Tuesday, May 04, 2004

When I think of the road I'm traveling on, I wonder what went wrong.

  • Reservoir "American Tune" (Paul Simon cover)
    In the mid-nineties, my friends Ryan and Gerry and I became briefly intrigued by the feedback-rich, somewhat morose, electronic song stylings of Long Island band Space Needle. They did experimental, proggy, mechanical chill-out music in the oddest, strangely noisy way and I suppose we were drinking enough or whatever back then that it seemed groundbreaking at the time. Besides, any '90s-era band cool enough to get Roger Dean to do an album cover has to be at least worth a try, right?

    A music retail slut, I also allowed my semi-obsession to branch out to all bands on the now-defunct Zero Hour label, amassing a collection of every sampler it released as well as promos of all its bands, one of which was Reservoir—the more melancholy, ambient and melodic solo project of Jud Ehrbar from Space Needle. This cover, which was available solely on the Zero Hour sampler On the House always creeped me out in a good way. The original was one of those songs from my childhood that confused me by its ability to actually make me think—about death, reflection and the uncertainty of the afterlife. (As all toddlers should.) Damn you, Paul Simon, for writing such a slow-but-poppy song about such a dark topic! I wonder if I would have been less depressed in my youth had I not been so affected by song lyrics. (Don't even get me started on how much I still long to find a lover who likes drinking piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.) This version, however, unlike the original, actually sounds as if it's about death, regret and remembrance, taking on a feel of a fuzzy funeral dirge. Nothing wrong with that.

    Also: If you can get past the terrible "band" name of Portland's Kind of Like Spitting, you should seek out its heartfelt live acoustic version of "American Tune." Very good as well. (And, yes, I'll probably post it here eventually.)