July 23, 2010

Sixpence None the Richer- Strange Conversation

My Dear Machine EP; free on Noisetrade in 2008
I just discovered an extremely informative interview with Matt Slocum and Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer. You can read it here. It is by far the best and most concrete info you are going to find about their new album, Strange Conversation, online. Matt is also more outspoken than he has ever been about their music. There is no mention of a release date, although some places online state August 24. I would say that is doubtful, but you should expect to have it in your hands by the end of 2010. More about this album from Billboard.

UPDATE (July 24, 2012). I posted this exactly two years ago. It is far and away the most viewed post on my blog in the 10 years my blog has existed. I have no idea why, because there is so little content. If you want more info regarding this album, which has since been re-titled "Lost in Transition", I encourage you to read the open letter to the band I wrote a couple months ago.

UPDATE (May 3, 2015). This is still far and away the most-viewed post in the history of my blog. I fear the interview it links to is going to disappear, so I am copying and pasting it into this post. Also, read my in-depth oral history of This Beautiful Mess that I published on it's 20th Anniversary, April 18, 2015. It features 8 interviews, including the 5 members of the band in 1995.


Sixpence None the Richer’s “This Beautiful Mess” turns 20

From the Ken Phillips Publicity Group website (July 2010):
“It feels like we have some records left in us. Perhaps we aren’t quite done yet.” Matt Slocum, principal songwriter and founder of Sixpence None the Richer, one of the most successful pop acts of the last decade, is sitting at the kitchen table in his East Nashville home. He is contemplating the return of the band he and his musical partner Leigh Nash shuttered over six years ago. Nash, sitting just across the table, immediately agrees and adds her own punctuation. “The only reason you’d want to get back into it is if you felt you had something to say.”

In 1992 Matt Slocum and Leigh Nash started their musical journey in their home town of New Braunfels, Texas. Inspired by the great author C.S. Lewis and his classic book, Mere Christianity, Slocum dubbed the project Sixpence None the Richer. Additional musicians were gathered. Low budget, but spirited records were assembled, and a small, devoted cadre of fans began to discover this graceful, dynamic and eloquent little band. A few hundred concerts and a few band members later Sixpence landed a deal with Nashville label Squint Entertainment, an imprint of Warner Brothers. Their 1997 self-titled album came, almost literally, out of nowhere to earn a Grammy nomination, a Dove Award and widespread critical acclaim, as its lead single “Kiss Me” dominated radio charts, reaching the #1 spot in ten countries and achieving absolute ubiquity in the US. From church basements and white cargo vans to David Letterman, MTV and the top of the Billboard charts in a short six years. It’s the kind of long slow overnight success that kills most artists. Sixpence was no exception. In 2004, after scoring three additional radio hits and having their songs land in major films and ad campaigns, Slocum and Nash packed up the tent and shut down the show.

“It’s pretty simple,” Slocum explains. “We needed a break.” Their musical adventure had started as a quest to make meaningful music that contemplated life in a broken world through the lens of faith, in a language accessible to all. Once the world discovered their little song, though, the gig changed. Constant touring and promoting singles left them frustrated and sent their personal lives into disarray. “The time that we have actually spent music-making has been relatively little compared to the time we’ve been at this,” Slocum emphasizes. “A lot of our time was spent being a pop band on a major label trying to ‘break’ a single. In the span of thirteen years we have just four albums. Would it have been cooler to have made an album every year and keep growing? We didn’t even get to do that much of what we set out to do in the first place. It just blew up into this thing.”

Slocum started a new progressive pop group called The Astronaut Pushers and became a sought after cellist in the Nashville music scene. Nash began a solo career and focused on developing her songwriting skills with some of the biggest names in the business. Though the repercussions of their foray into the pop stratosphere included significant personal pain and brokenness, in time real life came back into focus. Then in 2007 Slocum started thinking that maybe it was time to dip his toe back into the water. “Maybe we should have called it a hiatus instead of just breaking up,” he says.

Towards the end of an extended honeymoon in Europe Slocum called Nash to see how she might feel about trying to re-start the engines. She was very receptive. “Putting out a solo record made me miss every part of being in a band – being in this band,” she admits. When Slocum returned from Europe the two met and decided to attempt a re-start of the band. This time, though, things would be different. Soon after that meeting Sixpence was invited to head out on a tour promoting Bono’s One Campaign. “We thought it would be really cool to do that tour,” Slocum explains. “We definitely wanted to have some new music for it, so we went into the studio really quickly and recorded an independent EP with producer Daniel Tashian.” Though the tour ended up falling through, it had very quickly motivated the two to ramp the band back up. They re-connected with long-time bassist Justin Cary and discovered some new musicians in Nashville, namely drummer Will Sayles and pianist Cason Cooley. “We’ve been re-learning the process over the last two years,” he adds. “Putting a great band together and writing new songs. I think we needed these two years to know what we wanted to do.”

After the digital release of their independent EP, My Dear Machine, the band started to perform live, both around Nashville and at festivals, and on small tours around the world. They followed with 2008’s independently released Christmas LP The Dawn of Grace.
After months of writing, Slocum and Nash spent a considerable amount of time considering who they would tap to produce the new record. “We really stressed out about the producer,” Slocum admits, “because we knew it was such a crucial decision. We knew that we needed somebody that would really take the reigns and push us… to not let us fall into what we would just sort of naturally do. We wanted to pick somebody we could really trust.” On their dream list was the legendary Jim Scott, the much celebrated genius behind Wilco’s albums, a favorite of both Slocum and Nash, as well as many of the most important records of the last 30 years. “I knew Jim Scott,” Slocum says, “but I had no idea how many records he had worked on. It turns out his discography was pretty much my listening experience from about sixth grade on.” Names like Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Cracker and a few more obscure faith-fueled artists that influenced Slocum early on, like Tonio K. and Vigilantes of Love rocketed Scott to the top of their list. They met, and Jim enthusiastically agreed to produce the album.

The band road-tripped from Nashville to Los Angeles to make the record, and enjoyed every minute of it. From Scott’s state-of-the-art equipment and engineering prowess, to the hyper-creative and consistently laid-back ambience of his space, Slocum and Nash crawled down the creative rabbit hole with great abandon. “The vision for this record, from the beginning, was to capture great band performances and to get Leigh’s voice properly recorded and positioned in each song,” Slocum explains. “Most of our records have been very heavily orchestrated. There was just so much stuff on there. Jim was very enthusiastic and encouraging about our past work, but he said that a lot of what we had done sounded like music with singing on top of it. I thought that assessment was right on.”

Slocum and Nash showed up at the studio committed to the band they had been playing with for two years. Half of the songs they brought had been developed on the road in front of live audiences, and half were simple acoustic demos. Scott and the band took the arrangements and deconstructed them together, re-building them in the studio. “I felt like I was in production school,” Slocum explains. “We played a lot less on this record, but got better performances. It was a very inspiring environment sonically.”

Nash enjoyed the experience so much, she didn’t want it to end. “If things ever got tense or frustrated we just took a break,” she adds. “And the way they built the tracks around my vocals was just wonderful. We’ve never done it that way. And every instrumental track is so tasty. There are no wasted parts.” On her last day of recording, she literally broke down. “When we left on the last night we were driving away and I completely lost it. I was bawling like a baby. I love him. He’s amazing.” In the end both Slocum and Nash agree that Jim Scott not only captured their best performances, he helped them re-connect with what they love most about making music.

The resulting tracks unfold as pure Sixpence; melancholy mixed with romance; pain wrapped up in grace. Themes of brokenness, confusion and failure amble around encouraging words and pleas for mercy. The opening song, “Radio,” captures a perfectly catchy pop melody as it tells the story of an estranged couple hearing “their song” on the radio and processing the flood of memories the tune elicits. “I think everyone can relate to that situation,” Slocum says, “but that probably won’t happen too much anymore. Radio doesn’t have the same kind of impact it once had. Everyone has their own little world going on.” Between its nostalgia and its beautiful sadness, “Radio” has all the makings of a hit.

