It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.
In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.
One of the best perks about this music blogging gig is the like-minded friends you can make. I got to know Dusty Vinyl thanks to the appearance of everyone’s favorite porch-dwellers The Imperial Rooster at the inaugural Couch by Couchwest in the spring of 2011, and the Rooster drummer has been a good buddy ever since (and simpatico enough that he chose one of my favorite books for his read).
The Imperial Rooster has two albums under its belt now, and has been gigging hard whenever it can. If you’re in the Santa Fe area you can catch them:
April 27 w/Split Lip Rayfield @ Sol, Santa Fe
May 22 w/The Misery Jackals @ The Underground, Santa Fe
“April” – The Imperial Rooster
(They tell me it’s a coincidence that this song has my name on it, but I’m not buying it.)
Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad.
I’m probably preaching to the choir in this space but I’ve been surprised before by how many folks with similar tastes in music have never read this book. It tells the story of most of the important underground rock bands of the 80s up until their breakup or signing to a major label.
A lot of my favorite bands of all time are represented: Black Flag, The Replacements, Sonic Youth, The Minutemen (whose “History Lesson Part II” is where the book cribs its title from) Husker Du, and the immortal Mudhoney.
Every story is worth reading even if you’re unfamiliar with the band’s music (never been into Beat Happening) as a snapshot of all the different vibrant music regions around the country, as cautionary tales, and as a doorway to your new favorite band.
For Your Own Special Sweetheart – Jawbox
As the flipside to the overall theme of the book I just wrote about Jawbox’s For Your Own Special Sweetheart is the rare “underground rock band jumps to major label” story where the band’s major label output smokes their indie stuff.
Washinton DC’s Jawbox was a major band in that city’s burgeoning post hardcore scene, alongside Fugazi and Shudder To Think and the jump from super anti corporate Dischord to mega major Atlantic was a shock. Even more shocking was how great the resulting major label debut was. Two big events shape this record: Jawbox went on tour with Helmet and they got a real recording budget. The budget allowed their sonic pallette to expand while at the same time the tour with Helmet inspired their riffs to be big and jagged and muscular. The band remained uncompromising with their hardcore influenced indie rock. The songs are unrelenting, fantastic and multilayered and the album as a whole is a completely satisfying listen. Definitely check it out.
“Savory” – Jawbox
“Motorist” – Jawbox
Trippel (New Belgium Brewery)
My beer of choice when I’m going to the store New Belgium’s take on a trippel style ale is perfection in a bottle. Its hoppy and sweet and it’s 7.8 ABV ensures that you’ll be feeling good a couple bottles in without all the beer bloat.
“Overunderstimulated” – The Imperial Rooster
Graphic by Jenn Bando