Thank you for reading and subscribing. If you haven’t considered becoming a paid subscriber, you can find out more about what that means here. I bring this up only because the more of you that subscribe right now, the less chance there is that I will lose a lot of money if the USPS kicks the bucket. 😅 I’m excited that a part of the newsletter now means physically sending you things, but the affordability of that 100% depends on media mail still existing this fall. Thank you!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote what I thought was as far into the ‘00s music nostalgia hole as I was going to go. But then Worriers’ was invited to cover a song from that decade for Stereogum, for a Zoom party as part of their benefit series to save the website.
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I kinda love playing covers and jump at the chance to do cover bands that are challenging to say the least. Sleater Kinney for Anti-Valentines Day? Absolutely. Fleetwood Mac at the Fest? Sign me up. The Weakerthans at 3 am in Gainesville? Sounds good! It brings me pure joy.
For this particular cover, I chose a song that is one of my all-time favorites, which I consider to be a classic. I’m not going to tell you which one it is, because that takes all the fun out of that surprise for the livestream. What I AM going to do is create a personal distraction from our crumbling democracy and talk about a few other songs I thought about covering for this, but didn’t.
1. Bloc Party - This Modern Love (2005)
Bloc Party’s 2005 record Silent Alarm is a favorite that I sometimes forget about, only to get far too excited when the drums kick in on the first track, Like Eating Glass. The whole record is the perfect blend of angry and bittersweet that was some perfect angst when you’re barely old enough to drink. This Modern Love is the pleading song to your crush that I still love 15 years later. I think it was common knowledge for a while, but I didn’t find out that singer Kele Okereke was queer until years after this record came out and while I don’t think that’s a huge part of the band’s identity, I think it’s an important standout in the sea of straight white indie rock.
2. The Shins - New Slang (2001)
This one would’ve likely already been taken anyway, but I’m not going to pretend I don’t love it or that it wasn’t one of the first guitar solos I ever taught myself. New Slang is, to me, THE indie song from the ’00s. It’s Garden State’s fault, but there’s a whole other layer for me that I want to share and it’s infuriating.
A year after Oh, Inverted World was released, the boy I was dating at the time played the album for me. We were sitting in his attic apartment in New Jersey, surrounded by wood paneling when he told me that there was one stand-out song on the record that he thought I would really like. He wanted me to guess which one. When New Slang came around, I immediately thought it was that song, and of course, it was. I am not making this up.
Cut to two years later when Garden State came out, we had very much broken up by then, and I’m alone in a movie theater watching fucking Zach Braff tell Natalie Portman that she had to listen to this one song. And thus a generation of 20-somethings had a new cheeseball date move and also loved The Shins. Watching that movie for the first time was like having something stolen from me while taking an ice pick to my slightly still heartbroken self. Thanks, Zach.
3. Tegan and Sara - You Wouldn’t Like Me (2004)
Somewhere on my phone, there’s a video of a Tegan and Sara livingroom covers show that definitely involved at least myself, Angie Boylan and Katie Crutchfield. As far as I can remember it happened on an afternoon for no other reason than because we all felt like it. Tegan and Sara’s records The Con and So Jealous were outliers in my fandom back then, but seeing them at Terminal 5 was one of the only rock shows (I was going to say outside of DIY shows, but honestly, including DIY shows) where I felt 100% comfortable. And there were thousands of people there.
4. The Reigning Sound - If You Can’t Give Me Everything (2004)
The ‘00s were the decade where it felt like at least once a year I was front row watching The Reigning Sound at a bar in Brooklyn. The same goes for that Maxwell’s show where they recorded their live record and I interviewed bandleader Greg Cartwright for my college radio show. I’m sure the interview was horrible, but that show was amazing. Worriers was actually formed (with entirely different bandmates) on our mutual love of this band. We covered their song Bad Man once at Death By Audio (RIP) and I think I’m just gonna leave it there.
5. Alkaline Trio - Jaked on Green Beers (2007)
Nothing says bad breakup like “It’s been a long time since I’ve been close to you, it’s been a long time since I’ve been sad.” From what I’ve heard this song is actually about breaking up with alcohol (Green Beers being Heinecken?) but it still works for the person you hope you never see again. This song definitely encapsulates my love of fast-yet-singable punk rock. My next choice would’ve been something off of Kid Dynamite Cheap Shots Youth Anthems but I don’t think anyone wants me to attempt Shevchuk style vocals, nor do I think the livestream viewers really want classic basement melodic hardcore.
The exact date for the Stereogum livestream is TBA in mid-September but you can go sign up for VIP access to the Zoom party here. Have a great weekend everyone. Go buy some stamps and wear a mask!