It All Seems So Simple

Tully Rohrer

November 28th, 2006

When it comes time for the students to leave the island, we help them load the ferry that takes them across the channel. Usually the kids are pretty bummed to be leaving, so they line the middle and upper deck of the boat and shout their goodbyes to us. This is a group of kids getting their last views of the island and waiting for the boat to pull away from Toyon Bay - one of the situations in which it is easy to see how much their experience at Catalina really meant to them.

At some point last year, I suggested to Justin that he check out the band The Hold Steady, a raucous bar band from Minneapolis that had just released a very unique new record called Separation Sunday. A few days later I heard back from Justin that he found the album to be mediocre at best, and that he couldn’t stand Craig Finn’s spoken word vocals. Now a year later, Separation Sunday remains one of my favorite records from last year and they have just released a new album called Boys and Girls in America. On the new album, Finn has responded to Justin’s critique and largely abandoned his lispy, saliva-heavy sing-speak, and in my opinion, completely undermined one of the things that made Separation Sunday so interesting.

As a result, I’m posting a track from last year’s album. Cattle and the Creeping Things combines the best of The Hold Steady: those inimitable vocals, the bar-room riffs and power chords, and Finn’s brilliant religion-oriented lyrics. This song contains one of my favorites: “I guess I heard about original sin. I heard the dudes blamed the chick and I heard the chick blamed the snake. And I heard they were naked when they got busted, and I heard things ain’t been the same since.” Separation Sunday is a rollicking, hilarious narrative, tracing a few characters in their escapades in the Twin Cities as they encounter religion, pimps, drug dealers and personal rebirths. As you continuously decipher just what Finn is talking about, Separation Sunday becomes increasingly rewarding… provided you can give it enough listens to get used to his voice. And if you can’t, well, to each his own…

As my next post will begin The Best of 2006 countdown,
here is November’s Optic Distraction Mix Tape:

1. Andrew Bird - Masterfade

2. Annuals - Brother

3. Belle & Sebastian - Your Cover’s Blown

4. The National - All the Wine

5. River Deep - I Want You to Hurry

6. Dosh - Um, Circles and Squares

7. Flake Music - The Shins

8. Yo La Tengo - I Feel Like Going Home

9. Neutral Milk Hotel - King of Carrot Flowers Part 1

10. The New Pornographers - From Blown Speakers

11. Radiohead - Gagging Order

12. The Hold Steady - Cattle and the Creeping Things

Hope you’ve enjoyed the music!

I love the parallel lines of this photo. I also love the idea of a monthly mix tape. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to everyday boys!

Annie — November 28th, 2006

wow… I really like this image, most of the kids have such a bored expression

marcJanuary 24th, 2007

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