Throwback Thursdays?? WHAT?
Before I get to that, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Patrick, and this is my first ever post here at Sunset! Super excited. I’ve been following this blog regularly for almost two years, and it’s meant a lot to me. Daily injections of incredible music, like a warm gun in the arm. Bang bang, shoot shoot. Sunset’s always felt like my secret internet oasis, and so for the longest time I refused to tell people about it (I was bad, I know). But I’m way over that. Discovering and sharing music keeps my soul happy, afloat, and pleasantly humming, so I hope to share lots of it with you all in the coming future. It’s totally strange and totally awesome to be writing for Sunset after all this time, but lets give it a go—
So Throwback Thursdays, what’s that all about? Well, I’m not sure either, but it’s going to be the shit. Hopefully. I’m envisioning it as the (conceptual) love-child of Straight Talk Sundays and, err, Womp-Womp Wednesdays. Music posting incorporated into a little more talk, discussion, and story-telling; some meatier posts for those of you with bigger appetites. And as a throwback themed daily special, the music I post won’t necessarily be the freshest off the griddle, but I’ll always try to keep it just as hot. For today’s post, I want to throw you guys back into my own history of music discovery. Everyone’s got a story about how they got listening to what they do, a story about how all those damn gigs of music got into the iTunes library, and why some have a million plays and why some have none. Music has a way of powerfully tying itself to life’s ups and downs; here’s how some of the songs and bands that mean most to me got entangled with my life.
So the other day, my mom asked me who Bob Marley was. *Cringe.* Thank the gods, my dad has always been far more musically literate, at least when it comes to the music of his day. I grew up an oldies boy, listening to whatever he did. I was born and raised in Houston — and if you know anything about that city, it’s that you don’t walk anywhere. Too far, too hot, too humid. You drive, and it was driving with my dad where I first introduced to music. Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, America, CSNY, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and on and on and on. I was hopelessly hopelessly oblivious to any of the music people my age were listening too, almost until the end of middle school. All of my music I scavenged from my parents’ cd collection, save for one (amazing) Outkast cd given to me as a gift from a family friend. Oh how foretelling that cd would be. But the 60s and 70s were my shit back then. It was all I knew, and all I was listening too. It’s almost impossible to pick a song to capture that time for me, but here is (quite literally) the first song to come to mind. It’s a live (1967) song by Simon & Garfunkel called A Poem on the Underground, the “poem” referring to the word “Fuck” scrawled on a subway wall. Brilliant. It’s a beautiful song that I think really demonstrates how Simon & Garfunkel themselves were truly poets — just listen to those lyrics. More than that, the harmony between their voices is surreal. You forget they’re both singing at the same time.
I’d describe myself as a late musical bloomer. As great as all those oldies were, someone really needed to sit me down, slap my face, and open my eyes to the brave new world of music that was out there. If anyone deserves credit for getting that first crack in, it’s my older brother. We went to the same school until he graduated, and again, driving in the car did the trick — blasting Weezer on the way, I’ll never forget it. Weezer is fucking awesome, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This one’s for him, “The Good Life.”
For the longest time, all my music came through the bro. He was like a human music blog, relaying the good stuff for me. He introduced me to Radiohead, Coldplay, The Shins, Smashing Pumpkins, Belle & Sebastian, and tons others that I refuse to admit that I didn’t find by myself. Perhaps most momentous, he introduced me to Ratatat. It felt like what I imagine a dog thinks after tasting human food for the first time. “You’ve had THAT all along, and you never told me?! WTF.” Maybe it was my narrow horizons, but that sound was completely new for me, and I couldn’t get enough it. Loud Pipes, Wildcat, Seventeen Years, Gettysburg. Incredible. The song I want to post though is my favorite Ratatat song to date — Cherry, off their first (self-titled) album. It’s one of their mellower songs, but it’s got a little something about it that resonates with me every time. There’s that one drop that feels like the entire song is building up to. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, but that one part gets me every single time I listen. Turn up your speakers and bass, dim the lights, and let it play.
MP3: “Cherry” – Ratatat
While you’re in that mood, take a listen to this Shins song off their last album, “Sleeping Lessons” (song, not album). You hear that melodic up and down thing that opens and stays with the song? Isn’t that awesome?
Around this same time, somewhere in high school, I found my first music blog. Correction: my brother found my first music blog. -sigh-. It’s now defunct, but I was discovering music left and right. Sondre Lerche, G. Love, Of Montreal, The Black Keys. Ratatat’s Remix albums came out and I nearly crapped myself. I met Jack Johnson and Feist for the first time, and I fell in love. But actually! I met a girl in England doing a study abroad program, and we became mad about each other. Turns out she went to a boarding school in Durham, and this was right around the time I was looking at colleges. I convinced my parents that I was super interested in Duke, and to let me visit alone because I had a friend I knew there. It worked, and lets just say I never set foot on Duke’s campus (no offense to Lydia, of course!). My dad worked for an airline then, and had the hookup with plane tickets. We ended up dating for a long time (my first girlfriend!), and she also took me to my first concert ever in Asheville, a Feist concert. Feist was incredible, and opening for her was an unknown band (at least to me) who after the concert stood in the hallway peddling signed copies of their cd: Grizzly Bear. We all have those songs that we use to torture ourselves when we’re feeling sad or when we miss someone, and this was mine for her — Brandy Alexander, by Feist.
Stay tuned for a continuation of this story next week, when hip-hop finds its way into my life…