I was looking at the first inductees into the SD Hall of Fame and I noticed something -- Can, the Fall, Dylan, Velvets, etc. That's a pretty dude-heavy list. Nico or Beulah is the closest thing to a female that's been enshrined, so I was looking for a way to remedy that. But then I figured, "Meh." We'll get there eventually, but I figured we'd go with another album For Dudes, By Dudes this week.
Icky Mettle is the widely accepted masterpiece by Archers of Loaf, but I'll always prefer Vee Vee. While Icky will likely be enshrined here, and it does contain many "hit" singles ("Web in Front," "Wrong," "Plumbline"), Vee Vee is the album where every little sound makes you go, "Man, that right there is perfect!" A splendid job by Bob Weston, of course, but it's the guitar interplay between the Erics that what makes it really work. It's never really straightforward but it almost always rocks and as an added bonus about half the songs have lyrics about two of my favorite subjects: pot and your band sucking. I'll never get tired of those.
1. Harnessed In Slums -- Not just a defining song for the band, but for indie rock in general. If someone were to make me play the word association game and threw out "indie rock," there's a good chance I'd come back with "Harnessed In Slums." If that riff at the beginning of the song doesn't get you pumped every time, man, go listen to some Snow Patrol or something.
2. Underdogs of Nipomo -- And if the guitar fill toward the end of this song doesn't get you pumped, then, man, I don't know what you can listen to ... Keane, perhaps? Yeah, probably Keane. This song is in an eternal batter with "Unfair" by Pavement for best song with a lyrics about nachos.
3. Nevermind the Enemy -- My tastes are pretty obvious, I suppose. My favorites aren't the most straight up rockin' ones, and they aren't the mellower ones with open spaces. They are the shifty, propulsive ones where Eric Johnson plays some nifty riff on like the 14th-16th frets. I feel like one time when I saw them back in '96 I watched him the whole time and he was always playing at at least the 12th fret, the entire set. But I could have invented that whole memory. You should try it sometimes. It's often much better -- and almost always easier -- than actually remembering memories.
4. Let the Loser Melt -- A song like this is a reason why I like this album better than Icky. For the first minute or so it seems like it's going in three different directions, just when you think you've figured it out it zigs a slightly different way. It's always relatively catchy, though, which is what sets them apart from, I dunno, Povlo and such. (Insert ZR comment here.)
5. Fabricoh -- I sort of wanted to go with "Underachievers March and Fight Song," because it's a funny, goofy, wonderful little song and it made for a great Beavis & Butthead moment. But it hasn't aged especially well and it screws up your shuffle because of all that dead time. So "Fabricoh" wins out because sometimes you just need to rock the fuck out.
Worst Song -- Nostalgia
"1985" doesn't count since it's not really a song, and I suppose this one only has a few more seconds on it, and there's nothing especially wrong with it, but it's always struck me as the weakest of the "rock out" bunch, behind the above and "The Worst Has Yet to Come."
Can, Monster Movie
The Fall, Grotesque (After the Gramme)
Bob Dylan, Desire
Beulah, When Your Heartstrings Break
The Wedding Present, Watusi
The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico