Gradually the people we knew from the U of I, who were all grad students, found jobs and went elsewhere. We remained one of the few original couples to be around, but that was changing. Becky had completed her dissertation and been on the job market now, and in early 2003 she was looking into offers from schools. It was clear that we were going to be moving, the only question was: where to? For a moment it looked like we would be going to Yankton, South Dakota, but then a college in Springfield, Massachusetts, made an offer and she accepted it. We were going to New England.
By this time Chris and Christine had left for South Carolina themselves, and I was mostly hanging with Dave, as well as two guys I met through him, Rob and Brian. I was running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign for them, and this news meant I would have to wrap it up. I was going to miss them, especially Dave who I’d gotten to be good friends with.
For my job, my boss agreed that I could stay on and work remotely, at least temporarily. This saved me the pressure of having to find a job immediately, so that was a relief. Nobody was really sure if working from home was going to be good for me; but it was only going to be for a short period.
We went to Springfield and did some house-hunting and stumbled into a really nice one purely by accident. We made an offer, it was accepted, and at the beginning of July we packed up all our things, bid farewell to Champaign-Urbana, and headed for Massachusetts.
(Incidentally, I had asked on a message board about Springfield and was told that I wasn’t really going to be living in Massachusetts, as I was in the Western part of the state. I was already used to this kind of foolishness, having spent the previous ten years living in the worthless part of Illinois that wasn’t Chicago.)
Becky sort of knew her colleagues, and it turned out that one couple we knew from Illinois was actually living nearby, but it was still a bit scary. Once again we were headed into the great unknown.
(This mix is posted about on my blog here.)
After finally getting my groove back I sort of do a little backsliding here, once again including some top 40 schmaltz. The big influence is still Shasradio, though this is about the time it had to shut down.
- The Apples in Stereo – Go
- The Minders – Yeah Yeah Yeah
- Dressy Bessy – If You Should Try To Kiss Her
My newfound love of The Minders led me into the oddball world of the Elephant 6 music collective, of which they were a tangential part. This brought me to Apples in Stereo and Dressy Bessy (and eventually elsewhere). This seemed to be a group that was just putting out fun, catchy, and interesting pop music, and I was glad to find them.
- Fountains Of Wayne – Bright Future In Sales
FoW’s third album, Welcome Interstate Managers may go on for one or two songs too long, but it pretty much cemented their place in my heart. They finally found some mainstream success with “Stacy’s Mom” (which we’ll talk about later) but that song only hinted at the number of characters on the album having difficulty adjusting to “grown-up” life.
- Dynamite Hack – Anyway
I haven’t a clue where I heard about this song.
- Sun Sawed in Half – The Beholder and his Eye
- April March – Chick Habit
- Chris Cornell – Can’t Change Me
- The Faint – Worked Up So Sexual
All of these were popular tunes on Shasradio.
- Foo Fighters – All My Life
- The Strokes – Someday
- Cracker – Shine
- Cake – Shadow Stabbing
- Hooverphonic – Battersea
- Jimmy Eat World – The Authority Song
- Weezer – Keep Fishin’
- They Might Be Giants – Yeh Yeh
- Suzanne Vega – Last Year’s Troubles
- Wilco – Kamera
- Ben Folds – Annie Waits
More album mining here. The Jimmy Eat World song references the Jesus and Mary Chain, which I like.
- Ryan Adams – New York, New York
Ryan Adams was the talk of the indie rock scene for a while and I got hold of one of his CDs. It didn’t blow me away, and to be honest, I’m not sure why I even included this song here, because god knows we sure don’t need yet another song that’s a love letter to New York City.
- The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash – 440 Horses
I don’t know if this came from Shasradio or not. It could have come from “Paste” magazine, which we had started to get, and which featured indie rock of a folk/country/singer-songwriter bent.
- The Thorns – Runaway Feeling
In lieu of a new album, Matthew Sweet teamed up with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge and put out an album of, well, kinda treacly Crosby, Stills, and Nash stuff.
- Soul Coughing – Screenwriter’s Blues
We finally got Soul Coughing’s first CD, Ruby Vroom, and this song just kicked my ass.
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
And speaking of ass-kicking songs. Honestly, the White Stripes don’t really do it for me, but I love this song.
- Rooney – If It Were Up To Me
Becky heard these guys somewhere and we got the CD. I liked some of it, but most of it just kind of flew past me.
- Sum 41 – In Too Deep
Okay, I have absolutely no idea where this came from. I don’t dislike it — it’s the kind of power-punk stuff I actually enjoy — but I don’t know where the hell I heard it, why I downloaded it, or how it made it here.
- John Mayer – No Such Thing
Yes, yes, I know. And I’m not going to deny this one — I liked the song, I added it by conscious choice. I had no idea at the time how overplayed it would be and how irritating this guy would be.
- Rhett Miller – This is What I Do
Remember Kelley, who I dated before Becky? She was big into the Dallas music scene and knew Rhett Miller. I had, somewhere, a tape of his early solo stuff, as well as the band that would eventually become the Old 97s, thanks to her. I hadn’t paid much attention to him or them (other than my co-worker John playing an Old 97’s CD and — every time — me asking, “Who is this?”) but I heard an interview with him on NPR and they played this song and that’s how it came to be here.
- Beck – Lost Cause
Beck’s Sea Change is a magnificent album. It details the dissolution of a relationship in stark, simplistic detail, and this song distills the entire thing down to one track.
Rob, one of the guys I was gaming with, claimed that he was in a game store one day where a role-playing session was taking place, and that one of the players announced this action. I think it’s one of the greatest phrases ever. For the cover, I used one of my own Lego ninjas, outfitting him with a pistol from some action figure. And on the back, the scene of the crime.
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)