On “Give It Back” the singer pleads with God to restore what once was. “If you’ll blow on the ember, the light will shine on my face, the streams will run in the desert, and sing Amazing Grace.” Slocum admits that the sentiment is personal and not abstract. “It’s a plea with God saying ‘I used to have this thing that you blessed me with and it’s gone away by your choice or whoever’s choice and I’d like to get it back.’” The prayer seems to be answered as the rest of the songs unfold. Never has Sixpence sounded this confident, elegant or poised.

Slocum admits that he is more a fan of Nash’s songwriting than ever. “I really loved Leigh’s solo record,” he says. “I thought she did a great job. It felt like her writing skills had really blossomed in that process.” Nash contributes more songs to this collection than she ever did on any of the band’s previous efforts. The shimmering but sad “Go Your Way” explores the somewhat disturbing idea that a particular couple can decide to stay together or walk away. “Should Not Be This Hard” articulates a frustrated observation about the difficulty of human relationships, and “Sooner Than Later” observes a failed relationship through eyes of grace. All told Nash wrote on half of the album’s tracks.

With some songs by Slocum (with various co-writers,) and some by Nash, they seem to create a dialog amongst themselves; one that is directly related to the personal struggles Nash and Slocum have observed in their own and each others’ lives over recent years. That is the thread they noticed when they arrived at the album’s interesting title, Strange Conversation. “We wrote completely separately from each other,” he explains, “but the songs started having these conversations with each other.”


Nash adds, “If they seem simpler and more laid back it’s probably where we are in our lives. We wanted to make a record that wasn’t complicated. We wanted great songs recorded very well. I think we have achieved that.”

Starflyer 59 at the Crush Warehouse in 1995


sf59crush199502, originally uploaded by drenchedecent.

July 22, 2010

Rare Prayer Chain now on Bandcamp

<a href="http://theprayerchain.bandcamp.com/album/mercurious">Jeffrey by The Prayer Chain</a>

<a href="http://theprayerchain.bandcamp.com/album/neverland-sessions">Mercy by The Prayer Chain</a>

July 16, 2010

Jerry's Records, Pittsburgh

I visited Jerry's Records in Pittsburgh yesterday, apparently one of the famous record stores in the nation (named on of Paste's top 17 last year). Literally millions of vinyl records and no CDs. Jerry himself was present, and the store is practically a warehouse of vinyl. There were numerous magazine and newspaper articles tapes to the walls about the store. Records are stacked floor to ceiling, rows and rows and rows. Some of the records are sorted like you typically see in stores, but there are so many that the majority of the store is organized library style. There are tons of random boxes sitting everywhere, but most of the store is highly organized. To give you a picture of how big the place is, Jerry left at 4:00 and said this to one of his employees: "Make sure you turn off all the furnaces and make sure you don't lock anyone in."

I spent over two hours in there and didn't begin to look at everything. Honestly the first 10-15 minutes I was just trying to get my head around the mazes of shelves and sections. Sections included rock, alternative (not sure how or why this was separate from rock), soul, R&B, country, bluegrass, jazz, techno, gospel, contemporary Christian, etc. I spent most of my time in the CCM section, and it took me over an hour to look at every title in that category. I found some gems- some for me, some for a friend, and some to sell. If you are interested in anything let me know in the comments otherwise you are going to see the LPs on eBay.

For $60 I got 18 records:
Fleetwood Mac- Rumours
The Hester Family- Country Gospel
The Simple Truth- Ain't Jesus Good
Disney's The Jungle Book- Soundtrack
Leslie Phillips- The Turning
Lifesavors- Dreamlife (2 copies, one still sealed. Mike Knott's debut, and yes I did spell it correctly)
Steve Taylor- On the Fritz (2 copies, one still-sealed and one an import)
Steve Taylor- Meltdown (import)
Steve Taylor- I Want to be a Clone
Steve Taylor- I Predict 1990
Youth Choir- Voices in Shadows (still-sealed, if you don't know this is The Choir's debut before they changed their name)
Daniel Amos- Vox Humana
Daniel Amos- The Alarma Chronicles volume 1
Altar Boys- Gut Level Music
Altar Boys- When You're a Rebel (still-sealed)
Altar Boys- Against the Grain

July 9, 2010

Best of 1996

On February 1, 2017 I revised this list with the revelation that Mineral's 'Power of Failing' was released on both CD and vinyl in February of 1996. More on that below, but most of the text here was written in 2010. The 2010 list was only a top-10, and those were moved down to 2-11. 12-20 are new additions, but many were moved up from the "notable" section. Updates will be in italics.

