Sunday, April 22, 2012

Record Store Day Postview

I put back a picture disc single for the new Cult single on the grounds that I’m not confident of their output any longer (and probably haven’t been since Sonic Temple) and I returned the “Diddy Wah Diddy” single by Captain Beefheart because I already have that on vinyl somewhere. I passed on the other Flaming Lips release because I refuse to say “Fwends” and because they’ve released nothing but rare nonsense for an entire year now. Time to let the other bands have some fun, fellas.
“I knew you’d make it, man!” a smiling Kirk Walther greeted me as I approached the counter at the Record Collector store in Iowa City. A line extended around the used cd center piece where a few dozen patrons waited patiently to be checked out. It was the kind of business that any store owner would smile over, each customer clutching what they managed to stumble upon.

I arrived about 15 minutes after the store opened for Record Store Day, a clear admission of defeat as I knew there would be a lot more devotees than I could claim. I was there before I was last year, which found me scavaging the leftovers, but still satisfied for showing up.

RSD 2012 found me bringing a wish list, but understanding that I’d probably come up short on more than a few of my items.

“We just sold that one.” Walther relayed, pointing to the T-Rex 6 X 7” box set of T-Rex’s Electric Warrior that was on my hand-written list. I’ve had three copies of this record at some point in my life, so I wasn’t too worked up that I missed out on another version of it.

Feistodon was sold out and they didn’t stock a copy of the 10” live e.p. from The Knack. I made up for it with a pink and white tie-dye version of The MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams.” It was the old Elektra singles label that sealed the deal. Well, that and the fact that Africa Bambaattaa’s version is on the flip, complete with the old Tommy Boy label.

“There’s still a few copies left of that Iggy record in the center section in back.” He offered. When I went back to snag a copy, I noticed the vinyl version of the new Dr. John record. It was like this all morning, I’d look for something on my list and I’d even up with something that wasn’t on it in addition to whatever I found.

The customers that I did battle with were clearly there with a sense of urgency. The Misfits record and the Widespread Panic album were one of the first to go as was a bunch of stuff that I wasn’t that interested in. The Phish albums went quick, and there was a few bands that I wasn’t familiar with who seemed to be rarities by the time I entered the store.

Supposedly, the second guy in line got there at 1:00am, which is totally righteous. I mean, how often in this day and age do you hear about anyone camping out all night in front of a record store.? Judging by the pictures, the dude looked totally exhausted, but jubilant as he displayed the items that he scored from his devotion.

I was in the zone for a moment, jumping through a bunch of singles at a nice click where I grabbed The Byrds “Feel A Whole Lot Better” reissue, the Mike Watt & the Missingmen/Chuch Dukowski Sextet split, and the pink vinyl version of Mastodon’s “Spoonful Weighs A Ton” split with the Lips.

My eye caught a single for The Mynabirds and I quickly secured a copy. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that it wasn’t the Neil Young/Rick James band of the same name, The Mynah Birds. Instead, it was some band on Saddle Creek label and I was super pissed at how I could have let this happened. I was caught up in the Record Store Day frenzy! If anyone wants to trade even up for my copy of the Mynabirds with a copy of The Mynah Birds, hit me up on the request line.

And what would record store day be without some mindless spending? After a while, I noticed that my goodies kept getting larger and larger, to the point where I had to put some things away.

I put back a few used cds while keeping a copy of Bob & Doug McKenzie’s Great White North album. I also held on to The Hums Of The Lovin Spoonful-a record that was one of my favorites when I was four or five- and there was a 30th anniversary edition of Bob Marley’s Exodus that was had for next to nothing.

When I went back to make a second sweep, I notice that the 7” box set for Unrest’s Perfect Teeth had been sold. Even though it wasn’t really a Record Store Day special, the Record Collector had 10% off anything that wasn’t a RSD exclusive. “Cath Carroll” is awesome.

Maybe that’s just the excuse I need to make a return visit well before the Record Store Day 2013.

Before I do any further consideration of record purchases, I first need to devote the time necessary to actually listen to the stuff I just purchased. Here it is, 24 hours later, and I’ve only managed to get though the singles at least once as well as a run-through of Great White North.

Because what I failed to bargain for what how vinyl records require you to make a commitment in some manner. It forces you to be in front of your stereo for around 40 minutes and devote that entire time to listening to that album.

I never imagined that I’d have to make plans not only to participate in Record Store Day, but to find the time to actually listen to the records that brought me out in the first place.

