Wednesday, August 18, 2004


"Things I probably could have figured out earlier if I'd been paying more attention, Part One."

We've probably all read the Trouser Press section on Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 where they mention that band's fixation on Raymond and Peter, but up until a day or so ago it had never occurred to me that the Swirlies had sampled the tapes too (I probably should have read the page I just linked to more carefully, since it includes that information). Here's the Swirlies song where they do that: it's extremely good and it's called Park The Car By The Side Of The Road and here's the original Raymond and Peter bit. And here's another Raymond and Peter bit, this time about toenails.

The Swirlies: just in case you don't know them, they combined Isn't Anything era My Bloody Valentine (which would be my favorite era for that band) with a dash of twee-pop, a smattering of inspired lo-fi songcraft, and every audio gadget they could find in their kitchen drawer. Their album Blonder Tongue Audio Baton (now you know what it means) is an indie classic of sorts, and after listening to it again last night I can say that it's aged pretty well. Their singles collection What To Do About Them is also good. Their second full-length album They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons is so full of interesting production and sequencing ideas that it's easy to overlook the fact that the songs are mostly so-so. After that, it's fans-only time.

I had high hopes for the Swirlies when I first heard BlonderTongue, and it's kind of sad that they never quite panned out. They were also pretty bad in concert (maybe they had good days, but whenever I saw them they were overwhelmed by gadgetry, and they seemed to have trouble singing in tune, and they were very un-charismatic). Oh well.

Interesting story: I first heard BlonderTongue when I found a promo cassette of it at the no longer extant Venus Records on St. Marks in New York. I had never heard of the Swirlies, and I was so blown away that I faxed a letter to their publicist asking for more info (I used company stationary). So their publicist actually calls me back (using the number she got off of the company stationary) and wants to know where I got the cassette, some record store is stealing money from the mouths of the Swirlies' children, etc. I didn't tell her, but doesn't that seem kind of quaint in view of the current situation with leaked albums, etc.

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