**own on vinyl
*available on vinyl

Top 20 Albums of 1996:

1. Mineral- The Power of Failing**
The debut album from this short-lived yet highly-influential band. I saw them in a hole-in-the-wall club in Birmingham back in 1997 and heard them play most of the album live; I would give anything for a video of that show- FOUND!. Lyrically possibly my favorite album of all time. I used to have a silly daydream about the Gloria Record re-recording this album in a style similar to their Start Here. In 2010 a Japanese label put out a remastered version of this album packaged with Mineral's second release EndSerenading called the Complete Collection. Most notably this new 2-CD set includes a handful of 7" tracks that had previously been unavailable in any other form besides vinyl. 2015 update: Both Mineral albums were re-released on vinyl and CD with tons of bonus tracks! And I was able to see them perform in Milan, Italy in 2015.

For the longest time I really had no idea when this album was released. For awhile I considered it a 1996 release because I am fairly certain a copy of it was sent to the radio station I deejayed for. But then all research and sites listed it as an early 1997 release. Near the end of January 2017 I took part in a Twitter discussion debate and discussion in which many of us were confused and disagreed. We found some screenshots of archived websites that made everyone think it was released on vinyl only in 1996 and then CD in 1997. Finally I just emailed Chris Simpson himself, and he confirmed this official information:
October 1995- album recorded
February 1996- 8-song vinyl LP released and 10-song CD released by Crank! Records
February 1997- 10-song CD re-released with Epitaph distribution (this is the most common release date seen online)
(Also, the day I am writing this, Feb. 1, 2017, Discogs lists the LP with a 1995 release, which is incorrect.)

Screenshot of the current Crank! Records website (note date is for CD re-issue):




(Screenshot of an archived version of the Mineral website from 1997. Implies maybe only vinyl release, but CD was in fact also released in February of 1996.)

2. Over the RhineGood Dog Bad Dog
I discovered Over the Rhine at Cornerstone in 1997. I had heard one song of theirs, “I’m Happy with Myself”, a few years earlier and I didn’t like it. Well, I was in for a huge surprise as I waited for Adam Again to play. Over the Rhine had just put this album out less than a year earlier, and I heard every single song on it before Cornerstone ended; they performed twice and I was in awe at both shows. I bought the CD at the Cornerstone merch tent and the rest is history. My wife’s favorite band, and the band we have most often seen together. We even worked their merch table twice at recent Atlanta shows. Band is currently at work on their 10th studio LP. Best song: “Etcetera Whatever”

3. Poor Old Lu- A Picture of the Eighth Wonder
I am not sure how much I realized it at the time, but this album was a pretty drastic shift for this band. Much more epic and layered than their previous albums, and apparently almost entirely written in the studio. The first time I saw Poor Old Lu was March 1996 at the Ace of Clubs in Nashville. They played a brief set; they were part of a showcase with Mortal, Seven Day Jesus, Black Eyed Sceva and Twin Sister. I was there with Phil and maybe Keith. As we waited for the show to start Aaron Sprinkle went walking through the crowd, right up to our table, and handed me a CD. He kept on walking- I would not actually meet or talk to him until years later. The CD was an Alarma Records sampler with a two new Lu tracks, both from this album, which had yet to be released. Aaron an Nick are currently in Fair, who just released their 2nd LP, Disappearing World. Jesse Sprinkle continues to put out solo albums and drums for all kinds of bands. Just discovered this is album named incorrectly on Amazon, that is wild. Poor Old Lu is one of the only truly original bands I have ever heard. They sound like no other band in the world. Best song: “Hello Sunny Weather”

