I missed all the bands because I had diarrhea
This week from Sam and Josiah
I’ve more recently been noticing things that mean I’m getting old — unwieldy long eyebrow hairs I have to trim, acid reflux, I find myself making sure the dishes are done before bed — but I still can’t really understand that 2004 was nearly 20 years ago. And for some reason, there’s a lot of 2004 content I have for you this week. First up is my (Jos) appearance on the obscure podcast Picture Time o’Clock, where I talked about a photo of myself meeting Drake at Richmond Center mall that Bruce found in 2022. Listen to the pod here.
The other 2004 thing is at the end of this newsletter. But first, some other stuff we’re thinking about this week.
Teens in Trouble “Sharon”
Sam: More punk songs should have that 50s rocker bounce. What is that beat called? The “sweetheart shuffle” or something I hope. Feels like this song should be about your car, but it’s a metaphor for getting to second base. Just an excellent, understated power pop song that does that Weezer-y melodic slide into the bridge before a GUITAR SOLO??? A very cool tune!!!
Jos: I was going to build on your “sweetheart shuffle” riffing but it’s hard to think of something that isn’t immediately horrifically offensive. That’s on me. Anyway, when you get all excited like this I immediately brace myself to be annoyed, but the singer of this band has an unbelievably charming lisp, and I genuinely believe people with lisps are better people. Honestly, this sounds like “smart” pop-punk from before everything in the 2010s happened, like some true OG orgcore crap that both Sam and I would like… soft-spoken librarian punk music. The guitar solo is tight too. Nature is healing.
Marvelous 3 “Jackie and Tina”
Sam: One of my only truly rock solid beliefs is that Marvelous 3’s “Freak of the Week” is one of the best alt rock hits of the 90s and does not get the respect it deserves. Sure, Butch Walker has done just fine for himself (Wikipedia tell me “Many of the songs that he co-wrote or produced have been hits for other artists, including SR-71, Avril Lavigne, Sevendust, Injected, The Donnas, Hot Hot Heat, American Hi-Fi, Default, Gob, Midtown, Puffy AmiYumi, Pink, Katy Perry, Pete Yorn, Quietdrive, Green Day, Adam Lambert, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Rayland Baxter, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra, Train, The Wallflowers, Jewel, The All-American Rejects, The Academy Is..., The Cab, Saosin, Never Shout Never, Weezer, New Politics, Fall Out Boy, The Struts, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, August is Falling, Matt Nathanson, and Elizabeth Cook”) but do any of those artists have one song as good as “Freak of the Week”? Only one and I won’t say who. So when Apple served up NEW Marvelous 3 to me I gave it an open-hearted listen despite knowing that 1998 was a long time ago. And you know what? I don’t think this song is very good. And yet? I can’t stop listening to it. And honestly I was pretty excited to make Josiah have to listen to it, too.
Jos: I think the difference between the Sams and the mes of the world is that, despite my constant blabbing, at the end of the day I would much rather have things stay secrets than “get the respect it deserves.” What is respect, anyway? I’m listening to this “Freak” song first and I’ve never heard it in my life. It definitely has some cool guitars before the big X-Fest belter of a chorus. Now I’m primed for how depressing this new one will be. See, the funny thing is, without that context, this is definitely what I imagine the Gaslight Anthem and the Dirty Nil sound like. Am I right?
Jane Bruckner “Lighthouse”
Jos: This one comes courtesy of wife of the… newsletter? Sara logged into Bandcamp this week and was recommended this album from Halifax’s Jane Bruckner, and we’ve both been blasting it from our respective work areas all week. It’s a delightful ambient record that has plenty of melody and pop appeal, and based on the liner notes, it has “All sounds made using a broken clarinet.” It sounds like the Rugrats theme being blasted in an empty cathedral.
Sam: This sounds like how I remember Halifax in my teenage memory (whimsical land of imagination), not how I experienced Halifax as an adult making their return a decade-plus later (it’s just Kitchener with a marginally better waterfront). Now that I wake up to this kind of music every morning (because I put it on to help Coop sleep) I increasingly find myself interested in the actual artists producing the doggie bedtime sounds that quietly fill our home in the twilight hours. But I have yet to translate that interest into deliberating knowing or listening to any of this kind of music. Still, beautiful!
Damien Jurado “The Shame of Two Cities”
Jos: We watched The Holdovers this week, and it’s a super heart-warming, super seasonal “normie indie.” I don’t even care about Alexander Payne or even Paul Giamatti very much, but the movie was solid. It also has a beautiful Damien Jurado song in it, which made me remember that my boy DJ drops at least one new album every year. Well, this year he’s actually dropped three new LPs. This one Passing the Giraffes is my fav, even though Damien is barely audible on it. It was recorded with soundtrack composer Sean Wolcott, and it has ‘60s pop perfection written all over it. In retrospect, Damien Jurado is one of the coolest people we ever made talk about blink-182.
Sam: I think this is the first Damien Jurado song I’ve ever heard, and gun to my head I could not tell you the different between any of the artists with this kind of name from the blog era but every time I hear one now I think, damn, I messed up. These songs are nice and these artists are good. Being a guy in your 20s who thinks it's important to dislike things as a means of crafting a persona is a foolish way to live! Too late for me tho!
Josiah Hughes, arts and culture, 2004
Jos: My renewed obsession had me curious to find information about a Damien Jurado show I saw when I was 14, in 1999, where he performed with Pedro the Lion at the Christian university my dad worked at. Instead, I found an archive of the student newspaper, in which I wrote about music during my one-and-a-bit semesters there in 2004. Below, you’ll find some material that shows I have truly achieved zero personal growth in two decades: a concert review where I missed all the bands because I had diarrhea but still gave them a bad review anyway, the “back to school” mixtape that opens with a blink song (and was one of the mental catalysts for me to drop out), reviews of Lightning Bolt, The College Dropout and an MxPx album, and even a review of an Evaporators album that I encouraged my friend Sara to write, because I wanted to hang out with her more….