May 30, 2000
THE LINER NOTES:
So it’s a reset on my social life. Carrie was out, and parties and heavy flirting were in. If this plan to stay friends with Carrie by preemptively breaking up with her was going to work, I figured I’d have to hook up with as many women as possible as quickly as possible. We had to move on from each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. That “love” bond that had been building needed to be broken. I was going to do this through meditation, visualization and making out with friends and strangers.
It was a weirdly awkward time. Not being able to talk to Carrie every day was abnormal by this time. I hated not having our regular Thursday Park Street meet-up for an evening of food, Friends, sex, and ER. (there was no better way to fill the 90-minute abyss between Friends and ER.) It was stranger still to suddenly be actively flirting with other women. With intent. Successfully. This was likely from the confidence boost that being with Carrie had instilled in me.
I went from very limited social interactions with the opposite sex, to a little bit more than very limited. I was able to keep this self-imposed break-up promise and actually see other people. Tim and I threw parties as often as our small paychecks could afford the alcohol. And at each, I was finding someone to end the night with. I owed it to Carrie, after all, and I was certain she was doing the same.
Mind you, not all of those nights actually ended between the sheets. That still wasn’t something I was entirely comfortable jumping into. Heavy petting, sure. Full on dipsy doodling, not so much. Timelines and hook-ups are all very blurred now, so many years on. There was at least one, perhaps two, that I was fortunate enough that have help me stay friends with my now ex-girlfriend. I retroactively thank them for their help. Because Carrie and I did, in fact, remain friends.
About four weeks into our separation, we reunited, Thursday-nighted it and kept it going until she was out of my life for real. Really, actually, undoubtedly, physically moved away.
THAT’S GREAT, BUT HOW’S THE MIX?:
- “Camp Hill Rail Operator” – Cotton Mather
- “Driftwood” – Travis
- “Earman” – Blinker the Star
- “Airline to Heaven” – Wilco
- “Hat and Feet” – Fountains of Wayne
- “Impossible” – The Charlatans
- “Army” – Ben Folds Five
- “Getting Better” – The Beatles
- “Slack Jaw” – The Bluetones
- “Naomi” – Neutral Milk Hotel
- “Melanie Davis” – Supergrass
- “Like You” – Kristen Hersh
- “Dogs Got a Bone” – The Beta Band
- “Yesterday Went Too Soon” – Feeder
- “Lewis (Mistreated)” – Radiohead
- “I Bet You They Won’t Play this Song on the Radio” – Monty Python
- “Dear Sally” – Ben and Jason
- “Wired On” – Echobelly
- “Center of Attention” – Guster
- “When I Argue I See Shapes” – Idlewild
- “Tree” – Sebadoh
- “Speech Bubble” – Longpigs
- “Losing Streak” – The Amazing Crowns
- “Soul Driver” – Ocean Colour Scene
- “Waster” – Gomez
- “I Know What I’m Here For” – James
- “Center of the Universe” – Built to Spill
- “The Elephant” – Dodgy
- “Pink Moon” – Nick Drake
- “One Way Road” – Oasis
- “Beautiful” -Shack
There are a lot of interesting layers to this mix tape. Let’s go back to middle school to start.
In eighth grade, in lieu of paying attention, I liked to doodle. Eventually, those doodle became recurring characters and those characters needed names. I used to draw this penguin character and I name him Galahad. (Actually, I think Jeff Blehar named him Galahad, but it stuck.) Through the years, other characters came and went, but Galahad stuck with me. His appearance and personality evolved, eventually becoming my little cartoon surrogate. I often used him to flirt with Melissa, my high school/college girlfriend. (Learn more about Melissa by reading this blog from the beginning).
Before meeting Carrie, I was still very much in touch with Melissa. I believed we were destined to be together, even if we were states apart and no longer dating. Like everyone else I knew, I was making her mixtapes. And one of those tapes was called Sgt. Galahad’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The cover of that mixtape was a hand-drawn homage to the Beatles’ album cover, with Galahad and other characters in place of that album’s iconic collage.
