The Cool New Music Chronicles: Me and the Soviet Union

ME AND THE SOVIET UNION (December 1991)

 

Just before I moved out of my apartment in the summer of ’91 I decided to call a girl I’d met in one of my creative writing classes, Becky. I finally got my courage up to ask her out, but before I could do so, she mentioned a new boyfriend she had. However, shortly after that the boyfriend was no more, and I decided to ask her out. We started dating on August 14th.

Things were great – Becky wasn’t like most of the other girls I had dated. She was less prone to self-destructive behavior stemming from a terrible family life. In a lot of ways, although she was younger than me, I found her very intimidating. Still, we got along very well and were fairly serious in a short amount of time. Through her I expanded my circle of friends to include Jeff, Sean and Joanna, Deshae, Martin, and Doug. Most of these were people I had sort of known before, but she knew a lot better.

I tried to get into writing some more at this time, since I was still toying with the idea of going to graduate school for an MFA in Creative Writing, but that plan was slipping further and further away the more I realized I just wasn’t interested in doing it. Problem was, I didn’t know what I was interested in. So I graduated from LSU in December of 1991 with a degree in English and absolutely no idea where I would go from there.

  1. Dramarama – Until The Next Time
  2. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Kill Your Television
  3. The Trash Can Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks
  4. Toad the Wet Sprocket – Butterflies
  5. Ultra Vivid Scene – Three Stars
  6. The Lightning Seeds – The Nearly Man
  7. The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
  8. The Soup Dragons – Mother Universe [Remix]
  9. Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Midnight on the Murder Mile
  10. U2 – Mysterious Ways
  11. Bob Mould – Out Of Your Life
  12. Head Candy – Mona Lisa Overdrive
  13. Pixies – Subbacultcha
  14. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  1. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Head On
  2. Voice of the Beehive – Adonis Blue
  3. Uncle Green – I Don’t Know (I Just Wish)
  4. R.E.M. – Half A World Away
  5. The Lemonheads – Ride With Me
  6. Power of Dreams – Maire I Don’t Love You
  7. Material Issue – Very First Lie
  8. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Woyaho
  9. The La’s – There She Goes
  10. Trout Fishing in America – Sleepytime Cartoon
  11. Crash Test Dummies – Comin’ Back Soon
  12. The Sundays – Can’t Be Sure
  13. The Stone Roses – Waterfall
  14. Straitjacket Fits – Down in Splendour

This isn’t a bad followup to the previous, and still has a good variety.

  • Dramarama – Until The Next Time

I don’t remember how I got into these guys, but Vinyl is a whole lot of fun. I have a memory of this song: the power had flickered off in the middle of the night and come back on, and my CD player just started playing what was in it. I slept through it until, suddenly in my ear was “BANG AND HERE WE GO!”

This was also the time when bands were playing with the CD format. There’s a hidden track on this album called “Steve is Here” which is about a minute long. Except instead of being one minute-long track, it’s 60 one-second long tracks. You won’t know this unless either you’re watching the track counter on the player go up or, in my case, you’re got six disks in the player on shuffle and keep hearing it load a list, play one second of sound, and then load a different disc.

  • Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Kill Your Television

More of the fun music coming out of England at the time. There really was something in the water over there.

  • The Trash Can Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks
  • Ultra Vivid Scene – Three Stars
  • The Lightning Seeds – The Nearly Man
  • The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
  • Bob Mould – Out Of Your Life
  • R.E.M. – Half A World Away
  • The Lemonheads – Ride With Me
  • Material Issue – Very First Lie
  • Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Woyaho
  • The Sundays – Can’t Be Sure
  • The Stone Roses – Waterfall

These are the holdover from previously. It’s the end for the Lightning Seeds and The Stone Roses, and The Sundays are going to take a break. Bob Mould is leaving us as well, but he’ll be back soon.

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket – Butterflies

These were the new indie darling, and for good reason: Fear is a damn fine album (this track sort of belies the jangle-pop rest of it.) I’ll eventually use three tracks off of it but not “Walk on the Ocean” or “All I Want”, the two biggest songs from it.

  • The Soup Dragons – Mother Universe [Remix]
  • Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Midnight on the Murder Mile

“Mother Universe” is another track from the Indie Top 20 CD I got so much mileage out of on Dead Fly in My Nehi. Speaking of which, I said before that only one of the bands was one I would continue to follow? Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine is that band. I have 101 Damnations and still love it (and its title) and I used to have 30 Something but I don’t know what happened to it.

  • U2 – Mysterious Ways

I managed to make it through their early career, their serious phase, and their first bombastic phase without paying much attention to U2, (and, fair enough, I owned and liked The Joshua Tree) but they finally hit paydirt for me with Achtung Baby, despite it being a little bit of all of that rolled into one. Nevertheless, this is one of only two songs by U2 that will make it onto these tapes.

  • Head Candy – Mona Lisa Overdrive

Not a great song by not a great band that nobody but me has ever heard of, but hey, they had the comic character “The Vision” on their CD cover and a song named after a William Gibson book, so I gave them a shot. Something tells me these guys listened to a little Blue Oyster Cult.

  • Pixies – Subbacultcha

Yes, I didn’t get into the Pixies until Trompe le Monde, which is the album the true fans all hate, mostly because it got people like me into the band. I’ve since bought their other ones and I like about half of each one, but honestly, I can do without the songs that are just Black Francis screaming, and this album has less of that than the others.

Jeff and I used to try to turn this into a “Subway” sandwich shop ad. “SHE WAS HAVING A TURKEY SUB I WAS HAVING A TURKEY SUB WAY DOWN DOWN DOWN IN THIS…Subbawaya!”

  • Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Speaking of screamy bands, in 1991 you were obligated to own this, since it was of course Changing Everything. And it did…in hindsight, not exactly for the better. Things are about to get a lot more dour and miserable in the American music scene, folks.

  • The Jesus and Mary Chain – Head On

I don’t know why it took me this long to get to THE song off Automatic (it’s the fifth track I’ve pulled off it.)

  • Voice of the Beehive – Adonis Blue

Voice of the Beehive are back with their second album, Honey Lingers (it was going to be called something else that sort of rhymes, but their label balked.) It’s okay, but it didn’t consistently grab me as much as the first one did.

  • Uncle Green – I Don’t Know (I Just Wish)

Speaking of disappointing follow-ups, Uncle Green’s What an Experiment His Head Was is just…well, it’s not good, people.

  • Power of Dreams – Maire I Don’t Love You

Remember Rob? I briefly got in touch with him again at this time. He was living uptown in New Orleans and doing something that got him promotional CDs. This was one of two he gave me, and I liked it pretty well, though I eventually got rid of it. In fact, when compiling these mp3s I figured this one would be impossible to find but it turned out my library had a copy of it.

  • The La’s – There She Goes

I have a very vivid memory of dropping Becky off at her dorm one night and this song coming on after it and me just feeling this overwhelming sense of joy.

  • Trout Fishing in America – Sleepytime Cartoon

Becky had a friend in Shreveport named Deshae. They were such good friends, in fact, and Deshae was such a great person, that I felt like I really wanted to make a great impression on her. This was a band that Deshae and her friends really dug, and they’re great fun. It’s two guys, and they just make this nice, fun music. When they tour, they tend to do two shows: a kid’s show during the day and an adults show at night. (They play many of the same songs.) We saw them a couple of times and always enjoyed it.

  • Crash Test Dummies – Comin’ Back Soon

This is a clever song in its way but oh my god this is one of the most insufferable bands in history.

  • Straitjacket Fits – Down in Splendour

The other CD Rob gave me. I love this song and could just listen to it on endless repeat. The rest of the album, Melt is similarly moody and haunting.

On August 19, 1991 there was a coup in the Soviet Union that failed, basically putting the final nail in the coffin of the USSR. A few days earlier I got a new girlfriend. I had told someone, “A lot has happened in the past week for me and the Soviet Union.” The cover design is a rather literal interpretation.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!


(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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2 Responses to The Cool New Music Chronicles: Me and the Soviet Union

  1. Rob Barrett says:

    Is this Mrs. Legomancer of whom you speak?

  2. Mrs. Mancer says:

    It is!