The Walking Rock Alphabet: V

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go ahead and bitch. I deserve it. It’s been way too long since my last rock and roll walk, which was way too long after the previous one.
Sorry, it’s been a busy summer. Way too busy. Between my side job and my non-paying other project, I had little time on my hands. I even missed all three Replacements reunion shows, including last Saturday’s that concluded with the old instrument exchange gimmick. You don’t know how much this broke my heart.
Yet I have to admit that I accomplished a few things during this time. I had a few article in the Argus that I’m sort of proud of writing, even if the up and down nature of our live scene means that one week I’m talking to a Beatles tribute band and the next it’s some bubblegum country morons.
There’s also the podcast devoted to Big Brother that I did every week with my wonderful pals, Colette and Mike. In fact, our latest one, an interview with cast member Amanda Zuckerman, saw downloads and streams of over 1.6 million in just one day! Yep, we’re currently number four in the TV and Film category in iTunes, just below shows by NPR and Grantland. I’m shocked that this little show created in my bedroom has done as well as it does. Now if we could only make a few bucks off it!
Enough of that blather, let’s get down to today’s walk. Fresh off yesterday’s (somewhat) successful attempt at yoga - the Diamond Dallas Page program - I couldn’t find a reason to not head out the door. The post-work temperature was in the high 70’s, although there was a humidity level that matched it. Time to pick out an album and head out the door!
It had been so long since I walked, though, that I had to look back to where I left off. My last walk was in the “U” section, so I needed something that started with “V”. This wasn’t as easy as yo may expect, as I had previously wandered around to the Velvet Underground and the Violent Femmes.
Eventually, I found the perfect album for today’s walk. It had to be at least ten years since I listened to the Velvet Crush, so why not reacquaint myself with them today? I chose Teenage Symphonies to God, although I really could have picked anything out of their catalog. But Teenage Symphonies includes “Hold Me Up”, one of the great power pop songs of the mid-90’s.
In case you’re not familiar with them, Velvet Crush were a jangly power pop band that formed in Rhode Island in 1989. They’re one of the best at combining jangly rock with punk-influenced power pop. After recording for Creation Records, they ended up on Sony, which released Teenage Symphonies. They broke up not long after this record, but reunited a couple of years later for a few more albums.
Produced by power pop master Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Ben Folds Five, Connells), Teenage Symphonies is one of those albums that somehow combines a ton of influences into one punchy album. There’s a bit of Brian Wilson (hence the title), along with Big Star, Byrds, Raspberries, and so much more, and covers of Gene Clark (“Why Not Your Baby”) and Matthew Sweet (“Something’s Gotta Give”) perfectly fit in as if they were originals.
Simply put, it was a great album to get back into the groove. I promise this won’t be the last you see of this series. In fact, as we’re getting to the end of the alphabet, I need some ideas. Any thoughts on how I should proceed? What do you think of utilizing a band’s entire catalog? Would that get too narrow of a topic? If not, which band should I do? Not the Replacements, though, as that would be too obvious. Let me know what you think would work!


Anonymous said…
I would love to hear you discuss the entire discography of Mule. Because someone should.
Also - do you ever do a "six degrees of separation" kind of theme? One segment about a particular band, the next about another band that is linked to the previous piece by members, producers that they have worked with, etc. This would give the posts some more variety in terms of genre. -jus a couple a ideas for ya

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