You either get it or you don’t. There are songs that, when you hear, will instantly bring up memories. One of those songs for me is The Kinks’ 1983 single “Come Dancing.” As a pre-teen, I don’t know that I had any idea who The Kinks were although I suspect that I may have known that at some point in that general era that Van Halen covered “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” on ‘Diver Down’. And, as I write this, I’m sure I was familiar with “Lola” and “Destroyer” (listening to this song now, memories come flooding back of thinking that this had to have been performed by a heavy metal band).
But, back to “Come Dancing.” We didn’t have cable in 1983 which meant no MTV. I imagine that I probably heard “Come Dancing” on the radio – my parents certainly weren’t fans of The Kinks, I had no older siblings to turn me onto music, and I don’t remember listening to The Kinks with my best friend who was definitely into music (thanks, in part, to having a sister in college and access to her albums) but I can’t imagine The Kinks slipped in among the many listens to Van Halen, Rush, Ozzy, and REO Speedwagon.
I heard “Come Dancing” this morning on iHeart Radio’s “I Love the 80s” channel and … bam … transported to a little league bench, after practice, talking to a teammate named Garrett. I remember two Garretts from my childhood and I think I played on teams with both of them at some point – when this memory strikes, I don’t remember which Garrett it was. Where we talking about the song? Was somebody singing it? Was I thinking about it after practice? Those are memories I can’t dial up but sitting on the bench, in my little league uniform, that’s as clear as day (it was a sunny day).
Back in those days, when shopping at a big box department store like Caldors or Bradlees, I’m sure I convinced my mom to buy me The Kinks ‘State of Confusion’ cassette just so I could listen to “Come Dancing” over and over and over again. As I look at the tracklist now, it’s safe to say that I likely never flipped the cassette over to side B and, honestly, none of the songs on side A other than “Come Dancing” even sound familiar so safe to say that my mom bought me the cassette for the sole purpose of listening to one song.
A month or so ago, Danger Van Gorder (singer/guitarist) of southern California band Countless Thousands hit me up with a flattering email, telling me how much he enjoyed the content he read on Atomic Ned and how he thought that I might like his band. He was wondering if I might give We’re Just Really Excited to Be Here a listen and, if I liked it, maybe write a few words about it.
While listening to the – I hate to call it “pop-punk” because that conjures up all sorts of bands from the early ’90s that I’ve chosen to forget about – album, I thought, “This deserves more than me just throwing out a sentence or two saying, ‘Kick-ass, energetic rawk music by a trio that falls somewhere between Green Day and Jimmy Eat World with some early Foo Fighters influence and mid-90s math rock sprinkled in.'”
So, looking over the arsenal of Atomic Ned features, I decided to throw a bunch of them at Danger. If you’re a regular reader (or even a part-time reader), you’ll see Band(camp) of the Week, Track 3, and Soundtrack of My Life as well as a short interview.
Who says flattery won’t get you anywhere? Read it all after the jump.
I became a fan of the Cure when a friend and I swapped CD’s when I was 13 or 14. I am sure I gave her something completely worthless, but low and behold, I ended up with what was to be the music of my favorite band. Soon there after, I started collecting everything The Cure put out that I could get my hands on. I’m not completely sure when I picked up The Head on the Door. It was after I had fallen in love with their earlier stuff and Robert Smith’s signature mop but most especially their poppy side. Not bragging about this, because I would have loved to have seen a show during the Disintegration tour, but I was too young to discover the Cure completely chronologically like some of the old school fans I’ve seen at shows. (I was 3 when The Head on the Door was released.) I know I must have purchased it after what was a strange move from stuck-up suburbia back to the nice down home country-ish town I had grown up in known as Choctaw, Oklahoma. If I had to take a guess on when I bought it, I would say I was about 15 years old… rough times in most of our lives, yes?
(Note: This originally appeared in March 2004 on my old site, Swizzle-Stick. I’ll be digging into the archives once in a while to bring you content that is worth sharing)
Ever hear a song/album/band that reminds you of a very specific time and/or place in your life? The following was written by Shearwater’sJonathan Meiburg:
Pink Floyd. On the 45-minute bus ride to and from the ninth grade in North Carolina they were just about all I listened to, especially a cassette that had Animals on one side and The Final Cut on the other. The trip was a perfect album-length. As soon as I plopped down in the seat (my house was the first stop on the route in the morning, and the last in the afternoon) I crammed the earbuds into my ears and pressed â€œPlayâ€ on my little Walkman, and the first strum of Roger Waters’ acoustic guitar on â€œPigs on the Wing, Pt. 1â€ or the muted French horns of â€œThe Postwar Dreamâ€ gave the school parking lot – or my cheerful, suburban neighborhood – an elegiac, desperate feeling that thrilled me. In the wintertime the windows would fog up and I’d rub a blurry little porthole away with my glove, watching the interstate, the endless stretches of pine trees, the crawling morning or afternoon traffic, and the bus driver’s creased, long-suffering face in the mirror. Continue reading “Soundtrack of My Life: Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater)”
The Billionaires debut, Really Real Forever, came out last week on the Too Soon label and it’s a wonderful pop-infused summertime album with really sweet boy/girl harmonies. There’s a lot of nostalgic lyrics and music – check out “Eighties Movies” with it’s ELO-style keyboards – and I thought to myself, “Here’s a band that I bet would do a great job writing a ‘Soundtrack of My Life’ feature.”
Just a few hours after I pitched the idea, Laura Jordan (vocals/keyboards) sent back a story about why hearing Blind Melon‘s “No Rain” reminds her of being a teenager with a crush. (What is it about Blind Melon posts this weekend? Merely a coincidence, I promise!):
“I think I was fifteen when Blind Melon put out that record with ‘No Rain’ on it â€“ or maybe they had already but that’s when I first remember it.
I was living in a small town called Ancaster with my grandfather, about an hour outside of Toronto â€¦ there was a bonfire in a field that night, it was probably a Friday and all the girls got together at a fiery red-head girl called Sandra’s house cause we could smoke in her garage.
Sandra and my birthdays are two days apart, I’ll never forget that â€¦ every few years we manage to call each other up around that time. But in those days we would get drunk before going to an actual party to drink more â€“ the pre-drink and getting ready was key and in retrospect probably the most fun. We only drank Labatt’s Blue or way-too-sweet pink wine â€¦ was it called Vincent and Gallo? And smoked Player’s filters.
I had a crush on a boy and he was going to be there. I remember putting on what I would have thought was a sexy top but then it’s Canada so of course you have to wear a big-ass coat and he probably never saw the top cause the party was outside and in the dark.
I remember that walk through the fields, we had done it many times before but I remember this one because of “No Rain”. Because when we got to the party I probably talked to everyone except my crush. That feeling is amazing, when you know someone is there and they know you’re there and you’ve somehow established you like each other without speaking and now you don’t look or talk to each other â€¦ brilliant. When that song came on it was like â€¦ instant. You felt part of something instantly, you felt buzzed, you danced with your arms outstretched and your face to the sky. It was magic. Ha, I haven’t changed much. But that night I got my kiss about ten feet away from the fire behind a bush and whoever’s Jeep the music was coming from played ‘No Rain’ again and again cause no one could get enough of that fucking song.”