We’re coming up on the band’s 15th birthday, so we went rummaging around the proverbial attic for some fun old stuff to share and grabbed a few delightful baubles before the attic-guarding Hellhounds of Memory started baring their drooling fangs in our general direction (oh, the drooling fangs) and we scampered back down the wobbly stair-ladder to safety and shut those yawping furballs back in the crawlspace where they belong. More to come when we figure out what kind of cartoon food product we might use in the future to distract the Hellhounds.
In the meantime, we found a small stack of posters from early gigs designed by Damian (see above) and one of Damian and Tim’s very first demos together, which we’ll let Damian explain. Download and listen below.
I just listened to this song for the first time in a decade, at least. I think I’d filed the memory if it away in the heavily populated mental bin Dumb Shit We Once Did Which Will Make Me Cringe So Avoid At All Costs. But it was actually really fun to listen to. It’s like time travel.
When the band first decided to be a band, Tim and I took a couple weeks off from our jobs and went to write songs in New Hampshire. I think we started six and finished three, of which this is one (although this is a studio recording from a few months later, not the original demo). It’s a direct response to the only other song we’d written together then, ‘Bye Bye Baby,’ which we’d written over spring break a few years before and was, tongue in cheek, about my childhood cat abandoning me for Hollywood stardom. (Which she may have done, or maybe she just died and we never found her.) Anyway, by that first real writing session, I’d just gotten my first dog, and realized I’m more of a dog person than a cat person, so we wrote the sequel: Fuck you, cat, and you know what, stay gone, you little snob.
Listening to it now, it’s like a snapshot of us trying to figure out who we were. The weird time signature was something we thought might be our sound. A bunch of early songs were in odd time signatures, or nearly uncountable rhythms like the weird beat in ‘Bruise Grey.’ That, and the sort of baroque structure (this happens, and then this happens, and then this other thing happens!) were how we dealt with our ambivalence about pop music. We felt, like all of the musicians we knew back then, that we needed to be boldly pushing boundaries, that simplicity and directness were for the simpleminded, and we wanted to make art. Except that we wanted it to be really fun and immediate, too. Hence the bubblegum-on-mushrooms vibe of the whole thing, and the reason we we still get described as “quirky,” which is what people say when something is fun but also weird.
Then there’s actually hearing my voice from more than a decade ago, which is a trip. How different, and how the same. And the lyrical voice, a person I haven’t been in so long, trying to be something I haven’t tried to be for a long time. That nerdy, bitchy, self-consciously articulate thing is a pretty direct reflection of how much I was obsessed with The Magnetic Fields and Morrissey. You can hear me trying to figure out what my voice was. And obviously we decided this wasn’t it, because, until now, we never shared the song with anyone.
Download “Oh, My Little Kitten” here. Sorry that the last few seconds get cut off. The Hellhounds must’ve been gnawing on it.