Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fuzzy Memories of Ovlov

We decided to throw together a companion piece to Allston Pudding's Saying Farewell To Ovlov including "fuzzier" memories, mostly (or entirely) clouded by alcohol consumption.

These stories only represent a fraction of the Ovlov story. A complete history of Ovlov with every legitimately interesting anecdote would probably fill an entire book. And the story is far from over, with the next chapter (Stove's forthcoming LP and subsequent promotion cycle) just on the horizon. Rather than that, here's a collection of some memories from various friends compiled in (roughly) chronological order.

In mid-2009, Steve Hartlett had recently returned from touring in Guilty Faces with Brian Connor, Ian Moran and Tom Perkins.

Brian Connor (Guilty Faces): Steve played with us for a long time. Jon [Hartlett] played a few shows too where Steve had to play drums. *laughs*

Dave Rohlfing (Former College Radio DJ, Attorney): Ian played me something off the demo Steve recorded by himself. We were probably drinking beer. It sounded like Ozma, and it was cool. I don't think I saw the band play until a while after that, because it wasn’t really a band I guess. I remember seeing them play a bunch of times and thinking “they need more distortion, and to be louder” and then that happened. I remember hanging out with Steve and noticing how into music he is. I remember listening to The Swirlies while we drove to his house for some reason, and he said “this is what I want my band to sound like,” and he sure did them one better.

Michael Falc (Speedy Ortiz, Ovlov 2009-2011): There's a legend that Dini once jumped out of a moving car. The girl he was dating was playing Breaking Benjamin while he was in the passenger seat. He asked her to turn it off and she said no, so he opened up the car door and rolled onto the pavement. I guess he was scraped up pretty badly for about a month afterwards.

Dini (namedropped in Ovlov's song titles): Steve named my Volvo "Ovlov." I crashed it right before getting to his house. I tried taking a 90 degree turn going 60 mph.

The line-up on Ovlov's first EP was Steve Hartlett, Quentin Ham, Dave Berliner and Theo Hartlett.

Michael: Steve and Quentin brainstormed for riffs together for a while. I remember hearing a demo CD with 13 songs, and the first five of those ended up on the EP Crazy Motorcycle Jump. Dini contributed lyrics to a couple songs. The original idea was to have Dini as their lead singer. I guess he wasn't able to stick with it, but he still provided much inspiration. Ovlov wouldn't have happened without Dini or Quentin.

Dini: Quentin and I thought of the name Crazy Motorcycle Jump. I pictured Quentin jumping over fire with his motorcycle. Also, I met this off character on the subway once, who only talked about tennis ball bombs and motorcycle jumps in the main street.

Michael: After I started playing in Ovlov, I quickly learned that they always brought a pack of their friends to shows. When we played that festival in Hartford, Dini and Prorock were around. Our load-in was at 9AM. By 10AM, Ovlov and their entourage had already drank an entire tub cfull of free mini-Budweiser cans. At one point, Dini kept slapping my shoulder. He would say, "Hey Michael," followed by a grunting noise with his eyes rolled into the back of us head.

Dini: At. Bomb. Fest just. Grunting. And. Slapping you. All day.

Jesse Weiss (Grass Is Green, Palehound): I'll never forget the time I saw Ovlov at Heirloom Arts Theater. [While they were playing], I believe there was a huge projection screen with clips of MTV from the mid-'90s in rotation. Out of nowhere, Jon hurled his bass directly into the drum kit and before anyone could process what happened, he threw his body through the rest of the upright drums. All the while, Steve was face planted on the ground, and one of the cymbal stands came within inches of slicing his neck. Total stage destruction!

Michael: When we played with Geronimo in Providence, Chris Morgan and Garrett O'Connor came with us. Afterwards, we stayed at a nearby empty beach house that belonged to Chris's grandparents. And for some reason, Garrett shot me while I was sleeping at 4AM. He thought it would be funny to shoot me. The gun wasn't loaded, but I felt the compressed air from the gun. I woke up to everyone in the room trying not to crack up too hard.

Dave Rohlfing: I think I [moved to Alaska] toward the end of Ovlov's second hiatus. I never saw Ovlov play when it was all three Hartlett brothers, but I have heard they looked like a bunch of nerds, specifically like “a bunch of D&D nerds.” I never really saw them play any of the Am songs at all, now that I think of it, so that fucking sucks.

After moving to New Haven, Steve co-founded a basement DIY space named Fort Flesh. Between Summer 2011 and Fall 2012, they hosted about 10 of the most energetic DIY shows New Haven had ever seen. During that brief era, the New Haven scene seemed more exciting than any point since at least a decade earlier, if not longer.

Kiana Saroce (Blessed State, Potty Mouth): The first time I saw Ovlov was in 2012 at the Flywheel in Easthampton, MA. I had just started listening to What's So Great About the City and Crazy Motorcycle Jump and was really into the band so it was cool to finally be able to see them. I met Steve and Jon after they played and we had some cool conversation and later became friends. After that night I started driving down to New Haven alone almost every weekend, because Ovlov was always playing a show at Fort Flesh.

Vitti (Razzmatazz): Fort Flesh was probably the coolest place. Kids were moshing in like the smallest room. It was like you could do whatever you wanted. I remember I think that kid Connor was smashing Theo's cymbals with a plastic sword. *laughs*

Kiana: It was always a great time; I would be drinking in the corner and would casually introduce myself to people which resulted in some really cool friendships, eventually going up front to sing along once they started their set, screaming out all the words to "I Got Well," everyone pushing each other around and jumping all over the place and having what seemed like the best time of their lives, myself included. It was always a drunk fucking mess anytime they played, in the best way.

