Hi. I’m Andrea, your go-to gal for the hopelessly weird, angular, or just plain obscure: your post-punk, your New Wave, your Yé-Yé. Favorite band: Throwing Muses, with Leicestrian post-punk Dadaists Prolapse running a close second.
I’m rather omnivorous in my music tastes, which run the gamut from sugar-coated pop to abstract noise.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Long ago and far away, I listened to music casually, even lazily, content as I was with devoting my Sunday afternoons to Top 40 MOR and the occasional foray into MTV’s Top 40 video countdown. The first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money was Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the second was probably something by Whitney Houston.
But I didn’t care all that much, really. I was more into drawing comics and writing stories than crafting little soundtracks to my day and scouring record bins for lost, sadly unloved music.
The turning point was a day I remember vividly. I happened to catch the videos for the Cure’s “Hot Hot Hot” and Siouxsie’s “The Passenger” (actually a Jimmy Osterberg tune, but give me a break —I was practically an empty vessel at the time) on some local video show.
I had the foresight to tape the songs, using my trusty brick-sized, top-loading Sony cassette recorder. I was hooked. A week later I swiped some New Order (“Bizarre Love Triangle”) and an anti-vivisection duet between Lene Lovich and Nina Hagen (don’t ask).
My interest in music slowly started to build, slowly but surely, until the day I became…
(Deep breath, okay?)
A music obsessive.
There, I said it. It seems like a slightly distasteful, furtive thing. ‘Cause I’m a girl, y’see. And music obsessiveness —no matter how many girls wear their hearts on their vinyl sleeves— remains tainted by an inward-looking, arrested-adolescent, trainspottery, resolutely BOY aura. Think comic books in mylar bags, alphabetized vinyl and arguments about whose solos were better, Jimmy or Jimi’s.
But I don’t care about being a scenester, or winnowing my way into the cool crowd. Or having “cred” (indie-rock or otherwise). Whatever. Music, for me, is all about the thrill of discovery, about finding something wonderful that’s been overlooked, ignored, or is in desperate need of re-evaluation and/or rediscovery. And I just happen to love sharing my little discoveries with people.
If you asked me about my personal Top Fives (a la High Fidelity), or the most influential albums in my life, I might be hard-pressed to tell you. It’s not so easily quantifiable. But I could pinpoint exactly how I was feeling the day I first heard “Rabbit’s Dying,” or Lora Logic’s saxophone squall on an X Ray Spex live bootleg I chanced upon in ninth grade. Or how finding Danielle Dax’s supremely, sublimely weird Jesus Egg That Wept opened up yet another frontier of music to me: musical iconoclasts heavily influenced by psych-folk and LSD who took a wrong turn somewhere and hewed to the path anyway. (See also: Mayo Thompson, David Thomas, Epic Soundtracks, Throbbing Gristle and offshoots, etc.)
I could tell you why these songs made me fall dizzily, instantly in love. But I was promiscuous, you see, because every day I went out there looking for new songs to fall in love with, and soon I had hundreds, thousands —vinyl and 7”s and cassettes with tape hiss and crowd noise but I didn’t care, oh no. I loved them all equally well. Still do.
My next folly was to try and write about the music I love.
What’s the famous quote? “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”?
Trying to encapsulate that familiar, giddy rush good music can evoke is nearly impossible. The feelings themselves are ephemeral, elusive, dissipating as soon as the needle lifts off the record. Understanding why a particular song moves us is an equally daunting, Sisyphean task.
It might be foolhardy, it might even be impossible, but we’re going to try.
Most importantly, we want you to participate. Argue with us. Share your favorite songs. Let your voice be heard.