The line outside prior to opening.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Record Store Day Preview

Record Store Day is tomorrow.

Here’s my super-duper wish list that will go largely unfilled:

1.) The Knack – Live In Los Angeles 1978 A red/yellow speckled 10” vinyl account of the live prowess of this shit-hot power-pop band.
2.)  Mastodon/Feist – “Commotion” b/w “Black Tounge” The most unusual pairing for R.S.B. in a split 7” that is both intriguing and potentially awesome.
3.)  The Flaming Lips/Mastodon – “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton” Just the idea of Mastodon covering the Lips’ original on the flip has got me a bit hot ‘n bothered.
4.)  Mike Watt & the Missingmen/The Chuck Dukowski Sextet – “Sweet Honey Pie” b/w “My War” I can already hear Watts’ voice, but I’d like to gander Dukowski’s take on the Black Flag gem.
5.)  The Mynah Birds – “It’s My Time” b/w “Go On And Cry” What’s this? A single featuring the band that Neil Young and Rick James were in? Give it to me baby!

This year is unique as I’ll be able to fly solo for the first time ever. Typically, I’m tethered to the children (or wife) which impedes the nostalgic feel of a time where I could go to a store like The Record Collector and spend the better part of two hours digging through the bins.

None of that in 2012, and while I don’t think I’ll be part of the initial rush, there is part of me that wants a running chance at some of those titles above. The Record Collector remains the last man standing, and this year is kind of special as it’s also the store’s 30th anniversary.

The story of the Record Collector can be found here, or at least a quick look back at the salad days as well as some surprising thoughts about Record Store Day from owner, Kirk Walther. He admits that he was kind of embarrassed when the music lover holiday was first announced five years ago.

From the Little Village article: “When the idea was first conceived, I was quietly embarrassed,” Walther said. “To me it simply magnified the fact that record/CD stores were in their death throes because of internet competition, and that to have a ‘special’ day glorifying a failing entity was self-defeating.”

I think I get that, and I kind of felt the same way. It seemed like a last-gasp effort, but thanks to those that were envolved, the focus shifted on getting people back into the experience of going to a record store. Then they began to offer things that focused on the other aspect of record buying, like the visual art of the product and the phyiscial act of actually holding the record or absorbing the liner notes.

Just the idea of it all is psyching me up.

I’ve spent a large amount of time in record stores. I remember those moments of being in a record store, feeling the pressure of being there with someone who doesn’t appreciate the entire experience as much as you do. You see that they’re ready to go, and you’re not even to the “E” section yet.

I’ve been there looking for nothing in particular, only to stumble across something that you’ve been searching for a very long time. That moment of elation, knowing that anything else you may find is just gravy.

I’ve also been there when you’re searching for a sound, and the employee behind the counter points you in just the right spot, handing you that record you’d never heard of before it becomes the thing you couldn’t take off the record player.

Walther’s been that guy for me, providing me with an impressive hit-to-miss ratio in his recommendations. When you consider the number of emotional connections that he himself initiated with the records he’s handed to me, I think I owe him more than one visit a year.

That’s something I’m working on, because I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad moment in a record store.

Even when the store employees acts a little snarky-which Walther and staff could be at times-it’s critical to let that pecking order run its course and it’s just as important to be able to grow a thicker skin when you find yourself in front of some eye rolling of a clerk who doesn’t share your appreciation of the Scorpions.

Twenty-five years ago, The Record Collector was in this tiny upstairs location, cooled by two window air conditioners that felt marvelous on sweltering Iowa summers. It was cramped. It was perfect.

There were two guys who worked with Kirk, a big haired dreadlocked dude who’s name I’ve forgotten and Mike Sangster, veteran of legendary Iowa rockers The Hollowmen and later of Head Candy, a band who once appeared on MTV’s 120 Minutes. Sangster could be a real prick, but the bands he was in were really awesome, so what can you do? Sometimes I’d bring in some nifty radio items and if Kirk wasn’t there, his other two employees would differ an offer, leaving me hanging.

But I kept coming back, because every time I left the store I was sure to have something that I liked. I’m sure the same will hold true tomorrow.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Losing Touch With My Mind: Socks, Spacemen 3 and Iowa's No Fault Divorce Law

I found some socks in my drawer that I didn’t recognize.

With clear mind, I knew that they weren’t mine. I also determined that they weren't my wife's that happened to find their way into my sock drawer. They looked familiar, but they weren't her style. What would she need in a pair of argyle socks when she didn't even own a pair of khakis?