Darl Ferm (Speedy Ortiz): It's mostly all about Vitti.

Michael: Fort Flesh was nicely furnished and surprisingly comfortable for a DIY basement space. It had carpeting and track lighting and interesting artwork. It was by far the nicest room in their house.

Ovlov's first LP Am was recorded in early 2013 and featured some guest musicians.

Devin Mcknight (Grass Is Green, Speedy Ortiz): When Steve asked me to play on Am, he refused to show me how to play the music. I kept asking him, and he was like "Nah, it's ok. Don't worry about it." So when I showed up to the session at Mike Thomas's house, I didn't bring anything, and Steve was like "Where's the whammy pedal?" And I was like "well, you didn't give me any context, so I just showed up." I ended up playing a solo on "Blue Baby," and my first try was really bad, but Steve was like "That was great! We're leaving it in!" but I was really unhappy with it. It was literally the first time I was hearing the song. I said "If you give me one more try, I know I can nail it," and afterwards he was like "That was even better!"

Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz, Quilty): Everytime I was asked to sing on Ovlov albums, they always used the first or second take, because Steve wanted everything to sound fresh. And as a result, I still don't know the words to any of the Ovlov songs I sang on. So anytime I got asked to sing with them on stage, I'm not singing the correct words.

In May & June 2013, Ovlov went on a 3-week tour with Grass Is Green.

Hayden Karnitz (Exploding In Sound Enthusiast) : When my 8th favorite band at the time - Grass Is Green - was finally playing within a doable driving distance (2-3 hours), I jumped at the chance. And not to forget, GiG was touring with Ovlov - a "band" I was pretty familiar with, but nowhere near my admiration level of GiG. I do recall arriving to the illustrious city of St. Paul and flipping off the first van with Massachusetts license plate I saw. I picked the right van.

Michael: None of them knew who this guy was, and he was driving alongside their van and flipping the bird for over an hour.

Hayden: Grass Is Green more or less refused to play "Tricky Tim." But Ovlov played "Blue Baby." "Lil Steve" - I mean, I'm really tall and in shape, but that's not the point here - has to open the rest of my beers with his teeth that night, because I sliced my finger open and bled onto my pillow. The next morning, we all went to The Mall of America.

Devin: We had these spontaneous "jam sessions" that would end up on Vine. One happened in Cleveland, and one happened in the Mall Of America in Minneapolis. Steve always had his one-hitter, so he would always just walk by something and start tapping, and before you know it, there's five douchebags walking around the Mall Of America being like *tap ta-tap ta-tap-tap tap-tap* It was always the same beat. Instant party. And on the Vine videos it looked even stupider and funnier.

Hayden: What followed was one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. GiG played "Cooter County," "Somebody's Something" and fucking finally "Tricky Tim." Why hasn't there been a farewell to Grass Is Green - a band that I actually like? Meanwhile, Steve is almost electrocuted and Boner is Boner. I get White Russians. I begin stumbling around Minneapolis in a light rain ironically tweeting "I hate Ovlov" over and over.

Cynthia Schemmer (Radiator Hospital): Our band played with Ovlov and Potty Mouth in New Haven at Cafe Nine. We were on a really weird diet at the time, so we had only ate vegetables. And we had these containers of vegetables sitting in our van for a long time. We were so excited to finally see Ovlov play. We ended up loving it right away, and not long afterwards we ended up on the split with Ovlov, Krill and Lvl Up.

Garrett O'Connor (shown running on the front cover of Am): We were at The Sinclair, and I needed a shower. So I took a shower [in the backstage dressing room], and afterwards I walked onto the stage wearing just the towel. And Steve ran on stage and grabbed me off. I found the video a week or 2 ago. I think beer might have to do with some of these bright ideas, along with the adrenaline that Ovlov pumps through my cochleas. They also played a show at Great Scott where they were so loud that part of the ceiling collapsed and fell right next to me. One foot to my left.

Hayden: They rolled with "The Great Blah Blah" for some of their last tracks. I saw them play in Baltimore at a space that didn't allow alcohol. WTF. I missed "The Great Crocodile" because Sam from Two Inch takes forever to finish his measly PBR that I generously offered. This is the last time I see Ovlov. Nine times. How have I seen them nine times?

Kiana: I can honestly say that I've never loved/given more of a shit about a CT band more than them.

Hayden: Jump to 2015: Ovlov officially "calls it quits." I assume this would be: The 5th time Ovlov has "broken up," but everyone thinks it's for real this time. But there's Stove now. It's probably a better name than "Lil Steve."

Garrett: I've probably never paid to get into an Ovlov show. *laughs*

We Didn't Hate "The SPIN 300"

SPIN's latest attempt at relevancy mostly just brought back a lot of memories for us. It's probably been at least 4 months since the last time we looked at SPIN. We don't recognize the names of their current staff or any of the writers who contributed blurbs to The SPIN 300. AT the moment, it's entirely possible that the writers of this website could all receive jobs there. At any rate...

A few nights ago, this list was unveiled, and we sat at a bar with a few friends in Orlando, Florida and read through the results, unsure what to expect.

SPIN has already posted yet ANOTHER article where they "break down" the list by category: http://www.spin.com/2015/05/spin-300-best-albums-past-30-years-trivia/

1994 was the year with the most albums in their list, and in response to that we say "Duh."

1988 had the 2nd lowest number of albums, which at first seemed like it didn't jive with our assessment of the '80s (especially considering the glaring exclusion of My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything). However, we'll concede that 1988 was still a very strong singles year - not so great for albums (as opposed to 1994 which excelled in both categories with flying colors).

The only rule was that no one was allowed to place with more than 3 albums.

