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5 Slightly Obscure 90’s Tracks – III

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Nineties music, am I right? Let me be your guide to some killer tracks we don’t want to lose to time. Here’s 5 Slightly Obscure 90’s Tracks Part III.

 

Reach the Rock – Havana 3AM, 1991

You probably know that Paul Simonson played bass for The Clash. He formed Havana 3AM is the wake of that iconic band, and they produced two records of Latin-flavored rockabilly. I got hip to Reach the Rock on 120 Minutes, back when MTV had some relevance.


Cracker – Big Dipper, 1996

They were best known for Low and Teen Angst, but Cracker are at their best when they slow things down. Big Dipper smacks of campfires under a carpet of stars, of traffic grinding to a halt on the Interstate. Not just one of the best songs of the nineties, one of my favorites of all time. “Hey June, why’d you have to come around so soon? I wasn’t ready for all this nature.”


Mic Check- Cornelius, 1997

In the nineties I was always on the hunt for music that spit in the face of popularity. Fantasma by Cornelius, the stage name of Japanese musician Keigo Oyamada, was pure sonic bliss and unlike anything else in my record collection. I didn’t know what Shibuya-kei was at the time, I just knew it massaged my brain in all the right places, especially if you rolled a sizeable fatty first.


Summer Babe  (Winter Version) – Pavement, 1992

Slanted and Enchanted, Pavement’s first record, introduced me to Stephen Malkmus, a musical smartass in the broken-mold of the Velvet Underground. But more songy and with chops. I’m down with whatever Malkmus is up to, including his last great record with The Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags.

 

Reverend Black Grape – Black Grape, 1995

Black Grape, made of members of the Happy Mondays and Ruthless Rap Assassins, recorded a few anti-organized religion songs you could dance to. How they managed to shoehorn joy and brutal criticism into the same track is beyond me. “Standing in the pews, talking bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.”

 

Recording as Electronic Device, Brooklyn artist and writer Eric Curran released his debut record "Two Dull Boys" in 2021.

Music

Janita – Three Songs She’d Love to Have Written

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Janita’s newest album Here Be Dragons is another in a progression of finely crafted hymns for the empowered. Whether by love, as in the silky “I Do,” or by subverting expectations, in the Beatlesesque “Not What You’re Used To,” Janita draws on lessons learned during a positively unique career that spans decades and continents. We caught up with Janita on the heels of her latest single “When It’s All Up To You” to find out three songs she’d love to have written.

Elliott Smith — “L.A.” 

This is one of my favorite songs by Elliott Smith. I listened to the full album Figure 8 a lot while I was writing the songs on my new album, and it was a huge influence on me both melodically and lyrically. This song in particular has also informed some of the production choices we made later, like the heavier guitars you hear on my song “Not What You’re Used To.”

“L.A.” is incredibly melodic, but there’s an elusive, haunting quality to it. It feels like you’re always trying to reach it, catch up to it somehow. The backing vocals accentuate that feeling. In my mind, the song paints such a vivid picture of the ephemeral, fickle nature of L.A., and the similarly transient nature of the main character. Elliott Smith himself? I don’t know exactly how he does (did) it, but I’m certainly in awe of it.

Radiohead — “There There”

So hypnotic. So badass. Could the production possibly be any cooler? The melody is intricate and beautiful, and I can relate to the lyric from every which angle: as the singer, as the one being sung to, and whether in love relationships, friendships, or with total strangers. The subject matter simply comes up in life in so many ways all the time… I recently tried to express similar notions as I was writing a song, only to remember that it was already done here perfectly. Goddammit.

Punch Brothers — “Julep”

This song is simply magical to me. It’s made me bawl my eyes out at a Punch Brothers concert two separate times. It’s like that viral video that was circulating some years ago of a baby moved to tears when her mom sings a sad tune. I’m that baby when it comes to this song. It simply hits some sort of primal button in me and keeps pressing it until the very end.

While you’re at it, check out Janita’s video for “Digging in the Dirt,” a funky and faithful rendition of the Peter Gabriel classic.

Recording as Electronic Device, Brooklyn artist and writer Eric Curran released his debut record "Two Dull Boys" in 2021.

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New Music – Bachelor

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Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner join forces as Bachelor – a musical powerhouse whose new record Doomin’ Sun drops May 28th on Polyvinyl.

Kemper and Duterter recorded the album during two weeks of mutual appreciation in California. Three visceral singles have been released in the lead-up, including the Pixies-flavored “Stay in the Car” and the sprawling “Anything At All.”

Bachelor has also announced the Doomin’ Sun Fest, a one-day livestream featuring Tegan & Sara, Courtney Barnett, Adrianne Lenker, Jeff Tweedy, Japanese Breakfast, Julien Baker, and more.

Doomin Sun Fest

Recording as Electronic Device, Brooklyn artist and writer Eric Curran released his debut record "Two Dull Boys" in 2021.

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Self-Serving Interview with Electronic Device Does Little to Advance Musician’s Career

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Two men that look suspiciously alike meet outside a fictitious Brooklyn hot-spot – six feet apart.

MC Krispy E: Very nice to meet you. (squints) Have we met before?

Electronic Device: Maybe?

MC Krispy E: Is the rest of the band joining us?

Electronic Device: (pause) I am the rest of the band.

MC Krispy E: You are Electronic Device? What’s that about?

Electronic Device: Uhm, yeah, it’s like a pen name. You know what that is, right?

MC Krispy E: I have some idea.

Electronic Device: It was actually the name of one of my dad’s companies back in the day before…

MC Krispy E: (looking at his watch) Wonderful. So… it says here you have a new single called “All Things Come to an End” inspired by the death of your brother.

Electronic Device: Yeah, after my brother died I recorded songs as a form of therapy in his old bedroom in Staten Island.

MC Krispy E: And now I read that you have cancer. Am I supposed to feel extra sorry for you?

Electronic Device: Uhm…

MC Krispy E: It sounds like this album is going to be super depressing.

Electronic Device: It’s not, I swear. I was looking for some happiness while recording these songs, there’s not much of an agenda beyond that.

MC Krispy E: What kind of music is it?

Electronic Device: I wasn’t really thinking about influences while recording, but listening back I hear some Concrete Blonde, some Cracker.

MC Krispy: So bands no one is interested in?

Electronic Device: What the hell, man?

MC Krispy: Sorry, it’s almost like I can’t help it.  What’s the single about?

Electronic Device: I hate saying what a song is about because everything is up for interpretation.

MC Krispy E: Humor us.

Electronic Device: I can say that “All Things Come to an End” has multiple narrators, some of which are unreliable.

MC Krispy E: (stares)

Electronic Device: And that one day I was at my Dad’s house and when I turned the corner into the hallway my Dad thought I was my brother for a moment, which was super sad because of course I couldn’t be.

MC Krispy E: And then you wrote a whole song about that.

Electronic Device: I guess so. When you put it that way…

MC Krispy E: (yawning) Tell us when the single come out.

Electronic Device: The single is out now. The album comes out in 2021.

MC Krispy E: Well, good for you. And good luck with that cancer thing.

Electronic Device: Yeah, you too.

MC Krispy E: Thanks. What?

Recording as Electronic Device, Brooklyn artist and writer Eric Curran released his debut record "Two Dull Boys" in 2021.

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