A Map Of My Musical Past

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be in love — with music?

I mean really, really, really in love. So much that it hurts. Your ears. (I wish I had worn my earplugs Sunday night.)

I do.

And that love for music is taking me on a whirlwind tour that began last week.

I saw two shows in Omaha. Yes, that was two separate trips. This weekend I am heading to Kanrocksas in Kansas City, and the week after that is Maha in Omaha.

Love has to come with some suffering, right? I think late-night drives home from Omaha and then work the next day counts as some sort of punishment. And if the heat doesn’t break in the coming weeks, these two upcoming festivals are going to be brutal, dehydrating affairs.

But who cares. The music will be awesome.

So let me give you a taste of what I’ve been (and will be) up to. If you love any of these bands or discover that you love them, drop me a note. That would be sweet of you. And it would be better than a phone call, because, like I said, the ears are ringing …


This epic run began Tuesday when I saw Blitzen Trapper at the Slowdown. How is Blitzen Trapper not huge? I have no idea. Their Southern rock by way of Portland, Ore., actually makes me like Southern rock — because let’s be honest, Southern rock is mostly lame.

On Sunday, I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Austra, which is like a hybrid of early Depeche Mode with Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. (You may remember Lisa better from “Gladiator” and quite a few other soundtracks.) Austra’s show reminded me of the films of Kenneth Anger, because it was like a magical incantation. The music is a bit otherworldly and lead singer Katie Stelmanis waves her arms all over the place while singing live, as if she’s summoning every note from another dimension. It was one of those experiences where I was completely in the moment and dumbstruck with happiness.

I was also excited to see the headliner, Cold Cave, who I feel pretty safe in assuming are influenced by such bands as The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order and other related goth/new wave bands. Bonus: I got to talk to the keyboardist, Dominick Fernow, for a bit — mostly about the return of “120 Minutes” to MTV2. Like I said, these guys have good taste. Oh yeah, and they like to play really, really loud. That would explain the ringing in my ears …

OK, this is getting longer than I anticipated. On second thought, I’ll look toward the future in a second post …

3 thoughts on “A Map Of My Musical Past

  1. No mention of the Afghan Whigs?? What the hell. I still listen to Disintegration once a week. Ween, before they were Ween, had a unreleased song called “I hate the Smiths” I think the band name had something to do with sheep. Its probably on youtube by now, and its been on my iPod since it inception. I am sure you have heard it, but just in case you havent…. I personally do not hate the Smiths or Steven Morrissey, but the song is funny. Check out Harper Blynn. Interesting group from NYC I believe. They also do a killer rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” during their live shows. Excellent video of it on youtube. I would give you the link, but I am at work and youtube is banned here.

    Till next time


  2. Man, that was a scattered post…. Here is a short list of my musical past if you care to know….
    some bands and albums I couldnt have lived thru the last 20 years without. (figuratively). I am sure I wouldnt have actually died, but I didnt chance it.

    no particular order
    1. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Its perfect from start to finish. No filler
    2. Janes Addiction – Ritual. The best parts of it have nothing at all to do with “Been Caught Stealin”
    3. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea – I got turned on to this long after its original release, but I still listen to it obsessively.
    4. Tripping Daisy/Polyphonic Spree
    5. The Cure – Robert Smith is a genius, and anyone that doesnt like them only feels that way because they havent taken the time to listen to those albums properly.
    6. Pixies/Superchunk/Sunny Day Real Estate/Husker Du/Jawbreaker/Fairweather/Fugazi
    7.Passion Pit – this one is a surprise for me. I thank Sirius XM U and Jake Fogelnest for this gem.
    8.Matt and Kim
    9. The Flaming Lips
    10. Radiohead – Greatest concert I have ever attended! GREATEST! – Bonnaroo 2006 – The crowd lost it during their encores, maybe it was the culmination of 3 days of constant sun and Busch Lite, but i am pretty sure it was the music

    this could go on Forever. So I will Stop

    • Nice list, Matt. I really need to go back to Neutral Milk Hotel. I own the CD but when I listened to it a long, long time ago, I didn’t get it. The random NMH tracks I’ve heard in the time since then have also failed to stick. But so many people that are into the same music as I am LOVE that album, that I feel like I’m missing out on something.
      I just saw the Flaming Lips live. What an amazing show.

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