I think of socks as a utilitarian article of clothing, something that should relatively match in color the other aspects of the wardrobe, while not distracting from the ensemble through pattern or design.

So, whose fucking socks are these?

I’m happily married now, but there was a time that I wasn’t happily married, albeit to someone different. I know that every divorce is different, but those who have experienced it understand its toll. And part of that is your mind’s ability to block out moments of time in your life while still remembering that there are big gaps in your mind that are still accessible.

It’s unfair to deny yourself your own history, but it’s a defense mechanism that prevents you from ultimately remembering the outcome of that part of your past: the divorce. With a little bit more focus, I remembered how these curious pair of socks was left behind in a bedroom set that I moved with me after the divorce was final. I didn’t think about it at the time, I just threw them in a laundry basket while I removed the shelves from the highboy to make carrying that monstrosity much easier.

The walnut bedroom set was that of my grandmother, so I dutifully wrote it down on my list of things that I felt I was entitled to when we began the process of identifying property ownership. I also put down the musical instruments (except the longhorn bass I bought for her and the SWR amplifier), the memorabilia from various rock shows, my library desk and chair, and, of course, the entire remnants of our music collection. It was easier to identify “her” titles, but I found a bit of resistance when she tried to claim that those records that she actually purchased for me were actually hers since she paid for them.

I successfully pointed out the lunacy of such a claim, secretly worrying that she would be walking away with my rare copy of Captain Beefheart’s Lick My Decals Off, Baby--a record she most assuredly wouldn’t appreciate.

Thankfully, we compromised on all of this quickly. I was in no mood to communicate with her, let alone barter, and I understood how utterly ridiculous this would all look from the outside.

We would be arguing over records.

Months later, when the collection was secured and transported to my new home, I took time in making sure everything was in its right place. I alphabetized the collection, taking mental inventories of the various artists and putting their catalog in chronological order.

In some instances, it’s harder to do this, particularly if the artist was short-lived, but their posthumous catalog kept growing.

I found this out when getting to the Spacemen 3 section.

Spacemen 3 weren’t together all that long, releasing around a half-dozen records during their actual existence while watching their offerings increase after they broke up, thanks to the introduction of live recordings, demos, and unreleased material.

Should I put For All The Fucked Up Children Of This World before Sound Of Confusion since it features demo recordings from before those sessions, but was released well after the debut? Should I put my copy of Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To ahead of…

Wait a second.

Where was my copy of Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To?

I went through every title in my entire collection again to see if I had misfiled it. All of this must sound incredibly compulsive, but trust me, it is so much easier to find if you suddenly have an urge to hear the demo version of “Feel So Good” instead of the proper studio version. It’s right there, no waiting, no searching.

Several months later, my newly christened ex-wife called me in my new home one evening. I would typically let calls like these go directly to voice mail after discovering that we really didn’t need to communicate, except through lawyers, and that any attempt at rational conversation would just escalate into her screaming at me.

For some reason, I answered the call.

She was moving out of our old house, and that meant we’d need to sell it.

“I found an old Spacemen 3 record in the computer room,” she told me.

“I’ve been looking for that!” my voice blurted with obvious relief. “Can you send it to me?”

It was obvious to her how important this record must have been to me and this clearly gave her some additional power.

“It’s mine!” she shot back.

My head filled with rage as I understood completely what she was doing. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to quiz her on the history of Spacemen 3 ("What's Sonic Boom's real name?!") and point out that she had no clue to who they were before meeting me.

“But I bought it for you,” she fired back, “and now I’m keeping it because I paid for it.”

There were miles between us during this phone call, but I could see her smile with delight as if she were right in front of me. She had me. She began to suggest that I had obtained all of the items I was entitled to. There would be no discussion of additional possessions that I failed to acquire when I moved out.

I could hear her laughing as I sputtered out excuses at how this had turned into a very immature dispute. “What could you possibly want from the 1985 demo sessions by the Spacemen 3?” I desperately asked.

“I’m fucking with you!” she offered after a good chuckle. “I’ll put them in the mail on Monday.”

Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To sits next to the other titles in my Spacemen 3 collection today, a rare title where the incidents around the record are more notable than the music contained within it. It may not be the case for other listeners, but for me, the act of possessing it far outweighs the performance. I’d heard these songs before, and in most cases, much better versions. But if you’re a completist, that’s beside the point.

The original intent of the record was to fill in the gaps, but it turned into a verifiable battle of the sexes. A footnote to a failed marriage as recalled by a stray pair of argyle socks found in my drawer this morning.

