Jul 19 2015

Quarterly Review – April-June 2015


Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

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Apr 23 2015

Quarterly Review – January-March 2015


Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

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Jan 19 2015

Top 50 Albums of 2014


50. Tokyo Police Club – Forcefield

206-Forcefield-Album-Cover (1)

49. Rozwell Kid – Too Shabby

rozwell kid too shabby

48. EMA – The Future’s Void

ema the futures void

47. together PANGEA – Badillac

together pangea badillac

46. Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow


45. Trust – Joyland


44. Crosses – S/T


43. Ryan Adams – S/T


42. Jessie Ware – Tough Love


41. Diarrhea Planet – Aliens In the Outfield EP


40. Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love

CT192 PerfectPussy Cover

39. Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All

modern baseball youre gonna miss it all

38. Lykke Li – I Never Learn

lykke li i never learn

37. YG – My Krazy Life


36. Kylie Minogue – Kiss Me Once


35. Tinashe – Aquarius

tinashe aquarius

34. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon

pains of being pure at heart days of abandon

33. Meatbodies – S/T


32. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again


31. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

sturgill simpson metamodern sounds in country music

30. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In the End


29. Charli XCX – Sucker


28. Hooray For Earth – Racy

hooray for earth racy

27. Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

parquet courts sunbathing animal

26. Beck – Morning Phase

beck morning phase

25. Lone – Reality Testing

lone reality testing

24. The Both – S/T

the both album

23. Pup – S/T

pup album cover

22. Primus and the Chocolate Factory w/ The Fungi Ensemble – S/T


21. Ariel Pink – pom pom

ariel pink pom pom

20. Bleeding Rainbow – Interrupt

bleeding rainbow interrupt

19. Future Islands – Singles

future islands singles

18. Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin

bob mould beauty and ruin

17. The War On Drugs – Lost In the Dream


16. New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers


15. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

death-from-above-1979-the physical world

14. You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing


13. Sylvan Esso – S/T


12. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager


11. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

cloud nothings here and nowhere else

10. The Hotelier – Home, Like No Place Is There

hotelier home like no place is there

9. Somos – Temple of Plenty


8. The Menzingers – Rented World

menzingers rented world

7. Schoolboy Q – #Oxymoron


6. Tweens – S/T

tweens album

5. Violent Soho – Hungry Ghost


4. St. Vincent – S/T

st vincent self titled

3. Run the Jewels – RTJ2


2. Spoon – They Want My Soul

spoon they want my soul

1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues


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Jan 18 2015

Top 300 Tracks of 2014

violent soho

300. Die Antwoord – Girl I Want 2 Eat U
299. Ty Segall – Tall Man Skinny Lady

298. Ought – Habit
297. Dum Dum Girls – Lost Boys and Girls Club
296. Aphex Twin – minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]
295. TV On The Radio – Happy Idiot
294. Sharon Van Etten – Taking Chances
293. Tobacco – Lipstick Destroyer
292. T-Pain – Drankin’ Patna
291. Riff Raff – Introducing The Icon
290. Peaking Lights – Hypnotic Hustle
289. Kelela – The High [Prod by Gifted & Blessed]

288. A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Bye Bye, Big Ocean (The End) (Ice Choir Remix)

287. Parade of Lights – Golden
286. Tayf3rd – Right Now

285. How To Dress Well – Precious Love
284. King Tuff – Headbanger
283. Rozwell Kid – Kangaroo Pocket
282. Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
281. Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked
280. Og Maco – U Guessed It
279. HAERTS – Call My Name
278. Such Gold – Faced
277. Hercules & Love Affair – That’s Not Me (feat. Gustaph)
276. Reese – Parade (Feat. OGMACO And Casey Veggies) (Prod By Dj Mustard)

