The Cool New Music Chronicles: How Can There Be a God When There’s So Much Corn?



Most of the first half of 1993 was spent preparing for the wedding. Anyone who has had a wedding of any size knows what goes into it, and ours wasn’t even that big. Becky had been accepted into the graduate program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, so we also had to travel to Illinois to find a place to live. And I had to find a job there. It was an incredibly busy time.

But it all came together, and we got married on August 14th, 1993, two years after our first date. Jeff was the best man, and Julie, Becky’s sister, was the maid of honor. Kurt and my brother-in-law, George, were groomsmen and Karen (Becky’s other sister) and Deshae were bridesmaids. I’m told it was a very nice wedding but honestly, when you’re at the center of all that, you really don’t actually see it. I don’t know who caught the bouquet, but Sean caught the garter, and at his wedding Kurt caught the same garter.

Out of respect I invited Rob and Katie, which was easy since they were now living together. It was the first time I had seen either of them in some time, and it would be the last time I ever saw her.

There was no honeymoon; we had to be in Illinois by Monday, so we spent all the next day driving up there. We had an apartment in the basement of a huge house owned by a history professor. It was a dreary apartment, and always cold (we had heaters running in the middle of August) but it was home to us. We had brought my dog from my parents’ house, Spud the chihuahua, and the three of us enjoyed our little home as much as we could.

Champaign was smaller than Baton Rouge, and of course we didn’t know much of anyone, so it was only ourselves for a while, but we were very busy. Becky was starting graduate school and feeling homesick, and I had gotten a job with Apex Computers, a small computer shop, that I thought was going to turn into bigger things. We were also discovering new things about our town, such as the radio station called “The Planet” that played only alternative music!

It was a very exciting, yet frightening time.

  1. Soul Asylum – Somebody to Shove
  2. Gin Blossoms – Hey Jealousy
  3. Poi Dog Pondering – Jack Ass Ginger
  4. Matthew Sweet – Evangeline
  5. Murray Attaway – Living in Another Time
  6. The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray
  7. R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
  8. Belly – Slow Dog
  9. The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
  10. Suzanne Vega – In Liverpool
  11. Dada – Mary Sunshine Rain
  12. Shriekback – Exquisite Corpse
  1. Pearl Jam – Black
  2. Tool – Sober
  3. Stone Temple Pilots – Plush
  4. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Sugar Ray
  5. Pixies – Planet of Sound
  6. Depeche Mode – Rush
  7. Radiohead – Creep
  8. Ultra Vivid Scene – Blood and Thunder
  9. Velvet Crush – Windows To The World
  10. Juliana Hatfield – Everybody Loves Me But You
  11. Brenda Kahn – Mint Juleps And Needles
  12. The Darling Buds – Long Day in the Universe

There’s not a whole lot of new stuff here, but most of what is can be attributed to radio station 107.1, The Planet. This was the point when “alternative” became a viable radio format, and suddenly bands that had been ignored by anything but college stations were being welcomed with open arms.

  • Soul Asylum – Somebody to Shove
  • Poi Dog Pondering – Jack Ass Ginger
  • The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray
  • Suzanne Vega – In Liverpool
  • Shriekback – Exquisite Corpse
  • Pearl Jam – Black
  • Pixies – Planet of Sound
  • Velvet Crush – Windows To The World
  • Juliana Hatfield – Everybody Loves Me But You

We’re done with the Pixies, and never left their last album, which is a shame, but there you have it. Suzanne Vega is going to take another break after this, which is odd because there are a lot more good songs on that album. I sent a copy of this tape to Anna and Kurt once they were married and living in Mississippi, and though I expected her to like other stuff, the song that really grabbed her was “Jack Ass Ginger”.

  • Gin Blossoms – Hey Jealousy
  • Tool – Sober
  • Stone Temple Pilots – Plush

This was the sort of stuff I was hearing on The Planet, and the novelty of it excited me. The Gin Blossoms was pretty standard jangle-pop fare, true, and Stone Temple Pilots were the band you signed because Pearl Jam was taking too long to come out with another album. Tool was probably the most radically different sound for me. Neither of the latter two really stuck with me. I was getting a little too old for the standard mope-and-angst stuff.

