May 12, 2005

"You never cooked up your medicine then." - Silkworm.

As a youth just turning on to college radio and local bands, we casted about for recordings from any local act we heard about. This was back when "indie rock" was called "college rock." The terms "alternative" and then "grunge" were probably 18 months away from being coined, an event that we think eventually took a lot of variety out of the independent music scene, at least at the level of commercial radio.

Anyhoo, in late 1990 or early 1991 a cassette was placed in our hands with a song by a local act from a nearby prep school who eventually took the name The Differences. The song was called "Eleventh Grade English," a nice pop song in the vein of Ocean Blue and the Connells (who we saw open for the Replacements on the final Replacements tour) and the like. We pressed our source and eventually got a hold of a couple more numbers from the band, one called "Stay" and another forgotten joint. All fine. In the face of our burgeoning interest in Dinosaur Jr., straightedge hardcore and shoegazer stuff being played on Villanova's WXVU, we gradually lost interest in The Differences. But not before receiving at least one more cassette with later recordings.

Only one of these has survived in our cassette collection this last decade and a half, a song called "Door To Your Heart." Probably the darkest Differences recording we heard, which likely earned it its place on the mix tape we turned it up on earlier this week. The number channels more of a Cure or Chameleons UK sound than the earlier recordings. It is centered on one melodic progression that would get tired toward the end of the song, save for some very solid, textural, even Cure-esque, guitar work throughout.

We are still amazed in this day and age when we can't find a single reference online for a band. We guess not every scene from back then is fortunate enough to have someone like the Zozman keeping it real on the Interhizzy for defunct high school bands. But now that we've ripped "The Door To Your Heart" to our hard drive, perhaps it will remind us to keep up an intermitten search for the Differences recordings we lost or taped over many, many years ago. So that's that.


Pitchfork reviews the Books show we saw late last month. We disagree that the performance was as rocking as Dahlen remembers, not to say that it wasn't amazing. We thought that on the whole the proceedings were very measured. Sure, the rock parts rocked, but the mellow parts were mellow. We also don't recall the electronics, at least electronic percussion, being as prominent as this piece states. That said, we thought the performance was a revelation, as we blogged previously. Dahlen's piece does a very good job of capturing the atmosphere and specifics about the performance, so dooo check it out.

That is all.

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