The Cool New Music Chronicles: A Hand Big Enough to Slap the World

A HAND BIG ENOUGH TO SLAP THE WORLD (January 1993)

 

Kyle graduated from LSU in May of ’92, and I was looking to get away from that apartment complex anyway, so Kurt and I ended up moving in together around that time. We managed to find a place that wasn’t so close to campus that we were surrounded by fratboys and living on a football player street, but was close enough for the carless Kurt to get to school. We ended up in Place DuPlantier apartments on Lee Drive. Rent there was more than we should have paid, but it turned out to be a pretty good apartment. It was great living with Kurt, who was the best roommate I ever had. We had a lot in common, including a lot of the same habits, which led to a messy apartment but very few arguments.

My work was becoming more frustrating as I was starting to learn the joy of working tech support. I had the usual stupid user stories and headaches, and the usual clueless boss (not my immediate boss, but the head of the department) who made things extra difficult. I started to get dreams of becoming a network administrator in the private sector, and the huge dollars and respect that would garner me. It got to the point where a ringing phone would send my blood pressure up, even at home, because I had been conditioned to expect some annoying problem on the other end.

However, in other respects things were going great. Jeff and I were becoming really good friends and Becky and I had gotten more and more serious, to the point where by the time this tape was made, we were engaged.

  1. Pixies – Trompe Le Monde
  2. Nine Inch Nails – Wish
  3. Pearl Jam – Alive
  4. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away
  5. Live – Pain Lies on the Riverside
  6. Suzanne Vega – 99.9 F°
  7. Nirvana – Lithium
  8. Sugar – Helpless
  9. Velvet Crush – Ash And Earth
  10. Dada – Dim
  11. Toad The Wet Sprocket – Hold Her Down
  12. Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
  13. Ultra Vivid Scene – Poison
  1. Poi Dog Pondering – Lackluster
  2. The Lemonheads – Confetti
  3. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Rollercoaster
  4. Eugenius – Oomalama
  5. They Might Be Giants – I Palindrome I
  6. Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong
  7. The Judy Bats – Our Story
  8. Juliana Hatfield – Lost and Saved
  9. Teenage Fanclub – December
  10. T-Bone Burnett – Primitives
  11. The Sundays – Love
  12. Shriekback – Beatles Zebra Crossing?
  13. Spiritualized – Step Into the Breeze
  14. R.E.M. – Nightswimming

This tape is a lot less lazy, with a bunch of new stuff and some returning favorites.

  • Pixies – Trompe Le Monde
  • Pearl Jam – Alive
  • Live – Pain Lies on the Riverside
  • Nirvana – Lithium
  • Ultra Vivid Scene – Poison
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain – Rollercoaster
  • The Judy Bats – Our Story
  • Teenage Fanclub – December
  • T-Bone Burnett – Primitives

It’s the end of the road for Live, The Judy Bats, Teenage Fanclub, and T-Bone. I love this Ultra Vivid Scene song but I’m not sure why I never grabbed more from the first album.

  • Nine Inch Nails – Wish

Trent Reznor took his sweet time following up his debut album, and therefore when Broken turned out to be slightly more than an EP, it was hard not to be disappointed. In fact, we coined the term “Broken” to describe any CD that annoyingly clocked in at under 45 minutes. I liked this song, but the rest didn’t do a lot for me, and neither did The Downward Spiral a few years later. What I’m saying is, Nine Inch Nails and I part ways here.

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away

This is the funnest song ever.

  • Suzanne Vega – 99.9 F°

It’s been ten tapes and six years since we last saw Suzanne Vega. She had an album in between, but I had kind of lost track of her. This new album, of which this is the title track, knocked my socks off, and made me fall in love with her all over again.

  • Sugar – Helpless

Bob Mould’s back in his “Sugar” incarnation. I dug the hell out of this album and was just as excited about more to come from this group as Bob seemed in interviews.

  • Velvet Crush – Ash And Earth

I have no idea where I heard about these guys, but I remember scouring every record store looking for the CD until I finally had to get Parasite to special order it for me. And then I wasn’t sure what I had, as it was too fuzzy to be Material Issue but not moody enough to be The Jesus and Mary Chain. It took me a while to acclimate to the sound.