275. Twin Shadow – To The Top
274. Drake – Find Your Love (Tim Gunter Remix)

273. Happy Diving – Sincere
272. Angel Olsen – Forgiven/Forgotten
271. Jack White – Lazaretto
270. Demrick – Tone It Down
269. First Aid Kit – Master Pretender
268. Little Big League – Dixie Gun
267. YG – Who Do You Love?
266. Sundials – Stun Spore
265. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Poison Touch
264. Childish Gambino – Sober
263. Transit – Fine By Me
262. Speedy Ortiz – American Horror
261. Plague Vendor – Black Sap Scriptures
260. New Found Glory – Selfless
259. Together Pangea – River
258. EMA – So Blonde
257. Green Day – State Of Shock – Demo
256. Delta Spirit – Live On
255. Tashaki Miyaki – Cool Runnings
254. ✝✝✝ (Crosses) – The Epilogue
253. Eric Bellinger – Awkward (Feat. The Game)

252. FKA twigs – Video Girl
251. Ryan Hemsworth – 「Every Square Inch」 – With Qrion
250.Kid Ink – Body Language
249. Norwegian Arms – Jitterbug
248. Bleeding Rainbow – Start Again
247. Chumped – Name That Thing
246. CEO – Ultrakaos
245. Azealia Banks – Idle Delilah
244. Line & Circle – Mine Is Mine
243. Caribou – Silver
242. Hamilton Leithauser – The Silent Orchestra
241. Beck – Blue Moon
240. Perfect Pussy – Bells
239. Herzog – Bicycle Girl
238. Usher – I Don’t Mind
237. Eternal Summers – Not For This One
236. Ariana Grande – Break Free
235. DJ Quik – Life Jacket
234. LIZ – All Them Boys

233. Raury – God’s Whisper (Flosstradamus & Aryay Remix)

232. The Both – Volunteers of America
231. Kelis – Breakfast
230. Bear Hands – Bad Friend
229. Trash Talk – Body Stuffer
228. Charli XCX – London Queen
227. Tove Lo – Not On Drugs
226. Split Single – Waiting for the Sun
225. Sylvan Esso – Hey Mami
224. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Hollywood
223. Rustie – Terra Star

222. Tokyo Police Club – Hot Tonight
221. Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance
220. Twin Peaks – I Found A New Way
219. Weezer – Lonely Girl
218. Ex Hex – Hot and Cold
217. Madeon – Imperium
216. TV On The Radio – Could You
215. Cloud Nothings – No Thoughts
214. Broods – Mother & Father
213. tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain
212. Chromeo – Come Alive (feat. Toro Y Moi)
211. St. Vincent – Bring Me Your Loves
210. Against Me! – Drinking with the Jocks
209. DJ Mustard – No Reason
208. Interpol – All The Rage Back Home
207. Future Islands – Sun in the Morning
206. Jenny Lewis – Head Underwater
205. You Blew It! – You & Me & Me
204. Tweens – McMicken
203. Violent Soho – Lowbrow
202. The Menzingers – Bad Things
201. Spoon – Inside Out
200. Dark Blue – Hanging From The Chandelier
199. Herzog – Mad Men
198. Sound Remedy – Victory (feat. Evvy)
197. The Horrors – Falling Star
196. Death From Above 1979 – Virgins
195. Sundials – Splinter
194. Chet Faker – 1998
193. Ab-Soul – Sapiosexual
192. Tensnake – First Song
191. Lxury – Never Love
190. Meatbodies – Disorder
189. Sturgill Simpson – Life of Sin
188. Jerome LOL – Always (feat. Sara Z)
187. The Cancers – Be Cool
186. Dillon Francis – Love in the Middle of a Firefight
185. Enyce – Life Good (Soda Pop)

184. Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling Don’t Cry
183. Gates – Born Dead
182. Cory Branan – The No-Hit Wonder
181. Beach Slang – Filthy Luck
180. T.I. – About the Money
179. Ariel Pink – Black Ballerina
178. Night Flowers – Embers
177. Bombay Bicycle Club – It’s Alright Now
176. Disclosure – The Mechanism
175. Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night
174. Sylvan Esso – H.S.K.T.
173. Big Eyes – Asking You to Stay
172. Interpol – My Blue Supreme
171. Panama Wedding – All of the People
170. Hooray For Earth – Hey
169. Dum Dum Girls – Are You Okay?
168. Baauer – Fire Like This (feat. Boys Noize)

