Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Postcard From Los Angeles
You're probably way ahead of me, but I heard this yesterday and rather enjoyed it. Possibly the fourth best track on Kid A.

Otherwise, it is hot. And the kids are listening to this. (Is there any better endorsement of youth music/culture than a member of law enforcement saying: "This is total disregard for human life, for law, for each other, for everything." Probably not.)

Later. Drove up to Santa Barbara today and guess who's performing here on Thursday night? Santa Barbara's own mid-90s, alt.lite legends Toad The Wet Sprocket? Apparently they've reunited (for at least the second time) and this will be the big homecoming show of their current tour. They're no Gin Blossoms or anything, but how can I not try and find a ticket...

Much later, possibly after too much time in the sun. Obviously it's generally more necessary to write books about "important" artists and scenes, but there is probably something great to be written about the immediate post-Cobain era of rock music which featured a rather remarkable run of one-hit wonders - Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms (Hey Jealousy), Better Than Ezra (Good), Dishwalla (Counting Blue Cars), the Rembrandts (I'll Be There For You), the Verve Pipe (The Freshmen), Dog's Eye View (Everything Falls Apart), Deep Blue Something (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and Canada's own Gandharvas (First Day of Spring) - all of whom succeeded both because of and in direct contradiction to Cobain. Of course, unlike Cobain, none of them really matter now. Then again, also unlike Cobain, many of them are still touring. Which actually almost evens the score.

Following the Most Important Rock Star of The Last 20 Years, these guys didn't have a chance and, at the same time, there's really no reasonable argument to be made for the relevance of Breakfast at Tiffany's. But in the summer of 1996 the average 16-year-old was agonizing over The Freshmen, not Cobain. And personally I can hum the chorus to more Better Than Ezra songs (1) than Alice in Chains songs (0).

This is not necessarily another plea on behalf of the irrelevant or low culture or whatever, but if you tracked down all these bands now and talked with them about the vagaries of life, you'd probably learn more about the world then another book about the Sex Pistols could ever teach you.

(All right, that's not necessarily an argument for low culture, but here's a question that could turn into such an argument: What is relatively more valuable to the ongoing success of rock music: one icon or nine slightly above average but only fleetingly successful bands?)

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