Or it was going to be. I never finished it. I eventually sent her the tape, but with an alternate cover. I may have even changed the name. But I kept the unfinished artwork and slowly added to it over time. I pulled it out to finish when I started putting this mix together– because this mix was going to be mega and it needed a mega cover.
This Sgt. Galahad’s was going to be a “best of” my collection so far. It’s all the hits.
I can’t recall where my record collection stood at this time. I’m guessing I had around 80 CD’s by now, or closer to 100. And I think this Sgt. Galahad’s does a decent job of collecting the best representative tracks from this era of me.
It opens with “Camp Hill Rail Operator,” off of Cotton Mather’s Kontiki, an album I felt like I alone discovered. It was one of those musical discoveries I never had in high school, where no one else I was around even knew the band existed. They were my secret treasure that I wanted to share with the entire world. And “Camp Hill Rail Operator” is a fine encapsulation of what their album is.
Full disclosure, I discovered Cotton Mather after Noel Gallagher told me to.
In fact, a lot of the bands represented here fall into the “more recent discoveries” category. The music of my youth and my earlier mixtapes– Huey Lewis, Harry Connick, Hetters to Cleo– have given way to new-to-me bands like Built to Spill, The Beta Band and The Bluetones. And my mixtapes were better for it. The Bluetones “Slack Jaw” gets highlighted again here, and the song continues to floor me. The Beta Band’s “Dogs Got a Bone” has been on the last five or six tapes– basically every tape I made since buying the album. I’m actually kind of tiring of it now. So here’s Guster instead.
This “best of” is also showing signs of my tastes taking a turn for the mellow. The just-mentioned “Dogs Got a Bone” has that mid-tempo groove. As does the earlier-embedded “Impossible” from the Charlatans. Elsewhere on the tape, Sebadoh’s “Tree” makes another zen-like appearance, while Fountains of Wayne lament a crushing surprise with “Hat and Feet.”
PLEASED TO MEET YOU:
But none are as solemn as Nick Drake.
I didn’t discover Nick Drake until Noel Gallagher told me… I mean, until Volkswagen told me to. As a sort of unwritten rule, I wasn’t going very far backwards in my record collecting. It was rare for me to pick up a decades old album. I was more excited to hear new bands (or new-ish bands), than to go back to try to pick through the classics. My focus was generally on next week’s releases, as discussed and graded in Q. But when I heard “Pink Moon” in that Cabrio commercial, I fell in love with it. I assumed it was new because it sounded so modern. Turns out the sound I was hearing would better be described as timeless.
WAIT. WHAT? WHY?:
There’s really not much to explain away on this mix, as I was consciously trying to fill it with the best tracks of my last year or so of collecting. Feeder’s “Yesterday Went Too Soon” stands out as the one band here that never really took hold. The album would soon be sold to an indie shop or CD Spins in order to have some extra cash to buy another album. But, yet again, Oasis gets the video clip here. Because if I’m making a “best of” tape that includes an Oasis track, it should never have been an Standing On the Shoulder of Giants-era track.
THE SUPER ULTRA MEGA SONG:
This wasn’t easy to decide.
The tape was designed to have some of my favorite songs from some of my favorite bands. As I listen in the car to and from work over the last couple weeks, each new song was going to be “the one.” Ben Folds Five’s “Army”? Yes, of course! “Center of the Universe” by Built to Spill? This is it! “Driftwood”? By Travis? Absolutely!!
But still, I settled on a not-so-obvious choice: “Melanie Davis” by Supergrass. This song might not stand out as quickly as the others, but it was a staple of this time in Boston for me. I’m sure it’s going to pop up on several more tapes in the near future. And sticking with the theme of discovery, I “found” this song as a B-side on one of the few Supergrass singles I purchased. Even among all these other great songs, I couldn’t imagine not having “Melanie Davis” on my Super Ultra Mega Mix.