4. Stavesacre- Friction
At the time this was a so-called super group, but I wasn’t into the primary band that led to this one: The Crucified. I did own one Crucified CD, but I never listened to (at the time I didn’t know it, but it is all demos: Take Up Your Cross and Nailed). It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I really appreciated the Crucified, when I heard the remastered Pillars of Humanity, which is incredible. Anyway, lead singer Mark Salomon has his same role here, although he did change his singing style. Then the Crucified’s bass player Jeff Bellew became Stavesacre’s guitarist, Focused’s Dirk Lemmenes on bass, and the Blamed’s lead singer Jeremy Moffett on drums. Anyway, all these guys are very talented, but this album is greater than the sum of its parts. I remember reading in some hard-core magazine that this was the first album they ever gave a perfect score to. At the time I don’t think there had ever been an album I so highly anticipated. Stavesacre is somewhat still active, releasing an EP in 2009. Mark Salomon also fronts Neon Horse, and guitarist Ryan Dennee and Dirk are in a new band called the Lost Chorus (with Andy Zipf on vocals), about to release their first EP. Best song: “Threshold”

5. The Violet Burning- self-titled
In 1994 my brother found an album called Third Wave: The Reality Rock Compilation. It contained a lot of bands that at the time we had never heard of (and a couple we had). Our favorite song on the compilation quickly became “Low” by some band called the Violet Burning. This is the only song we would hear from this band for a couple years. Well in 1996 we heard “Low” on the radio, but in a drastically different and superior form. (Didn’t know it at the time, but the version on Third Wave is a demo.) In these days there were not that many ways to find out about bands. Well, my brother started doing college visits this year and one of the places we went was Wheaton outside Chicago. At the time there was this incredible music store there called True Tunes. We visited it, I remember buying a Fold Zandura shirt and the 77s- 88; my brother talked to the owner (John Thompson), and he pulled a copy of this album out from behind the counter. I remember him trying to give us some kind of disclaimer about the lyrical content. Anyway, we were blown away. This is far and away the best Violet Burning album, on a completely different level than the rest of Michael Pritzl’s work. That is partially because of song-writing, but also because he had a ridiculous cast of musicians help him with it. Pritzl is still very active, but the quality of his work in the 2000’s does not approach what he did in the 90’s. Saw him in concert in 2007 though and it was excellent. Best song: “Low”

6. Jimmy Eat WorldStatic Prevails**
I discovered Jimmy Eat World in 1999 when someone let me borrow Clarity, which of course blew me away and remains one of my favorite albums of all time. I remember being on a track team trip in the Spring of 2000 listening to this album for the first time, right after I had ordered it. (My friend John had just bought Mare Vitalis by the Appleseed Cast, and I listened to it just after this. Quite a bus ride musically!) I was surprised by the angst on the album, and the “yelling” because all Jimmy Eat World after this is much more “pretty". As different as this album is from current Jimmy Eat World, it is a must-have for any fan of the band. The band’s new album was just completed and will be released in late 2010. This is the only Jimmy Eat World album I don’t own a vinyl copy of- the cheapest copy on Amazon right now is $389 (pretty sure I could find a copy for less than $100, but that is still a lot). Best song: “World is Static”

7. Velour100- Fall Sounds
I bought this album and Driver Eight’s Watermelon at the exact same time. Their release dates might have even been the same day and the packaging design is similar (same type of paper, which was different than most CDs). Very different musically than most of what Tooth and Nail was putting out at the time, much more artsy. Guitarist/songwriter is Trey Many, currently a booking agent and part-time musician. Most recently he has collaborated with David Bazan. This album sounds exactly like the title- it is autumn music. Very chill, but at times with crazy guitars and walls of feedback. Original lead singer was Amon Krist for this and debut EP, then Tess Wiley, Sydney Rentz, Karen Oliver and finally Rosie Thomas. The final Velour100 EP is impressively on eMusic. At some point (maybe around 2005?) Rosie and Trey had a new band called Half-Life Souvenier and might have even toured, but they never recorded again. Best song: “Joy”

