I was useless as a child. I was the blankest of slates. Nobody knew what to do with me. I lived a ‘bookmarker’ life where I planned on following up later on my own life to make it interesting. If there was a crack anywhere I fell through it. This went on for a while until music started to define me. Music allowed me to connect with other people. I remember going to concerts and having to show my library card to get in. I got used to being the youngest person in the audience. Gradually music made me happier, helped me realize I wasn’t alone, and let me tap my more creative side. These are the songs that have stuck with me throughout long periods of time, repeated to an unhealthy degree.
1. Hurricane Fighter Plane by Red Krayola
His supporting band is just a bunch of musicians who create loose grooves, if they could even be called that. Poor bassist barely knows what the hell he’s doing, the keyboard player appears to be randomly pressing keys and hoping something cool happens, and there is maybe a riff somewhere it is hard to tell if it is intentional or accidental. This is one of my favorite songs of all time.
2. Tone Burst – Stereolab
Before Stereolab started putting out the same French pop album with minor tweaks for roughly two decades, it was much noisier and inspired by krautrock, repetition, and disorientation. I wish I could play this at some deafening volume going down a highway. Unfortunately I don’t have a car or know anyone who has a car. Every time this song comes on I stop what I’m doing and daydream.
3. Standing Stone – Flying Saucer Attack
My first creative project I was proud of was made to this song repeated for five hours straight. Upon completion of the project I realized I had painted an entire painting consisting of the visual equivalent of guitar feedback. I got an A.
4. L’Enfant Au Royaume Des Mouches – Jean-Claude Vannier
I imagine my reality being carefully disassembled and floating away to this song.
5. Hector – Deep Sht
I remember seeing the singer of this band looking completely out of it and remember thinking ‘Yeah this guy is probably wasted about 85% of the time.’
6. Heat Distraction – Women
I have played this band for lots of people before and they’ve usually told me to turn it off because it made them too anxious.
7. Leterel – Autechre
‘Leteral’ reminds me of my first trip to the beach. I was in kindergarten. I went with my classmates and hung around a lighthouse that was painted red. I loved that trip. Out of my entire life that trip is probably one of my top five. It is my favorite field trip.
My time in kindergarten consisted of giving my teacher jars full of snails. For some reason that was something my parents were into.
8. Biomagic 1 – Farmers Manual
This group allegedly made music in an abandoned auto repair shop in Vienna. Various members of the group would fall asleep halfway through their own sets. I like how they achieved their own goal of being ‘navigators in the sea of sound.’ I think they worked full time as marketers for some fancy Austrian advertising firm. They give me hope, a lot of hope.
If I ever get wealthy enough to have a soundtrack for my own bathroom, I want this to be playing constantly while I eat ice cream in a bathtub watching ‘Freaks and Geeks’ repeats. This is what I assume luxury sounds like, though I have no firsthand experience with luxury.
10. Papa, Antoine – Mouse on Mars
One of the girls in my class got suspended in the beginning of the 8th grade for going on a school field trip, drinking excessively, and vomiting all over the lab. I liked her. She looked cool. She looked sort of gothic. Right before I graduated middle school they distributed the yearbooks. I saw she listed her favorite movie as ‘The Brave Little Toaster’ and left the rest of her information blank. I adored her after that.
Her parents were strict. I think she was either rebelling against them or could have just been bored, I’m not certain. I remember she told me where she lived once before I graduated.
I visited her house exactly once. She lived in another part of town. I looked through the front window while biking past. Right in the living room window was a doll house. In the yard was a stupid looking lawn ornament windmill. I never rang the doorbell. I never even stopped. Seeing the house was enough. I have no idea what happened to her.
11. My Kind of Woman – Mac Demarco
When people ask me if I’m too sentimental, I’d like to point them to this song and not have to say anything.
12. John is the Last of a Dying Breed – Rangers
As a kid we’d go on road trips to visit all the boring parts of the Eastern seaboard because that was an allegedly fun thing to do. One of the best moments of those trips was going to a part of North Carolina and driving over an immaculately clean bridge. No one in our family could understand how the bridge could be that nice, or that large, and not have a toll booth. I’m still confounded by it. It was a really nice bridge.
13. Suspended – Experimental Aircraft
One entire year passed where I’d stare at parking lots listening to this song. I took a trip to New York City listening to this song, drinking on the train, and ignoring the rest of my classmates who thought I was ‘out of control.’ I was but that’s okay. They were boring anyway.
14. Stars Gone Out – Low
I never understood the purpose of speeding things up. People have enough time to do whatever they want. Sometimes that involves giving up sleep or making time, but the time is there. Time can be spent more productively. Slowing things down is the most rewarding thing to do in life.
15. A Dream Goes On Forever – Todd Rundgren
Somewhere out there is a children’s television program with this song as its theme for the opening sequence. I imagine this children’s program has puppets and involves a lot of hugs. Most likely this children’s program was the break Sheri Lewis got before she started ‘Lamb Chop’s Play-Along’.
16. Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
This brings up positive images of the cubicle I shared with an extremely intelligent person who pretended to be a bro. He’d occasionally accidentally drop an obscure art reference and feel embarrassed by it. One of the best moments I had with him was right out of the blue he turned to me and said ‘Man, my chair absorbs my farts like a champ’ and I responded with ‘What the fuck am I doing here?’
17. Feather of Forgiveness – Polvo
For a long time I used to watch TV late at night with the sound off, hoping that the music would sync up to my music. Shows usually synced up to this song.
18. W.G.A. – Weed
Busted is beautiful.
19. The New Me – Conspiracy of Owls
I have danced with friends in kitchens to this song.
20. The Present – Bedhead
Years from now I will be having a bad day. I will drive through many monotonous yet comfortable neighborhoods. I will reach my house. I will enter the house. I will put down my coat. I will go outside. I will jump on a trampoline for roughly one-and-a half-to-two hours. My family will watch me jump up and down on the trampoline. As I float up and down on the trampoline I will feel a tremendous sense of calm, like everything will be taken care of without figuring out exactly how it will happen. My calm will be noticed by my family. Nobody will talk to me for the rest of the day. I will be left completely alone by everyone. I will go to sleep extremely happy knowing people can figure out what’s going on with me without speaking to me.