This article originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


It’s Easter.

A time when you make sure you don’t paint the Easter eggs yellow, for fear that they'll get lost among the dandelions that have come up early this year.

We’re on a farm near the Mississippi River, visiting my wife’s parents. And although we’re literally off of Highway 61 (revisited), it’s a distance to any port of civilization and at least an hour from the nearest Starbucks.

I get comfort from attending service where the same prayers have been read for centuries, but the church I’m visiting today on this Easter Sunday is more contemporary. They sing contemporary Christian songs and tailor their service to run like a concert. The words to the songs are projected on to a screen so that we may sing along. But if you don’t have the sheet music to go with it, you’re hosed. And since I’m not versed in contemporary Christian music, I observe and stay silent.

Not that I’m familiar with many traditional Christian songs either, but my wife knows them and I like hearing her sing. The only one that’s familiar to me today is the two they always seem to perform when we visit here: “Lord I Lift Your Name On High” and another one called “My Redeemer Lives.”

I long for the old “O Lamb Of God” verse we have at my Episcopal church. First the leader. Then the choir. Then the congregation.

Then the recommendation that I left in last week’s offering plate.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Nils - The Nils

Life ain’t fair, but the thorns of injustice hit Montreal’s The Nils particularly hard. Blessed with an impeccable sense of melody and bursting at the seams with post-punk energy, The Nils left behind a small catalog of evidence and an endless amount of unrealized potential.

The Nils debut full-length was released in 1987. Part of the funding the band received leading up to their debut came from the guy from Men Without Hats. Even people back then thought it was an odd pairing, too.

It’s because The Nils sound nothing like Men Without Hats, but they do sound a lot like The Replacements. In some weird moment of synchronicity, a pair of brothers from Canada created noise out of boredom. After a few days of tinkering with a new guitar, Carlos Soria noticed that his brother Alex was getting good with his instrument.

They formed a band with a few more young locals, and before too long The Nils were getting noticed. And for a bunch of teenagers, they sounded pretty good.

Particularly Alex Soria, who began to write some emotionally vulnerable stuff under the racket that he and his brother were bashing through their amplifiers.

Aside from a few e.p.’s on Canadian labels that made Twin/Tone look like a major, the band waited on the sidelines for their moment.

And when it came, it became their undoing.

When the band was finally extended an offer, they were in desperation mode. They signed the first offer presented to them and on the surface, it looked promising. Rock Hotel Records started life as a rock subsidiary for Profile Records, who were enjoying tremendous success with rap artists like Run-D.M.C.

The Nils collects a dozen tunes of sloppy, up-tempo punk/pop that displayed just as many signs of “maturity” while avoiding the tiredness sound that plagued the ‘Mats own forays into adulthood (Don’t Tell A Soul).

Instead, the vast majority of the songs on their debut feature galloping rhythms and three-chorded brashness. You’ll find no trouble name checking the bands that followed The Nils tradition and you’ll be able to find several that made a decent living doing it. But you won’t be able to find a suitable explanation as to why The Nils weren’t able to create similar favor.

The opener “River Of Sadness” builds from an acoustic twelve-string into rollicking bit of melancholia. Westerberg himself-particularly with his association to the Mississippi-would have enjoyed penning Soria’s plaintive musing “By the river of sadness/My heart unfolds.”

The Nils is filled with emotional depth, hidden under arrangements that most undoubtedly rocked the cigarette smoke off of more than a few dives in its day.

And just at the moment when the band began to play to larger audiences, their upstart label lost the financial backing of their parent company. The Nils suddenly found themselves in a quiet van ride back to Canada, and when they arrived home, they faced a myriad of legal wrangling just to get back to the same point as when they began.

All of this, of course, also kept The Nils out of print and out of record stores. By the time it was over, we had unceremoniously forgotten about the band, right around the same time a bunch of younger bands had figured out how to present a similar approach directly into the mainstream.

While lesser bands rode to their own 120 minutes of success, The Nils floundered at home-the wind completely out of their sails and their bitterness leading them into addiction. Alex decided to walk by the railroad tracks one day a few years ago after another setback fell on him and instead of turning back to go home and start over, he walked directly into the path of an oncoming train.

What a shame, mainly because Alex used to conduct one of rock music’s most formidable locomotives himself and The Nils is the best example of that power before everything derailed too soon.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Fall - Ersatz GB

Featuring the same band found on Your Future Our Clutter, The Fall’s twenty-ninth album sonically mirrors the previous effort with Mark E. Smith incorporating even more marbles in his mouth.