8. R.E.M.- New Adventures in Hi-Fi*
This was the first R.E.M. album I bought at the time of it’s release. I liked R.E.M. as far back as I can remember into the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1995 that I started buying the albums and then saw them live. This is easily one of my favorite R.E.M. albums, partially due to its diversity. You can credit that diversity due to the fact that the band recorded a lot of the album on tour (the tour I saw), rather than a single studio session. The band's entire catalog is now on eMusic. Best song: “Leave”



9. Aunt Bettys- self-titled
If you don’t already know, this is another album from Mike Knott (he has 35+ LPs, only one of which is available on eMusic). Band line-up and style is similar to his solo album “Fluid”, but with a big-budget recording session. He managed to land a mainstream record deal for this band, and really no reason why this couldn’t have been big on mainstream rock radio. Mike decided to push some button’s lyrically this time around, and honestly he had probably been censored by his previous labels. Three or four of the songs are rewrites of some of his older tunes. Best song: “Skinny Bones Jones” (about the Rolling Stones)

10. Jeremy Enigk- Return of the Frog Queen*
The first time I heard this album I thought it was weird. REALLY weird. I discovered Sunny Day Real Estate after they broke up for the first time in 1995, so I could not wait for something new from Jeremy. This album is not what I expected. At first I was extremely disappointed, but I have grown to love it. It features a 21-piece orchestra and lyrics that seems like nonsense. Jeremy has been the most active he has ever been over the last 5 years, and I greatly prefer his more recent work (best LP is World Waits). It is all on eMusic. Best song: "Shade and the Black Hat"


11. Fiona Apple- Tidal*
For years, I associated Fiona Apple with the song "Criminal", and that was it. I heard it on the radio, and liked it, but never pursued her. I saw the video and thought it was disturbing, so that was a turn-off. It wasn't until all the controversy surrounding her third and most recent album, Extraordinary Machine (If you don't know the story, it is fascinating, read it here) that I really started to become a big fan. My wife has been a fan since the beginning though, buying this album when it came out and the spectacular sophomore album When the Pawn... I took her to see Fiona Apple in concert for her birthday in 2006, you can read about that on my blog, here is the link to that old post. Best song: "Shadowboxer"

12. BloomsdayThe Day the Colors Died.
The EP was better, but still great stuff. Band was too short-lived.

13. Driver EightWatermelon
The first Matt McCartie full-length project. And even though he has remained somewhat active ever since, has yet to put out another full-length. His newest band Theft released an EP last year that you can get on iTunes. He also released some songs on the internet under the name "National" before The National ever got popular.

14. The CardigansThe First Band on the Moon*

15. Pearl JamNo Code* 

16. No Knife- Drunk on the Moon* 
Somehow didn't discover this band until the late 2000's, and I didn't get this album until Dec. 2010. A decent debut, but nothing close to how good they would become.

17. Soulfood 76Original Soundtrack. Listened to this album last week for the first time in years. It is really good, but for some reason I don't go back to it often. The best of the three Soulfood LPs. Saw them put on a great show at Cornerstone '97.

18. Fountains of WayneFountains of Wayne*
I didn’t really start my Fountains of Wayne obsession until 2003, but I did like the “Radiation Vibe” single back in ’96. A good debut, but they got much better in the 2000s.

19. Kevin Clay- Watch Me Fall

20. Roadside Monument- Beside this Brief Hexagonal











Top 5 EPs of 1996:
1. Sixpence None the Richer- Tickets for a Prayer Wheel
Contains extra songs from the This Beautiful Mess sessions, which of course are all amazing. Healer became an encore favorite of the band's for years, and Dresses is one of my top 5 Sixpence songs. Long enough to be a full-length album, just make sure you stay away from the inexplicable "Love, Salvation" remix.

2. The Prayer Chain- Antarctica
Not really an EP, but I am putting it here none-the-less. Contains 5 outtakes from Mercury, all of which are incredible songs. They had been previously available on the Mercurious box set, but that was limited to a very small number, so most people, like me, were hearing them for the first time here. Also contains a fun live recording from the same era.