Here's our quick assessment....

300. Green Day, American Idiot (Reprise, 2004): Seriously, fuck this album. Jan Wenner is all like "too low."
299. Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal (What’s Your Rupture?, 2014): Not sure what's happening here.
298. Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (Priority, 1990): Here's the lowest placing album that was once deemed SPIN's #1 album of the year. SPIN's big-event album lists typically make the effort to include as many of their previous #1's as possible. In this case, it's actually a great record that still holds up, so no problems here.
294. Sigur Rós, Ágætis Byrjun (Play It Again Sam, 1999): Pleasantly surprised to see how this album has been re-assessed and canonized as of late.
288. Tyler, the Creator, Goblin (Odd Future, 2011): We like that this is here, except that none of Earl's albums placed at all. Doris is still our favorite album from 2013, and EARL is probably still our favorite album from 2010.
287. TV on the Radio, Dear Science (Interscope, 2008): So now we're getting into stuff that seems to be only placing because SPIN once listed it as their #1 album of its respective year. This is mostly troubling for us since they neglected to include the superior Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. It seems like they really want to stick with pushing all of their previous #1's with as little re-assessment budging as possible.
283. Superchunk, I Hate Music (Merge, 2013): The only Superchunk album on this list is one of their post-reunion albums. So weird.
279. Aerosmith, Pump (Geffen, 1989): Another curious choice. This has never appeared in any of SPIN's previous album-canon lists, and we haven't noticed any other recent reassessment of Pump as a critical favorite. We're not upset; just kinda perplexed. "Janie's Got a Gun" and "What It Takes" both still sound cool to us, but we wouldn't recommend it to anyone who can't handle Steven Tyler. Definitely an acquired taste.
273. Slint, Spiderland (Touch & Go, 1991): Once upon a time in 1999, we first heard about Spiderland after it placed at its entirely justified #16 position on SPIN's "90 Albums from the '90s." We're not normally shouting "too low" at magazine lists, but rather we tend to appreciate records getting placed and canonized at all. But in this case - and especially after Slint blew our minds during last year's reunion shows as one of the greatest live experiences of our lifetimes - it's probably the most depressingly (and dare we suggest heartbreakingly) low placement on this entire list.
271. Sublime, Sublime (Gasoline Alley/MCA, 1996): And just to really rub the shit in our faces, why not place the album that includes "Caress Me Down" and "The Ballad of Johnny Butt" two slots higher than Spiderland? Does this count as bullying?
270. George Michael, Faith (BMG/Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment, 1987): Happy to see the critical post-reassessment of Faith is still going strong.
267. The Deftones, White Pony (Maverick, 2000): Nice one. Pretty sure this hasn't appeared in any of SPIN's previous album-canon lists. It's their best album, and they're still an amazing band.
265. Swervedriver, Mezcal Head (A&M, 1993): NICE.
259. Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love (Columbia, 1987): Another curious inclusion, similar to Pump from earlier. On a hunch, we just checked the "Rolling Stone 500" from 2003, and turns out that this album did in fact place at #467. So perhaps this is a fan favorite and we just never knew.
230. The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop, 2003): They chose the correct Shins album. There is hope.
226. Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday (Cash Money, 2010): Nice one. While not her most consistent album, we're happy she's here in either case.
225. Portishead, Third (Island, 2008): This makes up for Beak>'s inevitable exclusion. Although, had it not been for Beak>, we might never have understood why Third rules so hard. For us, Beak> provided retroactive context for Third.
224. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glassnote, 2009): They chose the wrong Phoenix album. This one's boring. Listen to their 2006 record instead.
219. System of a Down, Toxicity (American/Sony Music Distribution, 2001): Another case where this might not have placed if it weren't their #1 album of its respective year. Toxicity deserves far more credit than it receives. As a whole, it's a pretty important record, and should be considered greater than simply a showcase for "Chop Suey" and "Aerials." Pitchfork excluded it from their "Best albums of the 2000s," probably because there wasn't enough glockenspiel or reverb. Or because it doesn't sound enough like The Decemberists. Not enough whistling or sleigh bells. Because, you know, that's what rock music needs.
216. Destroyer, Kaputt (Merge, 2011): Still not sure why people with otherwise fantastic music taste will completely lose their shit over this album. Maybe it will make sense to us someday.
211. Aaliyah, One in a Million (Blackground, 1996): This is about the point when we realized this list was starting to get REALLY good.
203. D’Angelo, Brown Sugar (Virgin, 1995): This inclusion, while completely justified - suddenly reminds us to check whether Black Messiah made this cut, which it did not, probably due to missing some deadline (even though it was technically a 2014 record).
202. Sleigh Bells, Treats (Mom + Pop, 2010): Yeah but fuck this shit tho.
201. Rage Against the Machine, The Battle of Los Angeles (Epic, 1999): SPIN's "90 Albums from the '90s" was unveiled over the summer of 1999, and included Rage's self-titled somewhere in the 20's or 30's. The Battle of Los Angeles was released the following November, and ever since then it's the only Rage album that SPIN ever includes in their album-canon features, even though it's their 3rd best album. They REALLY love this record for some reason. I mean, it's cool, but there's no "Wake Up" or "Freedom." What can ya do?
200. Moby, Everything Is Wrong (Elektra, 1995): This album is kinda not that good. At the time, we loved it to death, and it supplied many good memories. But then somewhere around 2008-2009, we realized that we had not listened to Moby in years, and when we re-assessed his records we realized that they almost all suck. Everything Is Wrong doesn't "suck" per se, but we're pretty sure it wouldn't be here had it not been SPIN's #1 album of 1995.
199. Soundgarden, Superunkown (A&M, 1994): This begins a pretty solid streak for this list. 199-100 is the most consistently dope chunk of this thing.
187. Teenage Fanclub, Bandwagonesque (Creation, 1991): A record that became infamous as being SPIN's #1 of 1991 only because it beat Nirvana. Not sure why this is such a big deal. It didn't place in "90 Albums from the '90s," but it was reassessed and included in subsequent album-canon features.
184. LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening (DFA/Virgin, 2010): Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
183. Jimmy Eat World, Bleed American (Dreamworks, 2001): Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
179. No Age, Everything in Between (Sub Pop, 2010): YESYESYESYES. They didn't include Nouns which is probably still our favorite record of 2008, but who cares. NO AGE!
177. At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command (Grand Royal/Virgin, 2000): YS!YESESS!!TYESSSSS
171. Blur, Parklife (Food, 1994): Nice to see this one. At this point we assumed this would be the only Blur album, because most lists place Parklife highest. To be continued...
170. Lil Wayne, Da Drought 3 (Young Money, 2007): Wow! A random fucking mixtape thrown into the mix. And yes, this did place on SPIN's top albums of 2007, but still! Wow!
