Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Holy Mackeral!

I've been thinking about Roustabout! lately, which in turn makes me nostalgic for (among other Happy Valley institutions) the Bullet Parade.

Hyperbole aside, the Bullet Parade is the definitive State College band, and not just because they gave me and my friends something to look forward to every Wednesday night for the year or so we were legal to drink at school. Their oft-changing lineup is a microcosm of the Roustabout! scene itself (and all of Penn State for that matter), with a new crop of kids coming and going every four years, give or take. When I last visited in the fall of 2006 to guest DJ at Chronic Town, it was clear that the scene carried on without us: new venue, new crowd, even a new reporter covering my old Roustabout! beat at the paper. It was a sad realization, that the Roustabout! we knew and loved was gone forever. Still, after seeing all the work that BP frontman Jeff Van Fossan and Chronic Town manager Jesse Ruegg have put into the new place, it's nice to know that Roustabout! and the Bullet Parade will always have a home in State College, and I'm grateful to have been a part of that.

In any event, the fact that the Bullet Parade plays its own outstanding original music sets the band apart from the ubiquitous State College cover band, so in that sense they're not at all representative of the town. They did, however, make room in their sets for some very well-chosen covers, which back in my day included "Holland, 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel, "Shoplifters of the World Unite" by the Smiths, "Crash" by the Primitives, "Ever Fallen in Love?" by the Buzzcocks and, your payoff for reading this far, "I Wanna Destroy You" by the Soft Boys.

I chose the Soft Boys for this post because, of all those bands, their sound is probably the most similar to that of the Bullet Parade, both jangly and psychedelic. "I Wanna Destroy You" is a great song, but I prefer "Kingdom of Love" for Kimberley Rew's guitar and Robyn Hitchcock's completely amazing lyrics: "You've been laying eggs under my skin/And now they're hatching out under my chin/Now there's tiny insects showing through/And all them tiny insects look like you."

Incidentally, this album is somehow not listed on Discogs. Get it!

The Soft Boys - I Wanna Destroy You | Mediafire | YSI | 320 kbps

The Soft Boys - Kingdom of Love | Mediafire | YSI | 320 kbps

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