3. The Lassie Foundation- California
Ironic and interesting that this and the previous EP in my list were released the same year. Contained the same core members of the Prayer Chain, with drummer Wayne Everett moving to vocals and bass player Eric Campuzano moving to guitar. The debut from the band which went on to be way more prolific than the Prayer Chain. Check out what Campuzano has been up to most recently. Most of Lassie's catalog is on eMusic, but not this one. Also, Jeff Schroeder, now of the Smashing Pumpkins, is an original and current member of the Lassie Foundation.

4. Black Eyed Sceva- 5 Years, 50,000 Miles Davis
The band's final release before changing it's name to Model Engine. Where are you Jeremy Post?!

5. Dear Ephesus- A View of Epic Proportions

Other notable 1996 albums I own:
Aleixa- Honeylake. Best female-fronted industrial album I have ever heard. Kevin131 is a musical genius.
Cake- Fashion Nugget. Fun music! Listened to this a lot in Zambia, not sure why. Never a huge fan of the band as a whole, but saw them in concert in 2005 and it was terrific.
Common Children- Skywire. Solid debut album, but they would go on to release to much better LPs with Delicate Fade and the Inbetween Time. Lead singer/songwriter Marc Byrd's current project is the instrumental band Hammock.
Counting CrowsRecovering the Satellites
Dakoda Motor Co.- Railroad. It was probably a mistake for them to ever release an album after Davia left the band, and I think even they would agree now. They had signed a mainstream deal though and I guess the opportunity was too good to pass up. This was originally the end but they shockingly did reunite (original line-up with Davia) a few years ago to play some shows and I wouldn't be surprised if they perform together in the future. They had planned to record an album in 2007, but it never happened because they are all too busy.
Nada Surf- High/Low.** Just like Fountains of Wayne, I didn’t get into Nada Surf until 2003. Unlike Fountains of Wayne, I HATED their 1996 single “Popular.” Hard to believe it is the same band, because they are terrific now.
Sunsites (Jesse Sprinkle). Instrumental album from Poor Old Lu's drummer. All acoustic guitar and cello, would pave the way for his band the World Inside and his solo albums.
Lost Dogs- The Green Room Serenade. Terry, Derri and Mike have remained active, still touring and recording to this day. Unfortunately this is the last album of theirs I really got into. I have thought about buying their most recent work, as I have heard it was great. If someone of influence wanted to send me a copy of Old Angel I would listen to it and review it here. (And unfortunately, unless I get it for free, I'll probably never hear it; too bad their stuff is not on eMusic.)
Morella’s Forest- Ultraphonic Hiss. When I first got it I was extremely disappointed, as it seemed a drastic departure from the amazing Super-Deluxe. Took me years to appreciate it.
Mortal- self-titled. Not a bad album, but seemed forced in a way. This came after their so called "break-up", and after Jyro and Jerome had started touring as Fold Zandura. A pretty big let-down after Wake.
Over the Rhine- The Darkest Night of the Year. Great Christmas album.
ArtCore Volume 2. One of the best compilation album series ever, I am still waiting for Volume 3!
Seven Day Jesus- The Hunger. Really liked this album at the time, and loved it even more when I saw them live. Unfortunately the follow-up was one of the most disappointing and depressingly terrible albums I have ever heard. Pretty much lost all interest in the band after that.
77s- Echoes of Faith (Played Naked). One of the best live albums I have ever purchased. It is all acoustic and in a way was a greatest hits album.
Tonic- Lemon Parade.
WeezerPinkerton
Vigilantes of Love- V.O.L. Sort-of a greatest hits album, but the three new songs were key and are three of the best Bill has ever written.
Hoi Polloi- Only Flying (demo cassette). Three final songs before the band called it quits. Too bad, because possibly the three best songs they ever recorded.

Notable 1996 albums I don’t own but wish I did:
Beck- Odelay
Belle and Sebastian- Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister
Better Than Ezra- Friction, Baby
K’s Choice- Paradise in Me
Rage Against the Machine- Evil Empire
Superdrag- Regretfully Yours
The Wallflowers- Bringing Down the Horse
Tool- ├ćnima