169. The Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin, 1995): Love seeing this reassessed and included here. This might be the first time SPIN included Mellon Collie in an album-canon feature, although we might be wrong about that. (Still waiting on some major publication to come around to Pieces Iscariot. It will happen.)
168. Eminem, The Slim Shady LP (Interscope, 1999): Remember when Eminem was like "nobody listens to techno?" Well, nobody listens to this album anymore.
164. Janet Jackson, janet. (Virgin, 1993): Hell yeah.
163. Spoon, Kill the Moonlight (Merge, 2002): Not a bad choice for the only Spoon album. We're guessing their tallies included a split between 4 records and this is the one they went with. Gimme Fiction is still the best one and fuiud.
160. Oasis, Definitely Maybe (Epic, 1994): Their first two albums are ok, but how is Oasis not considered at least as important as Spoon or No Age or The Shins, who are bands where SPIN made a decision to include only one of their dope records? And Definitely Maybe is better than Mourning Glory, so this is the one they shoulda went with.
159. The Postal Service, Give Up (Sub Pop, 2003): Bleh.
153. Pavement, Wowee Zowee (Matador, 1995): Noteworthy since this and Terror Twilight are the 2 that did not appear on SPIN's respective year-lists.
150. Cloud Nothings, Attack on Memory (ADA/Carpark, 2012): Oh hey, it's our friends.
148. Sonic Youth, Goo (DGC, 1990): Not typically the Sonic Youth album of choice for these types of features, but it's our favorite and we're happy it's here.
144. Pearl Jam, Vitalogy (Epic, 1994): Hell yeah. The fact that this was included over Ten is especially great to see.
143. The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death (Bad Boy, 1997): Nicceeeeee.
140. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York (DGC, 1994): Great album, although we like Bleach better and it would be cool to see it receive props here and there. We feel like Bleach pretty much never gets included. (Incesticide is actually the one we'd love to see the most, but it's technically a comp.)
139. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino, 2009): We've come around to this one over the past 2 years. Great record, and reasonably placed, as opposed to Pitchfork's #14th best album of the 2000s malarkey.
134. Blink-182, Enema of the State (MCA, 1999): They would have never dreamed of including this in their top albums of 1999. To be honest, we couldn't name any of the non-singles from this. Maybe it's good? I'm asking friends about it now, and it sound like a lot of kids know this album backwards and forwards - in a good way. Tom, Mark and Travis are probably all dicks tho, but most of the people on this list are dicks.
132. Michael Jackson, Dangerous (Epic, 1991): Wow! Pumped to see this here. And very strange that this was included over Bad, but also WOWOWOW!! We've been wondering about the 33 1/3 book on this album, and this is kinda fueling our incentive.
130. Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE (Def Jam, 2012): Frank and Tyler make up Odd Future's representation here. Next time around (if SPIN lasts that long), they'll reassess Earl. We promise.
129. Beyoncé, B’Day (Columbia, 2006): Weird choice. Seems to have been mostly included because of "Irreplaceable," but is that one song really enough to anchor this entire album into canonization? Dangerously In Love is still her best full length by far.
128. Against Me!, New Wave (Sire, 2007): SPIN's #1 of 2007. Excellent choice too, and noteworthy for including possibly our favorite song from that entire year, "Borne On The FM Waves of the Heart."
127. Fiona Apple, When the Pawn... (Clean Slate/Epic, 1999): A perfect record. Kinda "too low" zone. And also, it's somehow reminding us that The Cardigans' Gran Turismo deserves to show up in more of these things.
120. Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA, 2012): Fuck yes. Another "too low" zone. For us, this is top 5 of the 2010s.
113. Radiohead, The Bends (Capitol, 1995): Might still be our favorite album of 1995. Possibly maybe.
112. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (Def Jam, 1986): Shoulda been Check Your Head, which curiously was the only Beasties album that made the cut for "90 Best Albums of the '90s" - while Licensed, Paul's and Ill Communication were the 3 choices for the SPIN 300.
110. Panda Bear, Person Pitch (Paw Tracks, 2007): We came around to this one too. We came around to pretty much everything Animal Collective related over the past 2 years. It was just "good" prior to 2013, whereas now, we understand why it's canonized.
109. Tears for Fears, Songs From the Big Chair (Mercury, 1985): Excellent choice, although can't help but think movie soundtracks had something to do with this Wenner-friendly reassessment.
108. Jay Z, Reasonable Doubt (Roc-A-Fella, 1996): His best album. Shoulda placed higher.
107. Paul Simon, Graceland (Legacy, 1986): Interesting choice, and also suspiciously Wenner-friendly.
104. Kanye West, Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella, 2005): Their #1 of 2005. We woulda had 808s and Heartbreak show up around #104 in its place.
103. Depeche Mode, Violator (Mute, 1990): We feel like this has placed at exactly #103 on at least one previous SPIN canon feature.
102. LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out (Def Jam, 1990): Too low.
101. Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive, 2006): Great record, but if it came between this and Justified, we'll always choose the latter.
99. TLC, CrazySexyCool (LaFace, 1994): This begins the occasionally perplexing top 100. We like CrazySexyCool a lot, but not "Waterfalls." Our favorite song on this record is probably the cover of "If I Was Ur Girlfriend," which immediately reminded us of the very strong possibility that Sign O' The Times will end up placing on this thing somewhere.
97. Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury (Zomba, 2006): Did not at all expect this to place top 100, but it's an entirely welcome surprise. A brilliant, underrated record that seems to be finally receiving some due cred. The top 100 seems flooded with these types of records.
96. Blur, 13 (Food/Virgin, 1999): Did not at all expect this, but again - entirely welcome. It's one of our favorite records of all time, and we can't recall ever seeing this place as the highest Blur album.
94. The White Stripes, White Blood Cells (Sympathy for the Record Industry, 2001): We will give SPIN props for understanding that The White Stripes have not aged well, and that it was kinda weird for them to hand them their "album of the year" prize two years in a row. On this list, only White Blood Cells made the cut, and not Elephant.
92. Missy Elliott, Supa Dupa Fly (EastWest/Goldmind, 1997): A really dope top 100 so far.
90. J Dilla, Donuts (Stones Throw, 2006): WOO!
87. Genius/GZA, Liquid Swords (Altered Ego/Geffen, 1995): Due credit for the Wu. Every song on this album is amazing, and it totally deserves to place this high.
83. Japandroids, Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl, 2012): Love these guys, but huh? We prolly woulda place this around #283 instead of #83. But also we prolly would have included Post-Nothing instead of this one since it's a better album.
78. Frank Ocean, nostalgia, ULTRA. (Self-Released, 2011): Another mixtape! Wow! And plus this placed higher than Channel Orange. Love it.
77. Slayer, Reign in Blood (American, 1986): There shoulda been way more metal on this thing. Feelin' the Slayer.
70. Fugazi, Repeater (Dischord, 1990): Seems like a stock choice for Fugazi. We're happy to see them place at all, but The Argument and End Hits are their true classics.
68. The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin (Warner Bros., 1999): Hmmmmmm. 5-10 years ago we woulda been a lot more pumped about this decision. It's good, but more like #168.
