As you might have noticed, the WMUA blog has jumped on the obligatory music nerd bandwagon of evaluating the best & worst (the blurst?) of the past year. We're about the enter that weird lull period in the new release schedule, during which we're supposed to quitely reflect upon all of the music that got dumped on us in the previous twelve months & compile it all into various lists, which High Fidelity types seem to love. Personally, one of my favorite things about the year winding down is hitting up record stores & loading up on all of the used music that people have sold back in order to finance expensive holiday gifts for all of the special someones in their lives. Seeing as I'm lonely & bitter, their loss becomes my gain. Anyway, as an antidote to 2007 recap mania, I think I'm going to make this a quasi-regular feature to talk about awesome not-so-recent gems that I've recently dug up in the used bins, leaning toward the underrated & overlooked (because honestly, if you need someone to tell you how amazing the Germs' (GI) LP is, there's a much more serious problem at hand).
Say hello to Nerves' self-titled album*! I stumbled across it the other day, still sealed, for five bucks, buried amongst a bunch of battered Journey & A Flock of Seagulls LPs. It's not particularly hard-to-find & definitely falls into the category of things that I've passed up on numerous occasions because I've been distracted by something ridiculous that I'd probably never see again. Nerves were one of those Chicago Thrill Jockey bands that weren't post-rock & as such, I think they were denied some love. It doesn't help that this album came out in 1998, when people were preoccupied with hailing Tortoise's TNT as the greatest thing since sliced bread (and that record was about as exciting as sliced bread). But back to Nerves. I've had Dead Moon's retrospective Echoes Of The Past in extremely heavy personal rotation lately & picking this record up now was rather fortuitous timing on my part, as Nerves' could pass for a Midwestern incarnation (see: serious Stooges/MC5 influence) of Dead Moon, or to a lesser extent, the Wipers, with no questions asked. Totally excellent stripped-down garage punk. They put out two more not-as-great full lengths on Thrill Jockey following this one, but as far as I know, they've been inactive since about 2001 or so, when the moodier/less lean World of Gold came out. Regardless, mad approval on my end & definitely more interesting than the smooth jazz-for-indie rockers nonsense the Sea & Cake have been cranking out lately on the same label.
*Not to be confused with the 1980s Nerves who recorded "Hangin' On The Telephone" before Blondie took the money & ran.