Wednesday, February 11, 2004

 
[Re-reading yesterday's post, it strikes me as more negative than I'd intended. I wouldn't want to give the impression that I'm trying to belittle Love Child. They were a decent enough band, and their first single/first album is a lot of fun. The problem (which isn't really a problem in the grand scheme of things) lies with a couple of critics who seem to have overrated them for reasons largely unrelated to their actual music. Their album Witchcraft does actually have a few worthwhile songs...just nothing particularly essential.]

Anyway...Sammy. I should probably say right here that they were one of my favorite bands, so you should probably take my comments with a grain of salt. I've mentioned Laptop here before (hooray, they got one whole vote in the Pazz & Jop poll!). Sammy were Jesse Hartman's band prior to Laptop. As I see it, the main problems with Sammy are:

1. Their name. It's kind of bland.
2. Their cover art, which looked either like random photos of things or like pictures from Robert Chambers' photo album.
3. Every critic in the world who says that they sound "just like Pavement" when, with the exception of a couple of early songs, they just plain don't.

For starters, here are two songs from their second and final album, Tales of Great Neck Glory. This came out on the DGC label (at a time when that label, after signing Sonic Youth, was especially indie friendly -- Boss Hog and The Sugarplastic also had albums on Geffen around the same time). First is the album opener Possibly Peking, which should establish that Jesse Hartman sounds like Lou Reed, not Stephen Malkmus.

Second is the quirky Horse or Ballet? which apparently refers to a game which helps young preppie girls decide what their true priorities are. One of my favorite things about this song is the fact that, when I first read the lyrics:

I received a call from Marty
Said there's a rumor going 'round
Elizabeth is throwing a party
I said: "That has to be
the most ridiculous suggestion
I ever heard 'cause I just talked to her
and all I got was this question


I couldn't imagine how they could possibly be shoehorned into a verse without sounding forced, but Jesse makes it work. By and large, the lyrics on Tales are clever and somewhat cinematic (reflecting their author's background in film).

One of the nicest things about this album is that you can usually find a copy for $2.00 or so on eBay or in a used bin near you. I'll feature at least one Sammy song (probably b-sides) each day for the rest of this week.



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