67. Robyn, Body Talk (Cherrytree/Konichiwa, 2010): Love this, but also huh? Again, prolly woulda placed this at #167.
66. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale (Def Jam, 2006): Got damn. It's like, we LOVE that this placed so high, but also HUH? Supreme Clientele or Iron Man are his classics.
63. Drake, Take Care (Cash Money/Universal, 2011): You've gotta be fucking kidding me. Think about everything that just place between #300 and #64 and then honestly say that each and everyone of those albums are WORSE than Drake's Take Care. Damn dude. Huge misstep. This is probably the biggest joke of this entire list.
57. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Geffen, 1987): Feels like this deserves some re-assessment. Solid record, but it just doesn't sound as important as it used to. That would have been something if they had included Use Your Illusion II simply for SPIN's shoutout in "Get In The Ring."
56. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (Motown/Cash Money, 2008): Another perplexingly high placement for a less-than-solid record. This is probably as good as Mellon Collie, which was equally bloated and contained probably the same classic-to-dud ratio with its tracks.
54. Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (A&M, 1989): Gotta say we fucking love that Janet was one of the artists throughout this who maxed out with 3 album placements.
50. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Interscope, 2000): Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
48. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral (Interscope/Nothing, 1994): Wow, with no exclamation point. Weird choice for top 50. We feel like way less people are feelin' NIN these days. P.S. The Fragile was their #1 album of 1999, and was not included in the SPIN 300.
47. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver (Capitol/DFA, 2007): Somehow this pisses us off more than Eminem at #50.
45. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d. city (Interscope/Aftermath, 2012): Good call.
44. Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador, 1994): We wish this was Terror Twilight instead. We probably like the bonus disc on the expanded Crooked Rain better than the album itself.
43. Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge, 1998): Sorry, we didn't realize 4chan was choosing these results.
42. M.I.A. Kala (XL/Interscope, 2007): Interesting choice. We're feelin' it. Solid record.
41. Elliott Smith, Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars, 1997): Great choice for top 50.
38. Beyoncé, Beyoncé (Columbia, 2013): Oh dear. Not sure why people lose their shit over this album so much. Kanye is probably happy this placed higher than Beck.
37. U2, Achtung Baby (Island, 1991): Bleh. More like #237.
35. Pulp, Different Class (Island, 1995): REALLY weird choice. More like #135. Good record, but when we saw this we pretty much just stared at the phone with a really confused look on our faces shouting Different Class??!? 5 or 6 times.
34. Metallica, Master of Puppets (Elektra, 1986): Bleh. This list needed more metal, but not like this. Although we'll admit it does have a pretty strong Side A.
33. Radiohead, Kid A (Capitol, 2000): Love this record. Nice job here.
31. Weezer, Weezer (Blue Album) (DGC, 1994): I guess we're used to seeing Weezer's 2 '90s records placing so high at this point, so it's not entirely unexpected, although these days we're far less burnt on the B-Sides.
29. R.E.M., Automatic for the People (Warner Bros., 1992): IDGI
26. The Dismemberment Plan, Emergency & I (DeSoto, 1999): Unheralded by SPIN at the time, which reminds us that they used to do this thing: If SPIN found out about a truly classic record in retrospect (a year or 2 late), they would make sure to place their next record in their "best albums" list that year, regardless of its merit. This is why Pack Up the Cats place in '98, but As Good As Dead didn't place in '96. And there are plenty of other examples of this, including Change placing in 2001, while Emergency & I didn't place in '99. As for its placement here, it's far FAR too high. And to be honest, we like Change a lot better.
25. Hole, Live Through This (DGC, 1994): Every Breeders album is better than Live Through This. Veruca Salt's American Thighs is better than this. SPIN's always had the biggest boner for Courtney Love. It's a good record, but #25 is just ridiculous.
22. Green Day, Dookie (Reprise, 1994): Great choice. Brilliant record. Again, it didn't appear on their top albums in 1994, while Insomniac appeared in the 1995 list - because they realized that they had goofed and tried to make up for it. We're not making this shit up. Observe their patterns. This really did happen.
21. OutKast, Aquemini (LaFace, 1998): Excellent choice.
19. The Strokes, Is This It (RCA, 2001): Probably shouldn't be placing this high, but we're not surprised. (It was their #20 best album of 2001.)
17. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique (Capitol, 1989): Fuck yes.
16. The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs (Merge, 1999): Still haven't made it through this entire thing.
14. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless (Sire, 1991): Cool but also it just makes them look like posers not including Isn't Anything.
13. Jay Z, The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella, 2001): Great record, but again, Reasonable Doubt is his best.
11. D’Angelo, Voodoo (Virgin, 2000): Nice.
09. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing... (Mox Wax, 1996): Hm. Interesting. Really good record, but top 10 is a tall order.
08. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella, 2010): This is an interesting case where we actively dislike a record and were convinced that we actively disliked Kanye West simply because of an album's high accolades. Meanwhile, Yeezus is still in our top 5 albums of this decade. Woulda been pretty baller of them to include Yeezus over this, just to piss people off. People are gonna be all like SMH placing Kanye in the top 10 in either case, so might as well go all the way with it.
07. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville (Matador, 1993): #7. Wow. Interesting. We like Whip-Smart better but whatever.
06. Radiohead, OK Computer (Capitol, 1997): Still probably our favorite album ever. It always shows up in these things, so all we can really do is just glance at its placement and say "Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what I expected to see."
05. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead (Sire, 1986): Oh goodness. How did this end up so high? Paul's Boutique woulda fit in nicely right around here.
04. Daft Punk, Discovery (Virgin, 2001): We were just mentioning to some associates how back in 2001, we loved Discovery immediately, while the consensus of rock fans who were ogling over Bleed American and The Green Album were all like "techno, bleh, whatever." Flash forward to 2007, around the time of Kanye's "Stronger" and when Daft Punk went on their first huge U.S. tour, and suddenly everyone all at once decided to go apeshit for Daft Punk.
03. Prince, Sign o’ the Times (Paisley Park / Warner Bros., 1987): Absolutely love that this placed Top 3, and we were right about this being foreshadowed by CrazySexyCool earlier.
02. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud/RCA, 1993)
01. Nirvana, Nevermind (DGC, 1991)
: How baller would that have been if SPIN was like, "you know, Nevermind is dope, but it would be so baller to place it at #2 and instead place Enter the Wu-Tang at #1. What do you guys think?" And then they decided to switch them instead. It's a great Top 2, but we're just sick of seeing "#1" written next to Nevermind all the time. Throw it in #6 or #8 for once.