167. Dornik – Rebound

166. Kiesza – Hideaway
165. Tokyo Police Club – Through the Wire
164. Diarrhea Planet – Spooners
163. Miguel – Simplethings

162. Kylie Minogue – Sexy Love
161. Kid Ink – Show Me
160. Jungle – Accelerate
159. Jon Bellion – Eyes To The Sky (Party Ghost Remix)

158. The Both – Milwaukee
157. Sia – Chandelier
156. Beck – Morning
155. Nai Harvest – Hold Open My Head
154. BOOTS – Howl

153. Real Estate – Talking Backwards
152. Lockah – If Loving U Is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Wrong – 12″ Edit
151. OB OBrien – Hazelton Trump
150. The Weaks – How to Put an Audience to Sleep in Under Two Minutes
149. Magic! – Rude – Zedd Remix
148. Bishop Nehru – You Stressin’ (Produced by Disclosure)

147. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Simple and Sure
146. Weezer – Go Away
145. Eternal Summers – Gouge
144. Phantogram – Fall In Love
143. Ryan Hemsworth – Cream Soda – With Tomggg
142. So Cow – Barry Richardson
141. Bleeding Rainbow – Time & Place
140. Jenny Lewis – Slippery Slopes
139. New Found Glory – Persistent
138. Primus – Pure Imagination
137. I LOVE MAKONNEN – Tuesday (feat. Drake)
136. SOPHIE – Hard
135. Vince Staples – Hands Up
134. Rustie – Raptor
133. Bear Hands – Agora
132. Future Islands – Spirit
131. The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure
130. Dreamtrak – Contemporary
129. White Sea – Prague
128. Pharrell Williams – Brand New
127. Tinashe – Xylaphone (feat. David Andrew Sitek)

126. Violent Soho – Dope Calypso
125. Wiz Khalifa – KK (feat. Project Pat & Juicy J)
124. Cloud Nothings – Now Hear In
123. Parade of Lights – Burn
122. Modern Baseball – Charlie Black
121. Duck Sauce – NRG
120. Run The Jewels – Blockbuster Night Part 1
119. PUP – Guilt Trip
118. ASTR – Operate
117. You Blew It! – Award of the Year Award
116. Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
115. Childbirth – I Only Fucked You As a Joke

114. The Knocks – Classic (feat. Powers)
113. Drake – 6 God

112. Charli XCX – Boom Clap – ASTR Remix
111. Against Me! – Fuckymylife666
110. Schoolboy Q – Gangsta
109. Spoon – Do You
108. The Menzingers – My Friend Kyle
107. Parquet Courts – Ducking & Dodging
106. St. Vincent – Digital Witness
105. Tweens – Bored in the City
104. Somos – Domestic
103. The Hotelier – Your Deep Rest
102. Bob Mould – Hey Mr. Grey
101. DJ Snake – Turn Down for What
100. Nona – Give
99. How To Dress Well – Words I Don’t Remember
98. Usher – Good Kisser – Disclosure Remix
97. Gnarwolves – Day Man
96. Todd Terje – Johnny And Mary (feat. Bryan Ferry)
95. Bombay Bicycle Club – Home By Now
94. Shift K3Y – Touch
93. Chumped – Hot 97 Summer Jam
92. High Ends – The Weight
91. Sloan – Carried Away
90. Alvvays – Adult Diversion
89. Troy Ave – All About The Money
88. WELL$ – Youth In Revolt Pt 2 (Feat King Mez)

87. The Hotelier – In Framing
86. Jessie Ware – Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe
85. ASTR – Blue Hawaii
84. Schoolboy Q – Collard Greens
83. Diarrhea Planet – Bamboo Curtain
82. Adrian Marcel – 2AM.
81. Shamir – On The Regular
80. Wiz Khalifa – We Dem Boyz
79. Jungle – Busy Earnin’
78. P Reign – DnF
77. Chromeo – Old 45’s
76. The Horrors – So Now You Know
75. Bear Hands – Giants
74. Modern Baseball – Your Graduation
73. Pharrell – Frontin’ (Disclosure Re-Work)

72. Trust – Capitol
71. Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good
70. Kero Kero Bonito – Sick Beat
69. Joyce Manor – Victoria
68. Dallas Smith – Tippin Point
67. The-Dream – Wedding Bells

66. Dum Dum Girls – In the Wake Of You
65. Popstrangers – Country Kills
64. Fickle Friends – Swim
63. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Eurydice
62. Hamilton Leithauser – Alexandra
61. BROODS – Bridges (ASTR Remix)

60. Bleeding Rainbow – So You Know
59. Hooray For Earth – Keys
58. The War On Drugs – Red Eyes
57. Iggy Azalea – Fancy
56. MNEK – Every Little Word
55. Kendrick Lamar – i
54. PUP – Reservoir
53. Timbah – Thunder Clacks
52. Lone – 2 is 8
51. Nothing – July the Fourth
50. The Both – You Can’t Help Me Now
49. Beverly – Honey Do
48. Sylvan Esso – Coffee
47. Ariel Pink – Put Your Number In My Phone
46. Lily Allen – Air Balloon
45. Bully – Milkman
44. Weezer – Back To The Shack
43. New Found Glory – Resurrection
42. SOPHIE – Lemonade
41. Chromeo – Jealous (I Ain’t With It)
40. Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part Of Me
39. Death From Above 1979 – Cheap Talk
38. Primus – Golden Ticket
37. Jeremih – Don’t Tell ‘Em
36. Hiss Golden Messenger – Drum
35. Louis Futon – Silk (Kill Paris Remix)

34. Restorations – Misprint
33. Bob Mould – I Don’t Know You Anymore
32. Memoranda – Into the Wild
31. Beach Slang – All Fuzzed Out
30. Tinashe – 2 On
29. Kayper – Out My Mind
28. Eagulls – Possessed
27. The Menzingers – I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore
26. Vince Staples – Blue Suede
25. Somos – Familiar Theme
24. Jenny Lewis – She’s Not Me
23. Allie X – Catch
22. Thy Slaughter – Bronze

21. Duke Dumont – I Got U
20. ASTR – R U With Me
19. Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)
18. Run The Jewels – Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) [feat. Zack De La Rocha]
17. Dej Loaf – Try Me
16. QT – Hey QT

15. Schoolboy Q – Man Of The Year
14. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
13. The Hotelier – The Scope of All of This Rebuilding
12. Charli XCX – Boom Clap
11. You Blew It! – Match & Tinder
10. Pa’s Lam System – I’m Coming

9. Drake – 0 To 100 / The Catch Up
8. St. Vincent – Birth In Reverse
7. Spoon – Rent I Pay
6. Lorde – Tennis Court (Diplo’s Andre Agassi Reebok Pump Mix)

5. Tweens – Be Mean
4. Somos – Dead Wrong
3. Lil Wayne – Believe Me
2. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
1. Violent Soho – Covered In Chrome

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Jan 17 2015

Quarterly Review – October-December 2014


Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

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Nov 17 2014

Quarterly Review – July – September 2014


Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

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Jul 8 2014

Quarterly Review – April-June 2014


Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

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Jul 6 2014

MY Texas

So back in 2011, a couple of fellow Red Raiders of mine, who also happen to be Texas country musicians, Josh Abbott and Pat Green, released a hit single called “My Texas.” I first became aware of the song walking out of a Texas Rangers game, probably last summer. As is the case with most Texas country songs, the music is unremarkable in terms of strong hooks or memorable melody, while the lyrics are generally the focus. From the beginning, the song’s intention is clear; this is designed to be a crowd-pleaser at Red Dirt concerts and fests. Abbott and Green take turns naming parts and activities associated with our large, glorious state. Take a listen for yourself. You’ll get the idea pretty quickly.

As you can ascertain, the lyrical structure is the same throughout the entire song, even the chorus. Three things are named recognized as Texas activities, with the final repeated coda that, if you haven’t done these things, then “you ain’t met my Texas yet.” Pretty straightforward, immediately familiar, and, especially if you’re a Texan, ultimately very fun to hear for the first time.

