Frankie - TV Girl - Who Really Cares - (2016)
I’m going to begin this triumphant return of From the Vinyl Vault with a piece of advice: Never turn down free concert tickets! In October 2017, before I moved to Columbus, my best friend Hannah invited me to a show with her and her incredibly cool dad, Eddie B., at one of my favorite venues in Columbus: Ace of Cups. Hannah had previously seen the band with her sibling Abe in New York City and promised I would absolutely adore them. I hardly listened before the show and let the surprise of the music wash over me, and I’ve been listening nearly non-stop since.
TV Girl is a three-piece indie synth-pop band hailing from the “land of constant sunshine” also known as San Diego, California. The boys have three studio albums out currently, and I promise I’ll get to all of them, but I wanted to start off with my favorite of the three, their second album Who Really Cares, released in 2016. The album begins with the song “Taking What’s Not Yours” which is a prime example of how front man and lyricist Brad Petering can take cringe-y yet mundane interactions with short-term lovers and turns them into a nuanced ballad about things left behind after a break up. He refers to a stale pack of cigarettes left behind by a girl as “a dry and worthless monument to our love” and even mentions a few of his own things left behind to girls such as rings she’s probably been wearing and “Gravity’s Rainbow” a book she will probably never read (it’s impossible to read don’t get me started…).
One of my absolute favorite songs on the album is “Song About Me,” a confrontation about someone turning hurt feelings into a publicly humiliating piece of art. Lets just say, it’s not always a good thing to have a song written about you. TV Girl is joined on this track by their friend Madison Acid, a audiovisual artist also hailing from the west coast, and who directed the music video for “Taking What’s Not Yours.” Maddie Acid’s spoken word poem is EVERYTHING to me, and is so full of polite vim and vinegar that it inspires me to be more poised in confrontational settings.
“(Do The) Act Like You Never Met Me” is another favorite of mine from this album: it’s a play on all those corny line dance songs we have all danced to at school dances and weddings. It’s easy, it’s like the electric slide, but instead you’re ignoring someone in public that you used to be intimate with:
“Slide to the left/ Now slide to the right/ Now tell me once again/ How I was a really great guy/ Dip to right/ Shimmy to the left/ It's 3 o'clock in the morning/ Don't answer my texts/ Take a step back and/ Take a couple more/ Now one more sorry look/ Before you walk out that door/ Arch your back/ When you spend the night with him/ Bounce around a while/ Never talk to me again/ That's how you do the act like you never met me.”
One more song off this album that I absolutely adore is “Heaven Is a Bedroom.” Probably the least sarcastic and venomous song off the album, it’s a love letter and an apology wrapped up together with a goodbye, and on its very sweet note, they close the album.
I’ve seen TV Girl at Ace of Cups twice now and finally got my hands on all three albums on vinyl. I recommend catching a show of their if they are ever in your area, the energy is really amazing and they band members are all very humble and sweet and would love if you bought them an IPA, but not until after the show. My pressing is blue with black splatter, a 2018 tour exclusive repress, but the album is still available for free download at TV Girl’s Bandcamp and on all streaming services!
Michael - Dinosaur Jr. - Without a Sound (1994)
I've been on a Dinosaur Jr. kick lately with my entries in this space. Perhaps because I just really want you to listen to them, and if you already do, well great job! Without a Sound contains perhaps the most well known Dinosaur Jr. song in "Feel the Pain", it's absolutely fantastic and is also unlike so much of their other work. The album overall contains what you expect from Dinosaur Jr., ripping signature J. Mascis guitar solos and fantastic rhythms. While this album doesn't feature Lou or Murph as they had departed the band at this point, we know that the entirety of the music was written by Mascis himself. Though he was quoted as saying he had difficulty writing the album because his father had passed away around the time he wrote it.
This song features some dynamic work from Dinosaur Jr.. I'd of course recommend "Feel the Pain", it's a mainstay in the Dinosaur Jr. catalog. I would also recommend "I Don't Think So", it shows off Dinosaur Jr.'s ability to rock while simultaneously being extremely melodic (something for which they do not get enough credit). "Mind Glow" is another great one that is definitely worth your time, it's a bit of a slower track. Finally, you have to check out "Over Your Shoulder" (more on this song later).
The album also features an acoustic track that is reminiscent of Mascis' solo work in "Outta Hand". It's an absolutely beautiful track that has always stuck out as a favorite of mine. The album has seen some recent attention, in February 2019, "Over Your Shoulder" unexpectedly charted at #18 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 based on streaming. This was 25 years after the album's original release date. I've said this before and I'll say it again, if you haven't