Nice list overall. We still like how SPIN does it better than most other publications. They surprisingly didn't let us down.

Okay, so we're huge nerds, and we're done with this.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Here's what we knew about Krill before our interview:

#1 Krill used to be Jon, Ron and Lucky. But now they're Jon, Ron and Bob.
#2 Jon is actually Jonah, who sings and plays bass.
#3 Ron is actually Aaron, who shreds on guitar.
#4 Bob is actually Ian, who fucks shit up on the drum kit. He's been in Krill since Fall 2013.
#5 Lucky is actually Luke, who was their previous drummer prior to Fall 2013.
#6 Darl is actually Darl (but really he's actually Daniel, although we can't remember the last time anyone called him by that name) and for some reason he's been named Krill's general manager. He's also the bassist from that weirdo band Speedy Ortiz (a band that also includes this interviewer).
#7 Hayden is actually Hayden, who trolls Krill on twitter.
#8 Jon, Ron and Bob are all originally from Chicago, IL, while Lucky and Darl are from Newton, an adjacent suburb of Krill's current home, Boston, MA.
#9 Krill formed in Boston and have lived in both Chicago and Boston.

So here's the order of events that made this interview possible:

May 13, 2015. 7:45PM. I attempted to round up the members of Krill, but when the time came for the interview, only Ron was available, conveniently sitting and drinking beer with Darl Ferm who was one of the first people to book a show for Krill (at Wesleyan University in September 2011 with Ovlov and Dead Wives, at a show where all three bands coincidentally covered one Nirvana jam each).

At around 7:55PM, our interview was joined by David from Ex-Breathers - who contributed to one question - and Bob, who filled in a round of Q&A before the voice recorder lost its battery power.

May 14, 2015. 6:45PM. In New Orleans, we asked Jon to fill in an additional round of Q&A. It was interesting to note which answers aligned among the three Krills.

Two of the interview questions were submitted by members of Speedy Ortiz. But to start, I purposely tried to choose the worst lead-off question I could think of.

