parodies by nacrowe
join us TONIGHT at 8PM EST for an all new episode of DEER GOD RADIO on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC with a playlist celebrating the amazing INDIE ROCK music of KIM DEAL!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
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photo & text by nacrowe
when i moved from KUWAIT to SACRAMENTO to live with a relative shortly after 9/11 i was pretty shellshocked. it was a tough relocation and on top of that it was my senior year of high school. so i just remember being alone a lot listening to records. fortunately a few blocks away was a solid (sadly now defunct) record store called DIMPLE RECORDS where i basically spent my allowance on all things POST PUNK, GOTH ROCK, INDIE ROCK and beyond.
one of those discoveries was THE BREEDERS. i knew THE PIXIES pretty well but ended up delving headfirst into KIM DEAL's other project, specifically the POD (4AD, 1990) and LAST SPLASH (4AD, 1993) albums. along with ELASTICA, i remember listening to LAST SPLASH when going on a trip to SANTA CRUZ visit the university there. man did i want to attend that school. you had the mountains and the beach and oblique references to PULP FICTION (MIRAMAX, 1994), it seemed perfect. unfortunately i didnt get in. i was considered an out-of-state applicant. i missed the deadline by less than a week. if 9/11 had only have been 8/11 id have gotten in. i remember tutoring peers at my new high school in the afternoon who got in. it was a mess. it worked out though, RUTGERS and COLUMBIA aint half bad at all. but i cant help remembering how fun SANTA CRUZ was for that weekend.
THE BREEDERS fit that vibe so well because everything about their music, visuals and lyrics was a bit askew, a little bit off. they kept the soft verse, explosive chorus of THE PIXIES, whom KIM DEAL was a founding member of, but really explored odd time signatures and interesting guitar-based textures that wrapped her husky vocals seamlessly. standout tracks such as "DRIVIN' ON 9," "NO ALOHA," "DIVINE HAMMER," "DO YOU LOVE ME NOW?" and of course, "CANNONBALL" all mined the same sources that seemed to veer from classic 1950s SURF MUSIC to recent SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK with infectious melodies and interesting harmonies. vocally the harmonies created by KIM and her sister KELLEY DEAL really provided a lift during the choruses due to the preternatural similarities between the tone of their voices. watching live videos i am always stunned to see how something i thought was a KIM vocal was actually KELLEY and vice versa. those harmonies definitely added a signature sonic element to their songs.
for me LAST SPLASH is an iconic 1990s record on par with anything NIRVANA, THE BEASTIE BOYS, JANE'S ADDICTION, A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, OASIS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, THE WU-TANG CLAN or BECK put out in terms of sonic experimentation and innovation. its a cornerstone record that deserves rediscovery and reexamination more than two decades later.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i discovered this ongoing series on the PREMIER GUITAR youtube channel a few years ago and have long been obsessed with it. as a failed guitar player myself, it is fun to hear from the players and their techs about all sorts of details regarding their sound and setup. the format is basically a run through of their guitars and amps as well as pedal configurations and individual opinions/philosophy regarding reliability/fidelity tradeoff between analog vs digital, cords vs wireless, in-ear vs speaker monitors, etc.
its really cool to to witness the minutiae of their sound, even diving into things like string gauges, pick thickness, pickup configurations, bridges, tuners and the list goes on. it is definitely a niche audience that gets off on this sort of thing, but i am squarely in that demographic.
for me their is never enough times to witness people talk about their prized LES PAUL JR, JAZZMASTER, D-28, COUNTRY GENTLEMAN, P-BASS, 370 12-string, JAZZ BASS, DOBRO TRICONE, 4003 BASS, WHITE FALCON or TELECASTER. or for that matter any variety of high-gain amplifier models like the DUAL RECTIFIER (BLINK 182, PENNYWISE), JCM 800 (SLAYER, JUDAS PRIEST), ROCKERVERB 100 (MASTODON), HIWATT CP103 (THE WHO), 5150 (VAN HALEN), JMP 2204 (AC/DC), SHIVA (ALICE IN CHAINS, TOOL), BE100 (ALICE IN CHAINS), VH4 (TOOL), CENTURY 200 (PANTERA, WHITE ZOMBIE), UBERSCHALL (TOOL) or a MARK IIC+ (early METALLICA)
whats also interesting over time is witnessing firsthand the trend towards digital amp profilers and modelers like the HELIX, KEMPER and especially the AXE FX which allows their setup to be easily transportable (like hand carry-on in a plane easy) as well as more consistent given that traditional tube amplifiers require maintenance from time to time depending on weather, humidity conditions.
you really get a sense of how and why guitar and bass musicians and those that support them utilize the gear they do on tour. you also get a clear "inside baseball" perspective on how they view these numerous tradeoff decisions every musician has to make, and they all have differing opinions. its basically required viewing for anyone interested in gear used by rock bands.
anyway, if you're interested definitely check out the examples i embedded below (these don't even scratch the surface of the total playlist linked HERE).
artwork by nacrowe
tonight's episode of DEER GOD RADIO at 8PM on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC will be all about ALTERNATIVE ROCK from the 1990s.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST and THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW are available here at the DEER GOD website.