Tuesday, July 8, 2008

School Ain't Shit, I Read It in a Book

I just wanted to take a moment and point out that as you get to know me, you might say to yourself, "Jez seems to be stuck in some sort of time warp and doesn't talk about any recent music." Well, yeah. Sorry, but I used to buy close to $300-400 worth of music per month when I was a single man, but then I got married, bought a house, and had kids. At the same time as all that schlock was going down, Britney Spears and that band Justin Timberlake was in got popular, and don't even talk about Sugar Ray to me. Sorry, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but until I discovered the Drive-By Truckers and Slobberbone in 2002, music was pretty much dead to me. I was content to live with the over 1,000 records I had, and over 2,000 CDs in my collection.

Then I got an iPod for Father's Day in 2006. Hello! I started loading on all the CDs I loved, and then I started researching how to transfer my vinyl to digital. You can read more about this project and how I did it in my August 2007 post. Also, I started visiting the kickass collection at my local library and am still gleaning this awesome collection. If you haven't been to your local library, I totally recommend it. It's really something this whole blog is all about - discovering music you only have heard of.

Enough about me! The topic of this blog is actually one of the albums that I converted to mp3s: Rocket From the Crypt's Paint as a Fragrance. The awesome thing about this album is trying to find where one song ends and one begins. I recently listened to this in my normal mode, shuffle, and I can tell you that the quick cuts between songs works no matter the order.

This album is a classic to me on so many levels. Check out that album art - it's fascinating and offensive. How cool is that? Who uses paint as deodorant? I'll tell you who: this guy!

As far as the songs go, it's a pretty noisy album. Granted, it was released in 1991. However, there is some nice guitar weaving, and even some sweet background vocals to counter Speedo's screaming. There are also hooks galore in this, and usually one line that you're going to remember from each song.
This isn't exactly the album you want to put on first thing in the morning. This album is more appropriate for an 18-mile drive back home after a long day, when it's dark. And I'm not necessarily saying after a long day of work, if you get my drift.

The album starts out with what sounds like someone running a dial down the AM band of a radio, stopping briefly to see what is on each station. It finally stops on a station where you hear, "And here's the new one from Rocket From The Crypt!" "French Guy" starts out in that AM mode, then the guy producing the album kicks it into overdrive and decent stereo sound and starts the rock. Line you remember from this song: School ain't shit, I read it in a book. It's true; I know I read the same message scribbled in the margins of a couple of high school text books.

"Basturds" is kind of funny. The singer talks about how when he was a kid, he would say a curse word and he'd feel at least 5 years older, but he didn't realize that saying these bad words would come back to haunt him. The hook in this song is the "Wee-Yoo" background vocals and the great music dynamics, where the wall of sound completely drops out and your left with muted guitar strings.

Rocket From The Crypt is from San Diego. In August 1992, I went on a road trip with a good friend of mine, P-Mart. We ended up in San Diego hanging out with a friend I went to high school with in Germany; Loren. Loren was driving us around, when we came upon the Velvet Touch laundry. There was a cartoonish looking head of a man with the words, "THIS MAN WANTS TO CLEAN YOUR CLOTHES" underneath it. I made the connection between this laundry and the song with the same name immediately. Loren said, "Yeah, they sell t-shirts with that image on it." I had to get one for The Inhuman Eating Machine, as he was the one who introduced me to this album, and was also a fan of wacky t-shirts. I'm still trying to find a t-shirt that says, "I'M THE REASON God made Oklahoma." (In case you didn't know, "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" was a country duet sung by David Frizzel and Shelly West in the 80's.)

I'm not that well-versed on RFTC, really. I own this album, and Circa Now. I can recommend the entire Paint as a Fragrance release as well as the following songs from Circa Now:

Ditch Digger - Great riff. Fills my head when I'm getting work done.

Hippy Dippy Do - Jaunty.

Don't Darlene - Short and Rockin'. Noisy.

Sturdy Wrist - "Here he is, I got my sturdy wrist."

Beer recommended with this listening: New Belgium 1554.


TK said...

I fucking love this band. I saw them live, probably 12 years ago, in Milwaukee, WI. I would say that, with the possible exceptions of Social Distortion (who was on the bill with them) and The Black Keys, it was one of the most energetic, pure ROCK shows I've ever seen.

Also, if you haven't already, check out Scream, Dracula, Scream! Definitely some of their best work.

Dan N. said...

I was not aware of the "this man wants to clean your clothes" sign. Just thought it was something they'd made up, but the sign makes it even better.

Felicia said...

Paint as deodorant, awesome! And I live in the past too. It's a great place to be sometimes.