Two Dollar Guitar best-of mix, part 1:

1. Everybody's In A Band (mp3)
2. Happy Guitar
3. Kilroy
4. Song For A Dead Friend (mp3)
5. Cascade
6. Path Train Blues
7. Interlude
8. Blood On The Plow
9. Canny
10. Conversation With Myself
11. Guilt
12. Black Star
13. Star Sixty
14. T-Shirt (mp3)
15. Twilight Limited
16. Stones Vs. Zep

Yesterday, I talked a bit about my Stylus piece on Smells Like Records, and posted some tracks from the label's releases. But I only mentioned in passing my favorite Smells Like band, Two Dollar Guitar, the band led by Tim Foljahn that featured Steve Shelley on drums and (usually) Dave Motamed on bass. Ten years ago when I was a teenager obsessed with Sonic Youth, I would rummage through the SY bin at stores and snap up whatever was in there, side projects, noise improv solo albums, whatever. And I bought Two Dollar Guitar's Burned And Buried without having any idea what it sounded like or even what the SY link was. And that just ended up being one of those random indie records that I fixated on at that age, even though it didn't really sound like SY or anything else I was listening to. Tim Foljahn just sings these morbidly funny and sometimes genuinely sad songs in a low, unpolished voice, and most of the other artists that I've since realized are probably comparable (like, I don't know, probably Nick Cave) never really grabbed me in the same way.

A couple years later, my first foray into making a website was a Two Dollar Guitar fansite. You have to remember, this is back in the 90's when a lot of bands didn't even have official sites, so this was maybe less geeky thing to do than it would be today, although still really geeky. And it's a thoroughly 90's webpage from my personal AOL account with very barebones design and primitive HTML and everything. The amazing thing is that even though I started this site almost 8 years ago, and probably haven't updated it in about 6, it's still there, which I guess is the sole benefit of keeping the same AOL account going all this time. I don't think I even would know how to take down or update the site if I wanted to at this point.

In the course of running the site, I exchanged a lot of e-mails with the SLR folks. And in October '99, by complete coincidence, Two Dollar Guitar ended up playing a show opening for Mike Watt in the tiny Delaware resort town where I lived. So I set up an interview before the show, and my brother and I got to interview Tim, Steve, and their bassist at the time, Janet. I thought about editing and reprinting the interview here on Narrowcast, but ultimately decided against it, partly because it's still there, and partly because it's pretty rambling and trivial, and pertains largely to the album that they released a few months later, and goes off on tangents about the lounge singer I used to work for as a soundman and a bunch of other random stuff. It's kind of a funny read, although I wouldn't necessarily reccomend that you bother with it, unless you care at all about TDG or at least Steve Shelley. There are a few pictures of the band and me with the band, if you have any interest in seeing a 17-year-old version of me, thinner and with more hair, standing next to some of my musical heroes.

The album that Two Dollar Guitar released a few months later, Weak Beats And Lame-Ass Rhymes, has some of their best stuff, and I saw them live a couple more times after it was released. But that was about 6 years ago, and there's been barely any activity from the band since. Tim has played a few solo shows in New York since then, and in 2003 he played a show in Baltimore and I got to catch up with him a little bit and hear the new songs he was working on, including a really promising one based around the guitar line from "Cascade," from the Train Songs instrumental album. But it's been 2 and a half years since then and no other hint of a new album yet, so I'm not holding my breath, although I would be the first in line to buy it.

I just kinda threw this mix together, and I mainly call it Part 1 because I wasn't able to include a lot of stuff I'd like to have. Ideally I'd include stuff from their 7"s (the b-side "Music Don't Matter" is easily one of my all-time favorite TDG tracks), Tim's bizarre cassette-only releases on Old Gold Records, and the Weak Beats-era Insound tour support EP, which has some great covers and originals on it, but is all packed into 2 long tracks and isn't really usable for a mix CD. So someday if I can split up the tracks on that CD and digitize the other stuff, there'll be a part 2. Plus, their songs are generally pretty long, so I definitely can't fit all my favorites on one disc. This band has pretty limited appeal and I don't really expect them to cast the same spell on anyone else that they did for me, but I'm still gonna keep throwing the stuff I love out into the ether of cyberspace, like I've been doing since I was 16.

Labels: , ,

« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Post a Comment