This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Three hours of sleep, and four spent being a creep" - Algebra One

It's sometimes funny how the art that ends up touching your life in profound ways comes to you in odd or unexpected ways. I didn't think I'd end up finding The Anthem of the Summer of 1999 on some cheap little comp.

The original Take Action! comp was one of the endless sub-$4 punk comps that I bought in junior high and high school because I was eternally broke and was purchased mostly because it had songs from a lot of bands I was listening to at the time, like Against All Authority, Falling Sickness, Dillinger Four, FYP, Funeral Oration, Scared of Chaka, and Fifteen. In retrospect it was probably the best of the infinite budget punk comps from the 90's (sweet god, it seemed like Hopeless and Epitaph were putting them out like every other week, dinnit?), but at the time it was mostly a way for me to have an hour of music for $3. The centerpiece of the whole CD was an almost-six minute song called "Fireball" by a group I had never heard of called Algebra One that alternated between cathartic howls and romantic defeatism. My profound attachment to this song is almost certainly entwined with the fact that the summer of 1999 was also The Summer I Was Madly in Love With Carleigh Jacobsen. Listen to the song and you can pretty much figure out why the two are bonded together.

For years I didn't know a single thing about the band. I didn't know if they recorded anything beyond "Fireball." All I had was the song. I've since learned that they were from Blacksburg, VA, and recorded about 20-some songs, all released by Delmar Records. Of their releases (which I've since heard, thanks to the wonders of the internet), the only one really worth listening to was the "Keep Tryst" EP (which contained "Fireball"). Earn Your Halo doesn't do it for me, and the Jawbox-influenced "Conscious Pilot" EP has it's moments, but it doesn't really click.

Has hearing these albums for the first time after years of wondering ruined the magic? I'd like to say so 'cause I'm a rat bastard cynic, but "Fireball" still stands as one of the best songs of the 90's, regardless of genre. I love everything about it, from the tempo shifts to the drop-outs to the way they fuck up at about 4:11 to the pained, utterly sincere vocal delivery. It jumps back and forth between puppy-dog romance idealism and cynicism-laced reality checks in the same way my 15-year-old brain did in the endless clash between fact and daydream.

I don't expect you to understand.

4 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

While completely unrelated to this post, I was watching a British show today in which they were playing a Pipettes song during a bar fight.

3:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, great blog. A friend and I were reminiscing the other day about Algebra One. Neither of us can find copies of our old "Halo" records. Do you know where you can find them? Your blog is one of the only returns we get when searching online. My e-mail address is Promisearc@aol.com. My name is Brian. Thanks again for the blog.

2:27 AM

 
Blogger xdrewfacex said...

give "earn your halo" more of a chance, it's an amazing album. initially it doesn't have the same amount of intrigue as "keep tryst", but once you get to know the songs, you find that they have an equal level of sincerity to them that is hard to find elsewhere.

i just found out about the conscious pilot ep today, after years of listening to algebra one. i actually saw them live back in my middle school days with fun size in richmond. amazing show.

11:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their songs are around the Internet. Bandcamp has a good collection

10:00 PM

 

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