Fortunately for me, not long after my graduation a job landed right in my lap, and in early 1992 I went to work for the State of Louisiana, doing computer tech support and network administration. It seemed like a dream come true – I got to mess around with computers all day long and got to learn all kinds of new things about them. For a while it was a lot of fun and really interesting. With my first real job I was able to afford a new car, and soon I bought my first car. So I had a new(ish) apartment, a new job, new girl, new car, I was really moving on in the world.
Becky and I continued to get closer, and I was still hanging out a lot with Anna and Kurt, but I was also spending a lot of time at a bar called The Chimes, with Jeff and Martin and Doug. We drank pitchers of Abita Amber and dreamed about having a band which was first called “Buttered Hand” and later “Burlap Cat”. These were some of the less bizarre names we came up with in these sessions. That project never got very far.
In retrospect, I was now sort of living the life I’d fantasized about back in the summer of ’86. Here I was, with my friends, at our usual hangout. We had our girlfriends and our own places to take them to, we talked about a band, griped about our classes or work, and basically lived as normal adults. Strange how we couldn’t seem to find that just out of high school.
There’s a fair amount of going through the motions here, with only a few standout tracks.
- Teenage Fanclub – The Concept
No idea how I found out about Teenage Fanclub, but their Bandwagonesque album is so right up my alley I’m amazed I never went any further with them. I’m also surprised this song made the Cool New Music Tape cut, being that it’s forty years long, with 28 of those years being guitar solo — not at all my usual thing.
- The Cure – High
The Cure are back but don’t take their jackets; they’re not staying. Wish just didn’t grab me, as it seemed way too fluffy and cutesy even for The Cure (as this song attests, I think). I didn’t keep it long. I also didn’t succumb to the omnipresent single, “Friday I’m In Love”.
- The Jesus and Mary Chain – Far Gone and Out
- Ultra Vivid Scene – Staring at the Sun
- The La’s – Feelin’
- Dramarama – Haven’t Got A Clue
- Straitjacket Fits – Missing Presumed Drowned
- Head Candy – Soul Grinder
- Nirvana – In Bloom
- Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Grey Cell Green
- Toad the Wet Sprocket – Is It For Me
- Power of Dreams – Talk
- Voice of the Beehive – Say It
- The Trash Can Sinatras – Only Tongue Can Tell
- R.E.M. – Near Wild Heaven
- Trout Fishing in America – Lost in Her Lips
- Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Times Like This
Despite now having a real job and being fabulously wealthy, this is a lot of repeats, though the Jesus and Mary Chain track is from a new album. At some point I found the followup to Melt by Straightjacket Fits. It was called Blow, and it did. “Soul Grinder” is not a good song, but I like the guitary bits.
- Live – Operation Spirit
Last time I referred to Crash Test Dummies as one of the most insufferable bands in history, but if these guys aren’t the champs, they’re at least way up there. Let’s look at the full title of this song:
- Live – Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Power Of Equality
I had been exposed to the Chili Peppers in the past, of course, but they never really clicked with me. This was partly because they were a bit too “California” for my tastes, but also because, being so very white, the funk that fuels them so much just didn’t do anything for me. But I guess by this time they had watered down their sound enough and I had loosened up enough that suddenly we were overlapping, and I could really appreciate the fun behind this album. It’s only this moment, though, as the albums after this left me cold again.
- Pearl Jam – Even Flow
On April 11, 1992, Pearl Jam was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, which Becky and I were regular viewers of. Neither one of us was familiar with the band, but Eddie Vedder’s intense performance of “Alive” had me (and practically everyone else I knew) out buying Ten the next day. I was too old for the grunge movement to be any kind of anthemic thing for me, and its founding fathers didn’t really keep my interest as long as they seemed to for many others. But I have to admit, Ten has held up fairly well.
- Pixies – Motorway to Roswell
I have a short story loosely based on (more “inspired by”, really) this song, but I’ve never written it down. It’s not that great of a story, honestly.
- Material Issue – Valerie Loves Me
In true power-pop fashion, Valerie isn’t aware this guy exists.
- Uncle Green – I Don’t Wanna Know About It
Not a great song, and the rest of the album is worse. Shortly after this they got on a major label and their debut there — Book of Bad Dreams — is awful. Shame, because there’s a really good band in there.
- Michelle Shocked – Come a Long Way
Michelle is back but this new album, Arkansas Traveler, just never did it for me. I stopped following her after this, which is my loss; she’s still putting out good music.
- The Judy Bats – She’s Sad She Said
This is the weirdest damn band. They have the sound of one of those small bands from England in which every song mentions some bit of local geography that you’re just supposed to know about. Thing is, they’re from the American South, and instead of England, they refer to bits of culture there. I love the first verse of this song.
- Crash Test Dummies – Here on Earth
This song is very difficult to listen to now.
- T-Bone Burnett – Humans From Earth (alt)
One of the items in my collection of soundtracks to movies I never saw is the Until the End of the World soundtrack, which features this version of a track that’s also on his album, The Criminal Under My Own Hat (which was purchased based on this song). I like this starker version of the song better.
- Jonathan Richman – When She Kisses Me
Hey look who’s back! Jonathan played at a club in Baton Rouge and I fell in love with him all over again and stated buying his solo CDs which, for some reason, I had ignored before.
This was a poke at Jeff, who had told me that he and a certain girl had been “Up all night…you know…talking.” I thought it was funny at the time. The cover is a remixed version of a 1950s romance comic book.
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)