I hope everyone has had a good holiday weekend (if you’re here in the US) or a good weekend and Monday generally (no matter where you are). I have been aggressively decompressing from the school year by reminding myself frequently that I don’t have any school work to do right now and also forcing myself to sit on the couch and play Wordscapes on my phone for extended periods of time while silently repeating the mantra that I am not wasting time because there are no more papers to grade or lessons to plan for this week.
I also want to acknowledge the sacrifices of our military and express my appreciation for them. Being in the service is another underappreciated and deeply necessary career, and I send my gratitude and best wishes to all our service members, past and present and future.
It is also, after all, a Monday, and I really like this song. It’s not really related to the holiday, but that’s okay, too. The musical style goes with a mellow kind of day, and it comes from an underrated but absolutely excellent album.
I know it’s Tuesday. I was grading and then after that putting together issue 2 of Sonic Chihuahua (due out mid-June). Pretend it’s Monday. Enjoy your do-over day and then enjoy this delightful music. Dance, even. (I’m such a fan of this band.)
Is there a more iconic 90s-era one-hit wonder than “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger? It’s possible there is, but it’s not coming to mind at the moment. And the reason why? Because this song has been stuck in my head for a while now.
Recently I teased a note on here that I was working on a new project but couldn’t say anything about it yet. Well, that project has come to fruition in the last few days.
Back in the early 90s, I and a couple of my friends from high school, named Alli and Lauren, made a zine called The Sonic Chihuahua. We published it for one summer, three issues. I wish I still had them. I wrote articles and printed them out on my mom’s dot-matrix printer and then taped them onto plain paper and Xeroxed the zine on the copy machine at my family’s grocery store. I don’t remember a whole lot about the content of each issue, but I do recall that in our first or second one I wrote a review of Nirvana’s first album — not Nevermind, which was pretty hot at the time, but Bleach, which might have been a demo. I’d gotten a bootleg cassette of it and went to town with my hot take. We also had a regular column called “EAT THIS” that featured recipes. I remember Alli and Lauren made some great doodle illustrations for the margins.
But come August, I was going off to college and my friends were going back to high school, and I was getting antsy that they might get in trouble at school for doing something so edgy and underground. (That was the kind of school we went to back then.) So I wanted to stop the project because I was worried about them. They were not worried at all and didn’t want it to end, but I pulled out of the project, and it died.
I have always regretted that: my anxiety for them and my unwillingness to risk.
Well, for the last couple-few years I’ve been thinking about The Sonic Chihuahua and wishing I’d kept up with it and wondering whether I should revive it. And to make a long story short, several things have happened in this last month that, frankly, have assembled themselves into a giant Magic-8 Ball telling me, “All signs point to Yes.”
So. Twenty-nine or so years later, Sonic Chihuahua is back, better than ever. My Friday-night decompression the last few weeks has been putting this zine together. I’m going to try and do an issue each month. It fills a creative need I have and has also catapulted me out of a..let’s call it a malaise. Maybe at some point the new Sonic Chihuahua will find its way to Alli and Lauren and I’ll be back in touch with them. That would be serendipitous, I think.
Anyway, time for this week’s earworm — which is late because today was the last day of classes and I’m preparing for final exams (and because yesterday I spent some time on zine distribution). The lyric “I wanna publish zines and rage against machines” has been stuck in my head since I first decided the zine was going to come back. And I went back and looked up the lyric and found the title and band name (which had been lost to my memory). And I really paid attention to the song this time and realized that the lyrics are actually pretty funny, mildly clever, and a refreshing change from the lowest common denominator of pop music we sometimes get with two and a half verses of mostly repetitive and mostly uninspired words.
Anyway. Enjoy this bit of nostalgia. (And if you want a copy of the zine, send me an email to SonicChihuahuaZine@gmail.com. I’ll mail you one.)
I couldn’t help myself so went to the Monks of Doom website and found some video clips of their performances. Do not ask me why I induged this curiosity, for I cannot explain why I could not leave well enough alone.
BUT! One of their songs was unusually compelling. Here it is for you tonight.
In other news, I’ve been working on a new project which I think some of you will love. I can’t tell you about it quite yet, but I promise I will. More on that later. Soon, actually. Before the semester ends… Stay tuned!
When I was a sophomore in college, “Flip Fantasia” came out and became basically one of my favorite songs. I’m not sure it’s ever fallen off my Top 10 list.
Toward the end of the semester, the Honors College was having its annual dance — a bunch of college kids in the basement of the library dancing in dim lighting, etc. etc. etc. — and one of the upperclassmen on the periphery of my social circle was DJing. We had all brought our own CDs for him to play tracks from and could give requests. I brought this one and asked him to play it.
He grimaced. “You can’t dance to that.” Oh, his dismissiveness.
I thought, What? Are we going to have another four tracks of Devo? (Not that Devo isn’t awesome.)
“Come on, just play it,” I said. “This is totally danceable.”
He wasn’t into it, and I had to wait a long time to hear it, but eventually he did play it. And lots of people danced.