Parties (edit)
  7. Guadalcanal Diary – Where Angels Fear To Tread
  8. Voice of the Beehive – Just a City
  9. The Bolshoi – Happy Boy
  10. The Proclaimers – (I’m Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down
  11. R.E.M. – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

This is a huge departure from the previous track listing. The radio station is the main reason for the huge explosion in new stuff, and Ben is too. In addition, I was now regularly buying the British music tabloids Melody Maker and NME and was often grabbing stuff they talked about simply because they talked about it. For once I was actually somewhat ahead of the music geek curve!

  • Shriekback – Achtung
  • New Order – True Faith
  • Love And Rockets – No New Tale To Tell
  • The The – Perfect
  • Depeche Mode – Strangelove
  • The Bolshoi – Happy Boy
  • The Cure – Hot Hot Hot!!!

These seven bands are the only holdouts from previously. And they’re fine choices, all said. When I had my last radio show I threatened to put “Achtung” on turntable one and “Sidewalking” by The Jesus and Mary Chain (featured on a tape yet to come) on turntable to and just go back and forth between them all night.

Incidentally, this version of “True Faith” is not the version on the original tape, which was a 7″ mix. Being New Order, however, there are approximately forty-twelve different versions out there to sift through, and this one is good enough.

  • The Jesus and Mary Chain – Happy When it Rains

They’re back! The JAMC’s second album, Darklands, was much more accessible than their first (when asked why it sounded so different they replied, “We already did Psychocandy“, which I thought was brilliant.) and my love for it made me dive back into their first album and finally truly appreciate it. They’ll now be a mainstay for quite some time.

  • The Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep

This is a great song, and I like a whole bunch of their others, but for some reason this is the only appearance of this band in the series. Ben really dug them, which is how I got started on them.

  • Tirez Tirez – Somebody Tell Me

This remains one of two bits of music from this time that, to this day, I have been unable to find as an mp3. (The other being “Love Dog” by Norman Nardini, which has a bit of a story behind it.) Ergo, this is a tape dub. It’s actually a dub of a dub, as I played the song on one of my radio shows and sometimes taped the shows. Honestly, it’s not that great of a song, and I’m not sure why it made the cut. I can think of ten songs off the top of my head that should have been here instead.

  • That Petrol Emotion – Big Decision

Another one I can’t find the original version of. I had this album on vinyl and used the version on that record. When they released it on CD, they replaced it with an extended mix. This version claims to be the original version but it’s not. (The original version ends on the last note, it doesn’t have the “Whatcha gotta do in this day and age” fade out.)

  • The Replacements – Alex Chilton

Ben made me a tape of Pleased to Meet Me and I wore the hell out of it. And yes, thanks to this song, I then got into Alex Chilton himself, but that’s for a later tape. When I eventually got a CD player of my own, I bought the disk and discovered that he had taped side two before side one. The album I thought I knew was completely wrong. And what’s worse, the Ben way is a much better album and makes more sense! Try it yourself! Start at “Never Mind” and end with “The Ledge”. It flows so much better!

  • The Mighty Lemon Drops – Turn Me Round
  • Screaming Blue Messiahs – I Wanna Be A Flintstone
  • Boom Crash Opera – Great Wall
  • Guadalcanal Diary – Where Angels Fear To Tread
  • The Proclaimers – (I’m Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down

These are all from working at KRVS. (Though I probably read about the Mighty Lemon Drops in the British music mags.) “I Wanna Be a Flintstone” is a bit too novelty for me now; I probably should have gone with “Big Brother Muscle” instead. No one is more surprised than me that I was able to find “Great Wall” as an mp3. Guadalcanal Diary already had a place in college radio, and this album 2 x 4 would have cemented it for all time if the followup hadn’t been so mediocre. And finally, years before they’d walk 500 miles for a haver, the other Scottish Reid brothers were getting coverage in the British mags, inspiring me to give their first album a try when it came into the station.

  • Sinéad O’Connor – Troy

Slow, long, and all over the place musically, I probably could have picked a better track. I still laugh when I remember Rob hearing this song, getting to the point where she screams, “I’d kill a dragon for you and die!!” and saying, “She’s not taking the breakup well, is she?”

  • The Smiths – Cemetry Gates

I hated The Smiths for a long time. Ben would play them just to irritate me. This was one of the only songs of theirs I enjoyed. And then one day, pow, I just suddenly flicked on the “Enjoy The Smiths” switch in my brain.

  • Bauhaus – She’s in Parties (edit)

I don’t know how or why but a joke developed between Ben and I that was turning into a great big goth. This wasn’t remotely true, but Bauhaus is here largely to represent that. This is my own edit, because of course the song is quite long, as it’s not so much a song as an adolescent phase.

  • Voice of the Beehive – Just a City

This is the album version of the song, which was slightly different from the version on the tape, which came from a compilation put out by Melody Maker called Indie Top 20, vol II (I also had volume one.) Honestly, I don’t remember what the difference even is. Those compilations were handy at the station because if I needed to go to the bathroom or pull records I could just slap one of those on and have five different songs worth of time. (To this day I still have recurring nightmares about being in the station, having the record be about to end, and having nothing to cue up afterwards.) This series of compilations will return with a vengeance later on.

Voice of the Beehive and That Petrol Emotion are also both notable because Ben, Katie, and I saw tem in concert at Tipitina’s. After That Petrol Emotion did a great sped-up version of “Belly Bugs” I yelled “That was great!” and the lead singer said, “He liked it! That one’s for him!” And when Voice of the Beehive sang “What You Have is Enough”, the singer sang a bit of it to Katie, who was dancing right towards the front. That was a great show.

  • R.E.M. – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

And they’re back, though we still aren’t quite at the point yet where I really dive into R.E.M. appreciation and end up having to do a lot of catching up.

This was the first tape to get its own name. It was originally The Cool New Music Tape VI, but I got tired of that and decided I would rename them. At first I was going to pick a single name and rename each one volume one, two, three, etc., but eventually I decided each would have its own name, a decision most people would have made in 20 seconds but took me a long time. I went back and retroactively gave earlier tapes names up to number three. For some reason the original two Cool New Music Tapes seemed to deserve to keep their names.

I don’t know where the phrase “Paradise Misplaced” came from, but I liked it as, of course, a play on “Paradise Lost” but also a slight pun. After I named the tape this, there was an interview with The Jesus and Mary Chain in a British music magazine and the title of the piece was “Paradise Misplaced” which I saw as some kind of synchronicity.

For the cover I wanted something abstract and ended up ripping off this piece of art from who knows who while doing a Google image search. If you know what this piece is and who did it, please let me know so I can credit them.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!


(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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