And since Clutter was such a winner, Ersatz GB is more of the same, with the only disappointment being that it’s exactly that: more of the same. The line-up has become so adept at following M.E.S.’ phlegm that they sound a bit safe at times. There’s little evidence that the whole thing could go off the rails, and because Smith sometimes works best when he’s his own worst enemy, it’s an odd feeling.

Make no mistake, Ersatz GB is not accessible enough to finally make The Fall a household name, but it is the first Fall record in quite a while that appeals exclusively to longtime fans like myself while giving novices little reason to seek out the previous 28 efforts.

Closer “Age Of Chang” does hint of a little chaos thanks to bullhorn vocals and lo-fi recording strategies that make Smith sound like some propaganda minister preaching over the airwaves while the band suddenly returns to proper fidelity. The problem is, they’ve used this strategy before, or better put Mark has used this strategy before during another lineup, decades ago.

If it was challenging then, what does that make it now?

It makes it an effort reeking of going through the motions, lazily coming to fruition because it was about that time to release another Fall record.

Ersatz GB will be the record known for giving Smith’s spouse her own entry, “Happi Song,” perhaps the most memorable tune only for the fact that it sounds nothing like the rest of the album. This isn’t to suggest that Eleni Poulou has finally reached the status of ex-wife Brix in terms of influence or talent; it merely means that one song on the album give M.E.S. time to cough up a few bits of lung and for us, a brief reprieve from the atonal monotony of The Fall’s latest document.

This review originally appeared in Glorious Noise.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Joe Carducci - Enter Naomi

Reading Joe Carducci’s Enter Naomi has helped me deal with the loss of the friend I wrote about a few weeks ago. The book chronicles Carducci’s relationship with Naomi Peterson, staff photographer at SST Records back in the 80’s. It also documents the road that Peterson took to get to such an achievement as well as the road to her premature death at the age of 39.

Peterson’s name was not only synonymous with the bands on SST Records, she became the eye to many of the most influential bands of the 80’s and early 90’s. Then, the name that graced so many credit listings suddenly became scarcer. It was a second edition of Rollins’ book Get In The Van before her death was made public.

It is made public again and goes deeper into her life with Enter Naomi. Carducci provides succinct descriptions of her days growing up Asian-American in Southern California, detailing a teenage Naomi who seemed to struggle with her mixed heritage even when she was as beautiful as any California blonde darling.

Her dark clothing and dyed hair gave way to the underbelly of Southern California’s emerging punk scene, and with her good looks and bubbly personality, she worked her way in.

She picked up a bottle for courage and a Nikon camera as a reason for being there. After one too many late nights out, her father banished Naomi from their home, hoping to get his daughter to follow the American Dream that he tried to provide as a serviceman.

Instead, Naomi followed a different path, this one to SST records. At first, it may have been just a chance to crash, but later it became the place where her talents were fostered and utilized.

What is interesting is how Carducci attempts to spin a narrative of her life only after she passed away. There is almost a sense of guilt in his words-and from others who provide their memories over someone they ultimately didn’t know anything about when she was alive.

We hear about her struggles with identity, but nobody explains why. We learn about her failed relationships, but little is know why. We hear about her struggles with alcoholism, but again, we don’t really know why.

Naomi, it seemed, spent more time trying to capture the stories of others through her camera and not enough time trying to relay her own. Within those struggles of identity was a woman who cared more about creating the identity of others. She felt out of place, yet found a home with a bunch of similar outsiders, and the more she got closer to them, the more she realized that her own burdens might have been a but more superficial than the punk rocker from the broken home in front of her lens.

With these gaps, Carducci begins adding bits of the SST family to the story, which can be a bit long-winded to anyone who isn’t familiar with it.

Luckily, I was. The names of Greg, Raymond, Mugger, D., Mike Watt, and a host of others, leap from the pages like old friends, even though I don’t know any of them. Like Naomi, SST seemed a little bit like family to a lot of us. Their bands came at critical times in my own life, so to hear their names is all the more comforting.

We read about them in fanzines and through second-hand information. They seemed larger than life, but works like Enter Naomi show us how it all was part of an incredible moment of d.i.y. ethos and a tremendous amount of hard work, one that did not produce its rewards for at least another decade.

And by then, everyone just seemed too exhausted to fight anymore, Naomi Peterson included.

I remember. I’m sure a lot more people do, too.