TMK: So do you guys get, like, really baked?
Jon: Like weed-baked?
TMK: Yeah.
Jon: No. Baked in the sun, for sure.
TMK: When did that last happen?
Jon: Today, and the day before, and the day before, and the day before.

TMK: You guys were calling yourselves “Jon, Ron and Lucky” for a while, and when Ian joined the band you dubbed him “Bob.” Where did "Bob" come from?
Jon: Well it was Ron and Jon, and so the third name was gonna be Yon, but Bob just stuck.
TMK: Yon's way better. But wouldn't Yon be spelled like "J-A-N?"
Jon: Oh, I didn't even think about that, but that would make so much more sense. I guess I was thinking "Y-O-N." Or "Y-A-W-N."
TMK: “Yawn?” Oh God, that's terrible.
Jon: Yeah, he's sleepy. That could be his band persona.

TMK: What is the best taco in Chicago?
Ron: In Chicago? My personal favorite was Lazo's Tacos.
Darl: Oh, the one near where you lived. Not Arturo's?
Ron: I used to live across the street from Lazo's and Arturo's, which were right next to each other, and had the exact same menus, were both open 24 hours, were owned by the same people, but one was called Lazo's and one was called Arturo's. But everything was exactly the same.
TMK: So you and Jonah used to be roommates?
Ron: That was just for a summer, yeah.
TMK: Was it the summer of 2012?
Ron: Yeah. We've lived together [in other cities] too.
TMK: Do you remember when Speedy Ortiz spent the night there?
Ron: Yeah.
TMK: How did you feel about that?
Ron: Good.
TMK: What was the worst thing Speedy Ortiz did while we were there?
Darl: We watched Wendy Vanity.
Ron: Did we do that while you were there?
Darl: Jon and I did. We went through the Wendy Vanity filmography on Youtube.

TMK: What's the best taco in Chicago?
Bob: Nuevo Leon in Pilsen.

TMK: What's the best taco in Chicago?
Jon: I like Lazo's which is next to Arturo's, and people will tell you the same, but I'm really a torta guy myself.

TMK: What's the best hotdog in chicago?
Bob: I don't necessarily have an opinion or care. No wait, I'll say Superdog.

TMK: What's the best hotdog in Chicago?
Ron: Superdog. Although it might technically be in Skokie. Also, my mom works in the Skokie Public Library.
Darl: What about sportin' peppers? How do you guys feel about that?
Ron: Pro.
Darl: Cream cheese?
Bob: That's nasty.
Darl: I had to make a hotdog at Shake Shack called The Shaq-Cago.

TMK: What is the best hotdog in Chicago?
Jon: Poochie's in Skokie. Or Herm's Palace. We used to go to Herm's in kindergarten and play Mortal Kombat with this kid who knew all the moves, but I was terrible at it. So I'll say Herm's, which is a weird name. It sounds like “hermaphrodite.”

TMK: This question was submitted by Darl Ferm. Why?
Ron: I really couldn't tell you. I get asked that question multiple times every day.

TMK: Why?
Bob: Just "why" in general? No comment.

TMK: Why?
Jon: Why not?

TMK: Is Hayden's hatred justified?
Ron: I think it's a defense mechanism.
TMK: Against?
Ron: I don't know.
Darl: Shit just got real.
Ron: I love Hayden.

TMK: Is Hayden's hatred justified?
Bob: My response is just "Hayden." Hayden be hatin'. That's just his way.

TMK: Is Hayden's hatred justified?
Jon: I don't think it's real hatred. I love Hayden, and I see into his soul.

TMK: This question was contributed by Devin McKnight. Have you ever been to the Denver Airport?
Ron: Ahh, I know what you've been watching... [referring to a conspiracy theory documentary about the Denver Airport]. Yes, I have been there. I didn't see any reptiles.
Darl: But did you see the murals??
Ron: I can only assume. There's a huge tent.
Darl: It's all tents.
Ron: It's in the middle of nowhere. Doesn't that seem a little suspicious?
Darl: Did you see the horse? Also, one of the “facts” in that documentary: There's a gate around the airport? Isn't that suspicious?
Ron: This is a little bit of a tangent, but we did play a show last night that was directly next to an airport. The show was outside.

TMK: Have you ever been to Denver Airport?
Bob: I have not.

TMK: This next question is Devin's question.
Jon: Why didn't Sadie have a question?
TMK: I forgot to ask her for one. Have you ever been to the Denver Airport?
Jon: Yeah, I have! I totally have. I went with my parents to visit my brother who went to school in Colorado Springs, and we flew to the Denver Airport and drove from there.

TMK: Did you guys go to each other's bar mitzvahs?
Ron: I did not go to Jonah's bar mitzvah. But he had a joint bar mitzvah party with one of my other friends. We had a mutual friend, and that's how we met.

TMK: Did Luke go to Darl's bar mitzvah?
Bob: I'm gonna say yes.

TMK: Was Luke at Darl's bar mitzvah?
Darl: Yes, someone put soap in his shoe during my bar mitzvah, because he was being extremely rude. I was reading the Haf Torah and he wouldn't stop shouting. It was one of the rudest things you could possibly do at the time.
Ron: You just couldn't control that boy.
Darl: And so some friends came to my aid I guess, without me knowing.
Ron: Liquid soap?
Darl: Yeah, his shoe was removed and someone poured soap into either his right or left shoe. I can't remember.

TMK: Did Darl go to Luke's bar mitzvah?
Jon: Yes. He was telling me about Luke at his bar mitzvah, so I don't know if Darl went to Luke's, but I assume he did. But Darl was saying that Luke was heckling him.