  • Dada – Dim

What I remember most about this CD: it stunk. I don’t mean that figuratively, though I don’t own it any more and let’s face it, this is not a good song. I mean the CD itself had this horrible stench to it.

  • Toad The Wet Sprocket – Hold Her Down

Out of all the poppy songs on this album, I chose a song about rape. Go, me!

  • Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

I know, I know. I too bought this album for some reason, and I too eventually sold it back. I still like this song well enough, though.

  • Poi Dog Pondering – Lackluster

For some reason I always associate these guys with Kelley, but here they are debuting way after we broke up, so obviously I got them from someone else. This album is a lot of fun, even if it does often stray into tie-dye-and-hacky-sack territory.

  • The Lemonheads – Confetti

I had enjoyed Favorite Spanish Dishes and Lovey, so when It’s a Shame About Ray came out, I bought it right away. The loyalty of me and other fans was repaid when, a few months later, the album was reissued with a bonus track, their cover of “Mrs. Robinson”. Thanks! Evan Dando and company catch a lot of flack still, but this album is still a great slice of pop.

  • Eugenius – Oomalama

Anyone remember these guys? I believe they were originally called Captain America, but a little-known comic book company had something to say about that, so they changed their name. When I was recreating these tapes on mp3 I had a hard time finding this track. Some may say the effort was not worth it.

  • They Might Be Giants – I Palindrome I

They Might Be Giants appeared before, and I had been listening to them since, but they never quite made the cut for some reason. Even though this song from Apollo 18 makes it, and there’s more where that came from, they will once again vanish for several tapes.

  • Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

Guys, I am so, so sorry.

If I had no scruples, this track would be thrown down the memory hole and replaced with something else, say…”Renee Remains the Same” by Material Issue, or “Our Swingin’ Pad” by Jonathan Richman, or “De-Luxe” by Lush. But no, I am a man of honor and this is what’s on the tape. I assume that I liked it at some point, but I honestly can’t remember this song…this band not irritating the hell out of me. This is the absolute nadir of the series as far as I am concerned, and I know a few things coming up.

  • Juliana Hatfield – Lost and Saved

I don’t know anything about the behind-the-scenes antics of all these musicians, but I just assumed that every guy Juliana Hatfield sang about was Evan Dando. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Juliana was (and is, I think) immensely talented but always seemed to be holding back, like she was afraid of doing too well. She should have been much more huge than she was.

  • The Sundays – Love

Remember this band? I didn’t think much of their second album, including the cover of “Wild Horses” that was in heavy rotation. This song was the only thing I salvaged before selling it back.

  • Shriekback – Beatles Zebra Crossing?

It had only been four years since Go Bang!, but that album combined with the fact that the last one had been a pretty limp compilation had convinced me that this band was done. So I was surprised not only when Sacred City was released, but also that it wasn’t bad!

  • Spiritualized – Step Into the Breeze

One of the bands that Spacemen 3 self-destructed into, Spiritualized kept up the theme of “like this chord? I hope so…it’s all you get for the next six minutes.” This is the band that finally convinced me that of all drugs, I liked the music that heroin inspired the best.

  • R.E.M. – Nightswimming

Everybody loves Automatic For the People except me. I suppose I did at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight I now recognize it as the beginning of the end for R.E.M. This song I love, but the rest of the album is now just dreck to me (and even with this song, I wish I could hear a version without the piano and strings. Why do you pay a guy like Peter Buck and then slather goddamn strings over everything?)

Not much to explain here; it’s pretty self-explanatory. I was angry about something or other. A lot of people were bugging me, I suppose, and I needed a hand big enough to slap the world. The cover is a literal interpretation.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!


(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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One Response to The Cool New Music Chronicles: A Hand Big Enough to Slap the World

  1. T. Derscheid says:

    If it’s any consolation, the Spin Doctors have been damned to tour eternally, without another hit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_Doctors#Discography