How other music lead me to Kristin

I grew up with parents who didn’t care much about music. They listened to the Top 40 station on Long Island when we were in the car, but at home they owned very little music. Billy Joel mostly. Definitely wasn’t a big part of the household though, they could definitely take it or leave it.

When I was an early teenager, I needed to find my “own” music. I was drawn to it. I knew I loved it but I knew I didn’t love the Top 40 music I was exposed to. In 7th grade I thought I liked metal bands. Like Sabbath and shit like that. Seriously, not joking. That didn’t last. In 8th grade it was Wham! Yeah, not joking there either. Go ahead, judge me. In 9th grade Wham! broke up and my friend and I tried to come up with a scheme to fly to London to see their last show. Awesome. Thank god with 10th grade came New Wave. It fit better than the shit I was listening to the prior years. The Cure definitely fit in my dark feelings of adolescence. This was 1985, mind you. Depeche Mode. Erasure. The Smiths. My awesome uncle bought me a Minor Threat album when I was perhaps 16 and I loved that so much. I still love that band and I loved hardcore and punk and Oi! too.

Anyway, long story short, if I didn’t like those bands new wave bands, and others like James and The Replacements, etc… I wouldn’t have picked up the Sire sampler, Just Say Yes, that one day in late 1987 at Record World. It had a lot of bands I liked at the time, and a couple I hadn’t heard. I still remember looking at this CD in the store. I still remember listening to it. And being stunned by A Feeling, by Throwing Muses. Laying on my purple rug in front of my CD player, that moment, it changed my life.

That day is how I got to today, really. I had found where I needed to be musically. What really, REALLY felt right. That day sent me on this mad tear through all the indie record stores I could find on Long Island, to find anything I could on this band that hit me so hard. No Internet back then made it quite an endeavor to find info. Who the hell would guess that fast forward to today, 24 years later, I’d still love that band more than any other. The others? Well, most didn’t have staying power. I can’t stand the sound of Depeche Mode or Erasure. I still love The Replacements. The Smiths too. The Cure, well, I love only their older stuff. These things formed who I was trying to be back then, and damn we were all confused. But damn, I’m thankful I liked all that back then because look where it lead me…

And also, it was Billy who had a hand in putting that Throwing Muses song on that sampler CD. I thank him more than any of those new wave bands.

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I love this song, forgive me

See what I did there? Made a little play on words? Took Kristin’s line and made it fit my needs? I’m oh-so-clever!

I figured I should talk about Radiant Addict before the next 50FOOTWAVE song from With Love from the Men’s Room is posted. Before I become an addict of something *else*. Whoa, I’m being clever again! I think I’m so fucking funny sometimes.

But seriously, I love this song, forgive me. ‘Forgive me’ because sometimes I feel like maybe I just love ALL the songs way too much and maybe that discounts my reactions to new songs. Like, oh, tine loves EVERYTHING. But that’s just not true (I still don’t like That’s All You Wanted, sorry).

C’mon though, the DRUMS, OMG, the DRUMS. boomboomboomboomboom. Firing off like the darts in my head. It gives me restless leg syndrome.

“So this is god’s country, boy his bugs are itchy” This makes me laugh inside.

The bass is kinda…..sinister? Like, those nutty drum beats are right in your face, but that bass is lurking in the background, sneering at you a bit, saying ‘I’m badass too’ then that crazy guitar at the end just BITESYOURFUCKINGHEADOFF. Bam. and it ends. I love that. So abrupt, so final. “I’ve just bitten your fucking head off! Finis.” That guitar apparently has a really funny accent too but sadly I can’t convey that in this post.

Season Sessions Spring

This is an excerpt from an email I wrote Kristin, with the personal stuff removed and edited only to make sense to the reader.

RE: The Letter.

This is more intense than ANY other performance or recording of this song that I have ever seen or heard.

I was OK with it until “I’m…I’m”. But at the same time the drums are really building and they’re just pounding the fuck through me and it’s 1984 and I’m there in that video that Echo made and I feel the electricity buzzing through me too.

Thank god for Catch and it’s happy little vibe. A small bit of levity for this heavy antithesis to the brightness of Spring. Or maybe that’s the point. Grind me up, spit me out, I’m a mangled, bloody mess and I’m ready for rebirth too.

I keep thinking about how Kristin wrote the book in her 18-year-old voice, and we’ve always had these songs IN that 18-year-old voice. Those are the real thing, but hearing these re-recordings as a present-day reflection upon that time kind of takes you full-circle. It’s a truly incredible experience, really, even though I get a real sense of the true feelings and it’s not always easy. It’s not supposed to be, and I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

The Red Eyes Experience

I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail at my attempt to describe this, but I’ll try nonetheless.

Let me preface my story with a statement that I absolutely love the Season Sessions recordings which Kristin’s released so far. I find I listen to them A LOT in the grand scheme of music listening. A new life has been breathed into these songs, I love that they came up with this idea as a companion to Rat Girl/Paradoxical Undressing. It shows that they are timeless, yet also the contrast between then and now. I love listening to them so much because I’ve been able to hear so many new things in them that I haven’t heard before. Or felt, as I’ll try to convey.

One day, I started off on my roughly one hour, give or take, commute listening to Red Eyes, Season Sessions version. Long story short I ended up having the most vivid experience while listening to that song. It was really quite incredible, to the point where I wished I was an artist so I could somehow portray what I was “seeing” for everyone else to see too. It was pretty much the coolest experience ever.

I ended up listening to that song for the entire hour or so it took me to get to work. I felt like my virtual self was meandering through the most beautiful “musicscape”. The comfortable beauty really can’t be described, but it was definitely Utopian, which may be what drew me to listen to only that song for so long. I felt like I was in this music video of sorts, where this gorgeous meadow unfolded around an animated profile of myself. Virtual me wandered along this constantly changing imagery as the music continued to play. It’s really indescribable, I’m not sure why I’m trying.

I wish I could make what I saw into a music video. I wish you all could experience that serene perfection, where everything was comfortable, where everything was OK.

It’s been a good month or so since that experience but it still resonates with me. Recently I started thinking about it again, and realized that you can consciously open your soul to the music and let it in. If you’re truly in the right mindset it’ll swirl around in there, and take you to where you really belong. It’s kinda surreal when it happens. It’s not something you can force, but you have to actively listen. I’m finding so many earth-based “musicscapes” (as I like to call them) like this in Kristin’s music. It makes sense really, as I’ve always had “winter songs” and “spring albums” and snowy tree songs. Release yourself from lyrics (I hear them as a vocal instrument most of the time anyway) and just feel the song.

It’s interesting, however, that these soul experiences come with such earthly imagery. Maybe it’s because our physical minds have no other point of reference. Whatever it is, it’s pretty great. It’s truly beautiful in here, thank you, Kristin.