TMK: Was Darl at Luke's bar mitzvah?
Darl: Absolutely yes. It was well catered.

TMK: Was Darl at your bar mitzvah?
Ron: No.
TMK: Was Jonah at Ian's bar mitzvah?
Ron: No. We didn't know Ian until high school.
TMK: Was Ian at Jonah's bar mitzvah?
Ron: No way. Not that I know of.
TMK: Was Ian at your bar mitzvah?
Ron: No, I didn't know him at the time.

TMK: Did Darl go to Jonah's bar mitzvah?
Bob: No.
TMK: Did you go to Jonah's bar mitzvah?
Bob: No.

TMK: Did you go to Ron's bar mitzvah?
Jon: You know, I don't think I did because we became friends after meeting at a mutual friend's bar mitzvah in March of 2003. I didn't go to Ron's bar mitzvah.

TMK: Which one of you does the best at [the arcade game] Paperboy?
Ron: I think Bob may have done the best. I think he got to Friday. I think Jonah might have too. I didn't do as well as them.
TMK: You got to Thursday, but the other two Krills got to Friday.
Ron: They had a little more time to play than me.
Darl: I mean, we don't have to make excuses here.

TMK: What's the furthest you've gotten in Paperboy ever?
Bob: Friday.

TMK: How well did you do at Paperboy?
Jon: Good, but not great. I got to Friday. I think I could do better, but I need a lot more hours on it, and I don't wanna play on anything else besides the stand-up console.
TMK: So you gotta wait until you find another one.
Jon: Yeah, I feel like there's some nerdy app [with] another Paperboy machine. Maybe I should do that.

TMK: What are your favorite vinyl records?
Bob: That question doesn't make sense. Any vinyl release? Big Baby Huey.

TMK: What are you favorite vinyl records?
Jon: Like listening to them or as objects? I like Hoax. I don't like the music so much, but they have nice artwork. I really wanna do art on our stuff like that. I don't know how they do it.

TMK: What are your favorite vinyl records?
Ron: Like that I own?
TMK: Or that you don't own.
Ron: You mean like, they somehow have to exist on vinyl? It doesn't seem like a weird question at first, but it actually is.
Darl: Well #1, you're avoiding the question, and #2 Alam No Hris cannot be your answer.
Ron: Right, Alam No Hris does not have a vinyl release.
TMK: Why not?
Ron: Not enough demand.
TMK: Because there's no hris?
Darl: Can you stop avoiding this question?
Ron: Favorite vinyl record? Alam No Hris... in the future.
Darl: Great answer.
TMK: When's the last time you didn't hris?
Ron: I'm in the process of not hrissing right now.

TMK: What is the jammiest Krill song?
Jon: I guess I think of “jammy” as loose, and you can do whatever you want. At the end of "Dumbass in a Pair of Shorts," you can jam out for as long as you want.

TMK: What is the jammiest Krill song?
Ron: Probably "Dumbass in a Pair of Shorts," which we didn't play on this tour.
Darl: Will you play it again?
Ron: I'd be down.
Darl: “Piranha Girl” too.
Ron: We haven't played “Piranha Girl” in so long.
Darl: I know. Next question.

TMK: What's the jammiest Krill song?
Bob: “Trying to Catch a Sunflower.” It's a Grateful Dead song.

TMK: What's the grungiest Krill song?
Ron: Probably "Turd."
Darl: Will you play "Turd" tonight or tomorrow?
Ron: Do you want that?
Darl: We want that.
Ron: Will you play “Kaprow?” I love “Kaprow.”
TMK: We can do that.

TMK: What's the grungiest Krill song?
Bob: "Turd?" Sure.

TMK: What is the grungiest Krill song?
Jon: This song that we never released called “Becky.” It sounds a lot like one of your songs.
TMK: Like Speedy Ortiz?
Jon: Yeah, kind of.

TMK: What are your favorite power trios with the bass player as the singer?
Darl: Motorhead.
Ron: I guess I'll say The Police.
Darl: I'm changing mine to Morphine. As general manager of Krill, I should be included in this.

TMK: What is your favorite power trio with bass player as singer?
Bob: Dianogah. They're a trio with two bassists.
David (from Ex-Breathers): Rush. No, Minutemen. No, Rush.

TMK: Who is your favorite other power trio with a bassist-singer?
Jon: Ex-Breathers are pretty good.

TMK: Do you guys like Modest Mouse?
Bob: Yes.
TMK: What songs do you like by Modest Mouse?
Ron: *laughs* Hard hitting journalism.
Bob: Any song that wasn't written in the last ten years.

TMK: What Modest mouse songs do you like?
Jon: I like a lot of them. I like Building Something Out of Nothing - the whole album - which I guess is not a real album, but it's the one I like the most.

TMK: Do you guys like the Three Stooges?
Bob: Marx Brothers.
TMK: Who's your favorite Marx Brother or Stooge?
Bob: Harpo.

TMK: Who do you like in the Three Stooges? Or Marx Brothers. It was supposed to be Three Stooges, but Ian answered with a Marx Brothers answer.
Jon: I'll rank them all: Harpo, Groucho, Shemp. Fuck, who's the next one.... Larry. I like Larry. Curly's after Larry. And then Zeppo, and then Moe because he's a dick.
TMK: Which guys in the Beastie Boys do you like? Or which songs do you like by them? The connection is The Three Stooges, Beastie Boys and Krill are all groups of 3 Jewish guys.
Jon: Ohh, that makes so much sense! But didn't one of the Beastie Boys convert to being catholic?
TMK: He might have been Buddhist or something, but they were all born Jewish.
Jon: I like "Intergalactic." That song is goofy as fuck.

we're a couple months late on this