The Dunce Cap: July 26, 2010

High-end graffiti for a fast talker.

The Dunce Cap, Vol. 18: Man when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot. I mean she was steaming. (listen to mix via 8tracks)

1. “The Boys Are Back in Town” – Thin Lizzy
2. “Pop Lie” – Okkervil River
3. “Violet Stars Happy Hunting!” – Janelle Monae
4. “Magick” – Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
5. “Your Magic is Working” – Of Montreal
6. “Bethamphetamine (Pretty Pretty)” – Butch Walker & the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites
7. “American Girls” – Homie
8. “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” – The Hold Steady
9. “Bastards of Young” – The Replacements
10. “Good Will Hunting By Myself” – Ludo

I graduated from college and immediately got a great job at the largest daily paper in North Dakota’s largest city; now, this actually means I got a normal job at a tiny newspaper in a small American town. But it seemed like a big deal at the time because I was writing a high-profile column for this publication, and I suddenly became a mini-celebrity in downtown Fargo.1

1 Which is kind of like being the hottest guy in the Traveling Wilburys.
Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live

At 1 p.m. Thursday, my weekend begins. The long and not-so-lonesome highway is deserted (by Atlanta terms, at least), and I have the freedom to take a lunch and leisurely lope my way home. For the first time, I drove at speed limit. A super-long weekend could not have come at a more opportune time; I had a drag, a lull, in my step, but there’s nothing but time ahead. And cleaning, ‘cuz the Foom is coming back to town.

I’m rereading Chuck Klosterman’s mesmerizing Killing Yourself to Live for what feels like the umpteenth time, and he writes this about driving through the Deep South (in this case, Mississippi):

As I drive away from Satan’s Crossroads1, the man on 94.1 “the Buzz” tells me it’s five o’clock, and then he says, “And you know what that means!” And I do know what that means; it means he is about to play whatever song this radio station always plays at five o’clock on Friday, which will signal that the workweek is over and it’s time for everyone to drink Corona…

1 The intersection in Clarksdale, Miss., where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play the guitar like no person before him

And Klosterman proceeds to detail the various Welcome to the Weekend songs played in various cities he’s marginally familiar with: In Cleveland, it’s Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” Fargo, Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend.” In Mississippi, it’s Southern Culture on the Skids, the track “Camel Walk.” In Atlanta, in Handsome Dan on a Thursday afternoon, it’s, well, Thin Lizzy. It’s Okkervil River at an ear-splitting volume (Klosterman also maintains that maximum volume on a car stereo creates a cloak of invisibility). It’s these tracks.

And, god, I love these tracks. I could write a book on how much I freaking love Thin Lizzy, first of all. Irish hard rockers with a penchant for catchy choruses? Check. Of Montreal is a band optimally designed for raucously lonely sing-a-longs. And, shit. The only reason Rivers Cuomo ever produced the track “American Girls” with Homie for the Meet the Deedles soundtrack was for the purpose of belting it out with an occasional finger-snap. Though, to give Homie and their only piece of production some credit, the band also included Greg Brown from CAKE, Matt Sharp (of the original Weezer line-up) and those two guys from Soul Coughing. That’s what I call a supergroup.

This is my soundtrack for night drives and for ghost riding (metaphorically, of course). Give it a whirl and just try to not envy me for starting my weekend so early.

Happy listening.

Oh, and for the record – Klosterman, I totally get you on the Traveling Wilburys business. I mean, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Tom Petty? Together? How I want to love them. And how I just don’t. Impossible.


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