The chorus changes every time, but with a basic structure repeated – rodeos, fellow Texas country artists, and random Texas cities and areas are name-dropped. Some of the recommendations make sense (eating Cooper’s in Llano, hiking through Big Bend) and some feel like they were fishing for ideas (an Abilene sunset? Having your hair blown back by Lubbock winds? Really?)

Overall, this song has an ideaology built into it that makes it such a hit for the Texas country crowd – it’s a celebration of our state’s diversity in geography, it hearkens back to that timeless Texas pride and feeling of exclusivity, and it recalls things most of its listeners have actually done.

As a whole, I LOVE the idea of this song. As a born-and-raised Texan, in theory the premise is novel. In practice, however, there was very little of the song I related to, which was a disappointment, though not a surprising one. I’m not, I suppose, what one would describe as a typical Texan, and definitely not a Texas country music fan. These guys know their audience, and I’m not a member of that club.

I suppose, when I first heard the song, it irked me there was absolutely no mention of Austin whatsoever. Again, this wasn’t surprising, as Austin isn’t really a hotspot for Texas country fandom or the cliche good ol’ boy culture surrounding it. But there are so many iconic things about this city that are overlooked by this culture. And in reality, it’s very arguable Austin is the city Texans should be MOST proud of.

So I immediately wanted to write my own version. A parody, if you will. And initially, I wanted it to be all about Austin. And it turned out that way, mostly. But while working on it, I started to realize there were parts of my life that weren’t about Austin at all, but were absolutely about Texas. I’ve traveled all across this state, and lived in three different areas of it, and I have no intention of ever leaving it. I firmly believe this state should be celebrated. And I admire that celebration in this Josh Abbott/Pat Green song, even if I don’t necessarily identify with 100% of it.

So eventually my version evolved into a song about my personal experience with Texas, Austin and beyond. There are references to Amarillo, Lubbock, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Marfa, even my hometown of Gruver. I strongly encourage other proud Texans to take this song and make it their own; what started as a fun little activity on a day off from work morphed into a personal, nostalgic, proud experience. And it ultimately made me like the song more, even if I’m still not in love with the melody.

Below are my lyrics to my personal version of the song “My Texas.” Compare them to the original ones, if you’re so inclined. Why I decided to spend an afternoon and do this, I don’t really know. It’s 100 degrees outside, and this seemed more exciting than going out and sweating at a bar or a pool or whatever. People who have known me for an extended amount of time might enjoy some references, while others might not recognize those references at all, and vice versa. Such is the celebration of a diverse life lived in many places, but all in one wonderful state. Enjoy, and thanks for humoring me.

If you never took a dip in Barton Springs

Went to Cadillac Ranch and painted things

Watched Tim Duncan get five rings

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.


If you’ve never gotten drunk on Rainey Street

Had a Live Oak Hef, man it tastes so sweet

Stopped at El Vaquero for a bite to eat

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.


If you haven’t crowd surfed down at Emo’s

Sang “Backyard” at a One Wolf show

Kissed a girl at SX you just met

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.


Never been to Hope Gallery and made your mark

Saw the Marfa lights right at dark

Smoked a bowl down at Zilker Park

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.


If you’ve never been to Buddy Holly’s grave

Got Buzzed from 512 IPA

Caught a foul ball at a Rangers game

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.


Never heard Pantera on your radio

Sang “Tyler” at a Toadies show

If you never been to Fun Fun Fun Fest

You ain’t met my Texas yet.


Never hung with KTXT folks

Learned to two-step at Broken Spoke

Had a Lonestar Beer and didn’t choke,

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.


Never had a Democrat at Torchy’s Tacos,

Gotten throwed at a Bun B show,

Didn’t know Franklin BBQ’s the best

Then you ain’t met my Texas yet.

No, you ain’t met my Texas yet!


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Apr 7 2014

Quarterly Review – January-March 2014

against me

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Note: Due to waning interest on my part and lack of decent output in my opinion, the remixes list has been discontinued. However, I have increased the Downloads list from 20 to 40. I will probably regret this from quarter to quarter, but that’s how it stands currently.