  • Matthew Sweet – Evangeline

Matthew Sweet hit it big with Girlfriend, and it hit every right power-pop note for me. (I wouldn’t find out until later that this song was about a comic book character.) It’s strange that this is the only song from this album to make it onto one of my tapes.

  • Murray Attaway – Living in Another Time

The former lead singer of Guadalcanal Diary had a solo album that, honestly, wasn’t that great. This was the track I saved from it.

(Fun Fact: Kelley had been very much into the music scene in Dallas, where she came from, and talked often of the musicians she knew there. When I saw Murray Attaway’s name in the record store, I recognized it, but thought it was her friend Murray she had talked about. I soon realized my mistake. But her friend was Murry Hammond, and her other friend was Rhett Miller, and they’re now the Old 97’s.)

  • R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

This song kinda really bugs me now.

  • Belly – Slow Dog

I never got heavy into Throwing Muses and I’m not sure where I first heard Belly but boy do I love this band. This whole album is just delightful, and the second one was even better!

  • The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Yes, I know, this song was everywhere. But I can legitimately say I liked The Proclaimers before they broke huge.

  • Dada – Mary Sunshine Rain

This song is dreadful.

  • The Jesus and Mary Chain – Sugar Ray

My heart died a little when I heard this song used in a beer commercial.

  • Depeche Mode – Rush

Hey hey! Has it really been four tapes since the last Depeche Mode Song? Songs of Faith and Devotion was pretty interesting, but the band’s newer grungy sound and fixation on guitars was not what I listened to Depeche Mode for. You’d never call anything of theirs “perky”, but the muddy sound here is such an unfortunate product of its time. Nirvana really did a lot of damage, didn’t they?

  • Radiohead – Creep

Another one I got from The Planet and I’m not going to say as much here as I could. I’ll just point out that it’s the only Radiohead song to make it onto a tape and leave it at that.

  • Ultra Vivid Scene – Blood and Thunder

Look who else has a new album out! You can’t imagine how excited I was to finally get some new Ultra Vivid Scene. However, Rev is…well, it’s a mess. There are a lot of plodding, dreary songs here, heavy on the guitar noodling. It was a huge disappointment.

  • Brenda Kahn – Mint Juleps And Needles
  • The Darling Buds – Long Day in the Universe

I picked up a compilation called Genrecide that I was hoping would provide a lot of listening fuel, but alas, not much on it stuck with me. (It would be bad enough if I’ve since gotten rid of it; the sadder truth is I have no idea, since I haven’t thought about it in years.) It did provide me with these two tracks, and this Brenda Kahn song prompted me to grab her album, Epiphany in Brooklyn. The Darling Buds song (and a couple more Britpop songs on the compilation) hint at the much more interesting stuff going on in England while we in the States were wasting our time with morose GRR GRR GRR dirges.

Me: Man, there is an ungodly amount of corn here.
Jeff: Ungodly?
Me: That’s right. Enough corn to make you doubt the very existence of God.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!

(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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3 Responses to The Cool New Music Chronicles: How Can There Be a God When There’s So Much Corn?

  1. D.J.T. says:

    The second instance of Dada on the CMNT has made me realize two things:

    1. A lot of their stuff doesn’t hold up.

    2. You had an unerring instinct for the tracks that didn’t hold up.

    Although we still haven’t seen “Dizz Knee Land,” which got a lot of attention at the time but at this remove just seems gimmicky. Some of their other songs still work for me, like the drum-and-guitar conversation at the beginning of their jailbait anthem “Posters” (linked).

    I was sufficiently out of the loop that I never knew if the stuff I was listening to was huge or local or what, though. Did the band Toy Matinee ever make it off the West Coast, or was that just us in California? “Last Plane Out” would have been about this time.

  2. Kevin Lighton says:

    Two of Toy Matinee’s songs got to #23 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts, which would imply they were more than just California (although the album only got to #129).

  3. Zhu Wuneng says:

    Hey Dave, have you ever checked out Orange Juice? If nothing else, seek out their cover of Subway Sect’s “Holiday Hymn”.