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Thursday, January 20, 2011

308. "Common Reactor" by Silversun Pickups

I guess this might seem like sort of a mainstreamy song for me to do, but my listening habits with regards to "new" music are on the random side. Aside from my general eternal browsing through and clicking with older music I'd not gotten into before (which is usually the bulk of my listening) and following the artists whom I've liked forever but have fallen off the radar for most, I tend to sort of pick up random records based on what I've read or heard people talking about. Most of those don't stick, but the ones that do, I play to death with little heed to the cultural context. And so it was that some years ago I was alternating Carnavas, the first Go! Team album, Charlotte Hatherley's solo debut and big rafts of vintage Paisley Underground and early UK postpunk scratch-guitar bands. That's just how it goes.

I'd class the album as somewhat of a guilty pleasure, mainly because the band gets compared with Smashing Pumpkins so much, and I fucking fucking fucking hate Smashing Pumpkins in every way they can be hated. It's the Sonic Youthy, My Bloody Valentiney vibe that pulled me in, along with the fact that the melodies and lyrics are far more palatable than the best Corganisms I've ever heard. The funny thing is, I don't know if I would have liked it as much had I not accidentally burned my CDR of it with the tracks in the reverse order, with "Common Reactor" as the leadoff track instead of the grand finale. The song itself is just great, the little occasional hiccup in the drums was a bit of an obsession for me, and I loved the way it ended with like two minutes of just rrrrrrrrrrr and then on to the rest of the record. Except that it doesn't, at least in the way I heard it for a month or so in my car before realizing what was wrong.

I did a whole bunch of takes trying to rework the structure for my purposes, and I was getting frustrated, when Eden walked over and read the dedication she'd just written for a painting she'd just finished for her friend Anastasia. The tape was rolling, and I just started the song after she was done, just as you hear it on the final recording.

Rex ~ Guitar and vocal
Eden ~ Invocation

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