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Feb 23 2014

Five Albums That Changed My Life – Pork Soda

primus pork soda

And so continues a series of posts I started back in May, and while the first entry is probably more culturally significant, this addition still has a special place in my heart, if only for its musical impact. Most people know me as an avid appreciator of music of all kinds, but particularly indie and alternative styles. I keep that as general and vague as I can, because honestly that has been the only constant description dealing with my evolution into studying, criticizing, and even enjoying (!) pop culture and its music counterpart. There are bands and artists I’ve remained loyal to, regardless of output, kind of like a sports team fandom, really. Most of these come from my adolescence, and of course Les Claypool and Primus fit that bill. These are bands that are admittedly, just a bit before my time, but I nevertheless identify with what someone my age would deem “older brother” music. I was into the sounds of grunge, 90’s punk, stuff that was wearing off on the masses by the time I became cognizant of what year it was and what was popular. And this is primarily because of my cousin Joe.

Joe is now married and has a kid, which in my mind makes him much older than I am because I don’t have those things, even though he’s my senior by merely six years. So yeah, he essentially served as the older brother I didn’t have. But he was only around at Christmas, so that was when I got a taste of what it was like to be a teenager and like teenager stuff and watch PG-13 movies and hear his stories about going to concerts and kissing girls and seeing Tool like 7 times in Mesa and all that jazz. It was an exciting growth period for me. It probably had already begun to formulate, as I had discovered Z93, the local Top 40 station, the summer before, much to the chagrin of my mother, who always wanted me to like only country music (sorry, Mom). But it reached its apex during December 1996, and eventually progressed into listening to FM90, the college station, and sneaking views of MTV and South Park, and going to loud rock concerts on my own, and becoming the unjustified music snob I am today. It’s all Joe’s, and Les Claypool’s, fault.

Joe would sleep in my room on the top of my blue (or was it red?) bunk bed over the holidays, and one day while playing Super Nintendo I began listening to whatever Joe was blaring from the top bunk through his headphones utilizing a Sony Walkmen that was way more hi-tech than mine. It sounded….well, strange. Joe eagerly let me put the headphones on, started the track over, and this is what I heard.

And this was my first taste of alternative rock. Ever. Before that, I was all about Dwight Yoakam and Coolio. This opened a whole new dimension of music I only vaguely knew about, and I wanted more. Now, admittedly, Primus is a weird, weird band, so my first exposure to modern rock was probably outside the box (I remember watching an awards show a few months later and witnessing Live and Collective Soul win awards and wondering why they sounded so….safe). So Joe let me listen to Rage Against the Machine, and Weezer, and Tool, and the Deftones, and Toadies, and all these bands I still love today because they have a special place in my heart and were honestly bands that changed my life. And they’re all pretty different in their own way, but they all had something I had never experienced before. We spent hours in my bedroom that Christmas playing video games and listening to rock music, and it was glorious. And then I went out and bought Pork Soda, and Evil Empire, and Adrenaline, and Undertow, and Rubberneck, and the Blue Album, with my Christmas money. Within two years, I had every album from all those bands, and a whole lot more. By next Christmas, I was talking Primus trivia with Joe like I was a veteran who had seen them at Lollapalooza in ’94.

The albums I’ve named are mainly time capsules now, including Pork Soda; some have claimed their place in Important 90’s Albums lists, some are merely footnotes in a memorable rock band’s catalogue. But these albums, and this time period, are timeless to me. Nowadays, we see a sweeping abundance of love for the 90’s, everything adoring the decade I already knew was cool. Culture has a tendency to love things that turn twenty years old, but by the time they’re thirty, they might as well be forgotten. And some of these acts are going strong after hiatuses, some are doing one-off reunions, some are long gone, never to return. But I still love them all, whether inactive or a different incarnation or producing comparable mediocrity. Because of Christmas 1996 and my cousin Joe. Because that time was a huge musical transformation for me, which in my world means a huge transformation in general. And it all began sitting on a bunk bed in my childhood bedroom, wearing oversized headphones and hearing a bass guitar make sounds I’d never heard before from any contraption, musical or otherwise. And even today, when my taste has progressed, along with most people’s, into heavy electronics and hip-hop, this music from a decade I’m blissfully stuck in still sounds new.  Music I still adore, and blare just as loudly.

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