That’s why Enter Naomi ultimately becomes some kind of blessing to have.

Because there was really very little beyond her artistic fulfillment that benefited her and rewarded us. There was very little in terms of financial compensation, and after a while, it’s easy to understand why someone would finally just cash out and try to lead a normal life.

Even today-as of this writing-there isn’t even a Wikipedia page devoted to Naomi Peterson.

Enter Naomi was written in 2007.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Def Leppard's Outer Groove Message

From the mailroom comes this question from a Glam-Racket visitor:

“Bought Pyromania on LP when it was new. Just outside the center label but before the grooves, the phrase, "If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly" is written in the vinyl, apparently done by hand with some sort of hot-enough-to-mark-vinyl stylus. I haven't seen it for 25+ years, but even at the time I thought it was unusual. Any insight? It may exist on every copy for all I know, but I've never seen anything like it on another LP.”

Me? No idea about the origin of that Def Lep note, but I’ve venture to guess it came from the character Mad Dog in The Cannonball Run.

Somehow, that movie seems up Def Leppard’s alley.

Indie records were plum filled with outer groove notes on the vinyl. I’m fairly certain the wax job is legit and at the behest of the band.

I do remember that Def Leppard at the end of “No No No” from High ‘n Dry had a lock groove where Joe Elliot’s scream of “No!” would repeat endlessly. I know this because it played at a party my next door neighbor’s place once and someone forgot to take the needle off the record. When I went in to investigate, I noticed one of my neighbor’s friends sitting drunk in a chair, bobbing his head in unison with each yell.

SST used to put messages in the outer groove of a lot of their vinyl stuff. I just got done reading Joe Carducci’s Enter Naomi where he referenced an old Black Flag record where they praised the “generosity” of the female supporters of Torrance, California.

“Torrance Tang…It’s Happening!”

Monday, April 2, 2012

Singles 45's and Under: Elastica - "Stutter"

I listened to Elastica’s debut album for the first time in ages the other day as well as the single to “Stutter” for no real reason other than I like the BBC recording of “Annie” better than the album version.

It all brought me back to those halcyon days of the mid-90’s when people like myself could smugly declare “We won!” in a premature attempt to collectively pat ourselves on the back at the thought that we had finally converted punk rock/post-punk rock as the norm.

What a complete crock of shit.

Looking back now, as we wipe off the circle jerk of Nevermind reissues and the “vitology” of Pearl Jam, it seems almost embarrassing to think that a few slack-jawed flannel wearers could even believe that they’d be able to topple the might of the recording industry and their power in transferring subversive music into viable commodity.

There I was, right in the middle of an ode to impotence considering the impotence of my naïve youth. What started out as a revolution turned into flock of farm league also-rans, who in turn, transformed even the Double A entries into chart toppers.
I think of all of those rugrats that I’ll have to explain Daughtry, and even though I’ve been told that I should ignore bands like Nickelback, I still think I should apologize for them too. This is not what we intended, and it makes even the most derivative of bands like Elastica seem utterly original in their faux art reprise.

Immediately, I want to transfer a copy of Elastica into the zzZunes of those younger kids to get them on the right track. I want them to take it all in and then immediately give them the keys to Wire’s Pink Flag and The Fall’s Perverted By Language just to jack up the sales totals to a more reasonable figure.

I want them to realize the critical importance of those efforts because they were so overlooked when they were first released.

As far as Elastica is concerned, I can tell you that the eye-opening moment for me wasn’t how they up and nicked those aforementioned underground heroes, but how they finally expressed an opposite sex response to a topic that we all try to “keep between the sheets.”

“Is it something you lack/When I’m flat on my back/Is there something that I could do for you?” Justine Frischmann sarcastically snaps, questioning why her partner seems to have difficulty achieving what should be the most basic of reactions from her suitor.

Not to make excuses-which is what “Stutter” is, a litany of plausible excuses for her man’s failure to launch-but it is an event that every man faces at some point in their life. Guilt, intimidation, and an fear are all part of the shit running through a young man’s head, as are the ways in which we compensate for those things.

Growing up, men would casually refer to things like “whiskey dick” in an off-handed excuse, and when cocaine entered the mix, you never experienced the level of desire that drug provided while having to navigate how useless your sex organ was while under the influence of it. You ended up a sweaty, flaccid wreck trying not to look your partner in the eye while trying to get the thing to match wits with your desire.

You may have pondered what that partner was thinking, and “Stutter” confirms all of your worst fears.